“Wouldn’t it Be Better for us to Return To Egypt!?”
The struggle is real. We’ve all been there.
It’s very easy to sink back into old ways, old habits, and think back to when things were “different.” Not just different - better. Certainly at least in our eyes. There’s nothing wrong with that.
I think about 9/11, and what would have happened and how life would be had terrorists not struck our soil. I was in Montclair, NJ; just across the way friends could go to the top of Bohn Hall and, on a clear day, see those beautiful twin skyscrapers in the distance reflecting the sun back to them. However, if we ever pretended all of this didn’t happen, we would be less secure, less vigilant, and simply putting a veil over our eyes to sheild us from reality.
The people of Israel, after living in the desert and eating manna for years, were sick and tired of the circumstances God had put them under, and began wishing they could turn their clocks back.
1 Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 2 Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. 3 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”
Instead of seeing their hardships as challenges to test their mettle and be built up, the Israelites see them as hindrances from their comforts. Egypt, in that day, was a powerful, wealthy nation. If you were a slave in Egypt, you still were a beneficiary of their wealth. You didn't have to worry about food or shelter, and though you were a pawn to be used and cast aside when you weren't useful anymore, you still could survive as long as you had the strength of your hands.
But they missed the point: God gave them their freedom. Not only this, but He gave them what they needed to survive while the promised land awaits. Keep looking ahead, He's pleading. "Keep moving forward, My people."
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. 6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
Nostalgia is not bad but the days God cares most about are here. Now. How can we respond to the day the Lord has made for His glory if all we want to do is look back? God is sick of the peoples' attitude.
11 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?
The best days are yet to come for those who keep looking ahead and don't dwell on the past. Joshua, Caleb, and Moses all are pleading with the people here, and God has their back. He'll have ours if we take what we have today and make the best of it.