I want to touch on the same passage that the last Learnings from Exodus post touched on, but I want to look at something a little different this time.  More specifically, I want to look at the reaction from the people of Israel.

11 and they [the people of Israel] said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness?  Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt?  What have you done to us?  Why did you make us leave Egypt?  12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt?  We said, ‘Leave us alone!  Let us be slaves to the Egyptians.  It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness.'”

What we have here folks – if you’ll permit me to parody the famous line – is a failure to appreciate.  The Israelites were experiencing their first taste of freedom after 400+ years of slavery in Egypt.  Generation after generation after generation the Israelites had the fact that they were slaves beat into them.  They were oppressed, and worse yet, they didn’t know any better.  They had succumbed to their captivity and decided that this was just the way that life had to be.  It’s sad, really, but it happens.

People get used to the way the world around them operates, resign themselves to the “fact” that they can’t change the way things are, so they resolve to just deal with life as it is.  I was part of a large group discussion once that focused on the mission of the United Methodist Church – to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  A counterpoint was given that this mission was too ambitious, and that the idea of transforming the world was not something that was really up to us in the first place.  It saddened me to hear this point of view.

The notion that the world is as it is going to be, and there’s nothing that can change it except the action of God Himself, leaves little room for inspiration.  People need to have a vision; people need to know that what they do in this life makes a difference and resounds in the halls of eternity.  Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no hope of this happening, but as disciples of Jesus Christ, who are actively working in the world, transforming one person at a time, the world can be completely different; it can be transformed.

Yet, so many people sound like the Israelites.  “I can’t do this or that because I’m just a speck in the sea of life.”  Yes, you are just a speck in the sea of life, but, praise the Lord, it’s not up to you to get these things done.  It is because of Jesus Christ working in you that you can make a difference in this world.

Who we are in our sin is not who we are called to be in the presence of a holy God.  We are called to something greater.  We are called to be sons and daughters of the living God.  We are adopted into His family because of His one and only Son Jesus Christ.  Stop thinking that the world is going to be as it has always been.  That’s just not the case.  Christ came so that we can be set free from our sin, free from our past, and free to follow him in a new way of living.  Embrace that freedom and stop looking longingly back at your former life.  There’s nothing for you there.  Look forward to what God is going to do in your life.  Keep your eyes on Him, and keep pushing forward to the Promised Land.

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