Leaving an Egypt Mind

I have been reading through Exodus and it is always a favorite of mine because of the exodus story and the principals in the stories of the people after they leave. In case you did not know the title of the book Exodus just comes from the Greek translation and basically means leaving. The people in Exodus left Egypt. It is a book of leaving. But it is more than just leaving Egypt.

One of the stories I like in the book is from chapters 24-31 and this is where Moses is on the mountain with God. God called Moses up Mount Sinai and God gives Moses the details of the tabernacle, how to ordain the priest, how to make special perfume and incense, how to offer sacrifices, and some other things. It is a long 8 chapters and I will be honest sometimes it feels like it goes on forever. But what God is doing here is showing Moses and us what He wants. He is giving the instructions for how to do it right. He is trying to spell out how to live in covenant with Him.

The reason I say I like this section and not love it is because I know Exodus 32 is coming. I know that in Exodus 32 we read about the people asking Aaron to make a golden cafe and Aaron doing it. He does not even seem to put up a fight he just does it. For 40 days Moses was up on the mountain getting God’s instructions and the people grew tired so they wanted to something they thought up.

The people left Egypt physically, but they had not left Egypt mentally. Egypt was still a part of their thinking. They lived there their whole lives. Generations of Israelites lived there. It is not surprising but was wrong. The problem is that God was giving the plan and the people had their own ideas of what life should look like.

What about you and me? Do we grow impatient while God is working in the silence? Do we start to drift off and go back to what we know, which is to do things our way, to make our own plans, to make our own Gods? We have two and only two choices when we are waiting on God to move. We can either think or act like God has forgotten about us and do things our own way or we can wait in the silence.

Acting impulsively and taking matters into our own hands might accomplish something but it does not mean it was something worth accomplishing. However, if we wait, no matter how long, and trust that God is working in the silence we can see miracles, blessings, and God’s best.

The people had things they need to do while waiting on God. It was not like they were just sitting around doing nothing, but they needed to wait for God’s plan before entering the promise. The people left Egypt, but they still had Egypt in the brain. We must leave our own Egypt. We are no longer citizens of the old place when we accept Christ but just like the people in desert, we need to get our old Egypt thinking out of our heads.

I just want to encourage you today. If you are waiting in the silence, then wait. Do what you are supposed to be doing but wait on the move and instruction of God. If God has finally spoken and you are now walking in what He has done, then walk in it. Do it with grace and humility rejoicing that God has given you His best for your life. Whatever it is, wherever you find yourself we should always be pushing towards God, His best, His glory, and His holiness. Things are so much better on that side of it.

Just a thought,

Mike

Dreams and Service

What do we do when we are faced with opposition to the dream God has placed in us? We have a lot of options but not all of them are right. Today I want to take a quick look at Joseph because Joseph had a dream. In Genesis 37 Joseph has two dreams and while we can debate on whether he communicated those dreams to his family properly the point stands God gave Joseph a dream. God gave Joseph a dream and he was excited for the dream God gave him. The dream, in essence, was that he was going to be over his family. He had no idea how this was going to come about and I can only imagine that in his foolish youthful mind he wanted to see his brothers literally bowing down before him. He was one of the youngest, so it is not like he had the opportunity to lead the family.

Joseph has this dream in him but how will it play out? How will God fulfill it? When will he see it come to fruition? Will he reign in the land he is in? Where will it happen? Will he know it is starting to come to pass? These are only some of the questions I imagine young Joseph thought about. But none of those thoughts matter because Joseph is thrown into a well and then sold into slavery. From there he is brought to Egypt and sold again. Joseph at this point has this dream but now he is a slave. A slave in a new land. So, what does Joseph do when he is faced with opposition to the dream God gave him? He sees an opportunity to serve and honor God.

That went well for a while but then Joseph is framed for rape and thrown into prison. His situation goes from bad to worse so what does Joseph do when he is faced with opposition to the dream God gave him? He sees an opportunity to serve and honor God. While in prison he is able to interpret dreams for two other prisoners. He asks the cupbearer to not forget him but as you can imagine he is forgotten. Two whole years pass, and Joseph is still in prison. How many times have you and I felt like our dreams are in prison?

Joseph finally gets the opportunity to stand before Pharaoh and interpret his dreams. Finally, he is put into a position of authority. After years of suffering, he is put in the place where the dream God gave him can come out but now, he is different. Not only is it time for the dream to come out but Joseph is not the man who he needed to be for the dream to come out. In the waiting, in the difficulty, Joseph always chose to see an opportunity to serve and honor God while waiting.

So, my question is this, has God given you a dream? Has God places something inside of you? Has God given you a calling? I know God has placed something in me. God has given me a dream to tell everyone about who He is and how wonderful this God I love and serve is. I want to see the whole world fall in love with my God. I want people who are hurting, lost, broken, and confused to see that God is there for them. That they can have a relationship with the one who holds the universe. How will that play out? I have no real idea. I have some ideas and I can see doors God has opened but the situation in the world confuses me right now, but I hold on to the dream of telling everyone about this amazing God I love and serve. That is the dream.

I want to challenge us today, you and me to see the opportunity to serve and honor God in the midst of challenges to the dream. To choose to believe that God sees the end and whatever situation we find ourselves in today that we have the opportunity to choose to serve and honor God. I want to challenge us, you and me, to see adversity not as something that stands in opposition to the dream God has placed in us but as an opportunity to serve and honor God. I find it amazing that Joseph is not living out his dream. He is a slave and a prisoner but during that time he is helping others understand their dreams. His dream is deferred but that does not stop him from helping others understand their dreams. He became so focused on serving and honoring God that he forgot about his dream as we will see later.

Maybe the opposition we see is not opposition but an opportunity that forms us into the people we need to be in order to allow the dream to come to pass. Maybe the delays are not delaying but opportunities for growth. How we respond could very well determine how many more so-called delays we have. Do we respond with service and honor to God or something else? I am sure Joseph cried at times, maybe when he was in that well, or in prison but in the end, he chose to see an opportunity to serve and honor God. What about you, what about me?

I think a big part of the key for the dream to come about was timing. Yes, there is the obvious part that the famine needed to come on the land but there is also the timing for Joseph to be ready. In Genesis 42:9 it says that when Joseph saw his brothers, he remembered his dream. He was just doing what he needed to do. He was honoring and serving God in the midst of his situation and he finally became the man that he needed to be for his dream to come about.

Today, let us choose to honor and serve God so we can become the people we need to be to have the dream come about. Let us be so fixated on Christ that we see nothing else but Him and His ways. Let us become the people we need to be.

Just a thought,

Mike

Was it because there were no graves in Egypt?

I really like second part of Exodus. I know most people prefer the first part where God sends the plagues and shows His power over Pharaoh and the Egyptian gods but I really like the second part. I enjoy reading about the wilderness experience because it reinforces a very specific point. Three days into the journey the Israelites are complaining about water. Not too long after that about food and so on. It seems that all throughout the wilderness time they are grumbling. But can we really blame them? I mean somewhat I suppose after all they did just see the plagues, the parting of the Red/Reed Sea, water from a stone, and so on. But those are all external things.

You see Exodus starts to solve the Babel problem, but it did not solve the Eden problem. Deliverance without an internal change changes little. They were not a changed people. They had been slaves for 400+ years and you do not go from slavery to freedom without carrying some baggage. It is that old saying “You can take the man out of Egypt but it’s not easy getting Egypt out of the man.” Cliche but true. We can change a circumstance and not change the person. Change has to be an internal thing before anything external can really have an impact. If you are a addicted to heroin and live in a abandoned building you are a addict living in a rough spot. If I give you a million dollars you are still an addict but now you can afford you addiction. Nothing has changed.

The only time I really see God getting upset with them in Exodus is when they decide to worship the golden calf. That is because He had just told them not to do that very thing. We can look at story and be all high and mighty “saying see how much better we are” but if you are a Christian you have the Spirit in you they did not have that. That was not even the point. Exodus is not trying to solve the problem of internal change. Instead it is setting up the scene for when that does happen.

I am going through some things right now, and to be honest it stinks and is quite scary, but I have to make a choice. Will I trust in the God who has brought me out & changed me in on the inside or will I forget what He has done and complain? Sounds like an easy decision but walking that out is another thing all together.

Just a thought,

Mike