Turning Back to Egypt
As the children of Israel left Egypt in hopes of reaching the land God had promised them, they crossed the Red Sea, received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, and continued their journey toward the promised land. However, not long after they left Mount Sinai, they started to complain. They even started to think that their life back in Egypt was good.
Numbers 11:4-6 tells us how they described their life back in Egypt, “Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: 'Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!'" If you just had these three verses to describe how life was back in Egypt, you would wonder why they even left Egypt in the first place. This shows us how much the Israelites had deceived themselves because of their lack of faith. In Numbers 14, they even wanted to turn back to Egypt, and planned to select leaders to lead them.
Although they never actually went back to Egypt, their hearts were still there. In Steven’s defense in Acts 7:38-39, Steven says, “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt.” After all that God had done for them, they wanted to turn back to Egypt! Now think! Does this make sense? Does it make any sense whatsoever to desire to go back to bondage and slavery after God has set you free? Did they not remember the suffering, the misery, and the heartache? It makes no sense!But here is the kicker. Are we not also tempted sometimes to turn back to Egypt—to the life we once had in the bondage of sin? Sometimes the old life will try to call us back, therefore we need not forget what our own Egypt was like.
Here is the plain truth about sin. Sin is bondage. It separates us from God, ensnares souls, and leads to death (Romans 6:23). It is horrible, awful, and ugly, yet it has an appeal just like Egypt did for those wanderers in the wilderness. However, it only has this appeal when we lose sight of our Promised Land that awaits us. Like Israel, we can fail to see through eyes of faith what is waiting for us if we keep moving forward.
Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” And so we must do. It makes no real sense to turn back to Egypt.