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Freed to be Free?

I heard a sermon recently, I would love to be able to tell you exactly what it was on and the take home points from it but I’m afraid I can’t. I do remember very clearly one thing though. A slip of the tongue made by the preacher. He was speaking about God who took the Israelites out of Egypt but by accident he said ‘God took Egypt out of the Israelites’. He corrected himself and carried on. I got stuck however. That phrase came back to me over the next few days again and again. 

I am also listening to the bible in one year with Nicky and Pippa Gumbel. The day I heard the sermon was the day I also heard about the Israelites being in the desert complaining about the lack of food. They turn round and say to Moses “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”. It isn’t the first time they said this to Moses, they said almost the exact same phrase in Exodus 14:11 just before the Red Sea was parted. They are complaining about the miraculous food that God provides for them every day, literally, out of thin air!! 

It seemed to strike a cord with me that God had taken the Israelites out of Egypt and done miracle after miracle yet the Israelites still complained. Then it came to me…God had taken the Israelites out of Egypt but did the Israelites need Egypt taking out of them? Do you see the difference? In Egypt the Israelites were oppressed and developed a very fixed mindset with a toxic internal monologue. My paraphrase would be: ‘Woe is me, we are all trapped in Egypt, we are all going to die, why does God hate us?’. 

Even when they were taken out of captivity and rescued from the Egyptian army chasing them the israelites had the same fixed mindset with a similar but slightly altered toxic monologue: “Woe is me, we are all hungry in the desert, we are all going to die, why does God hate us?” It could be argued that they went on to the promised land in the same vain: “Woe is me, we are never going to be able to defeat the [insert name here], we are all going to die, why does God hate us?” Although they had been out of Egypt for a long time the mindset they developed in Egypt was still there.

In life we all experience things that shape us and change the way we think, sometimes for the better, sometimes to our detriment! We all have ‘Egypt’ experiences that God takes us out of…what if my friends slip of the tongue applies to us all as well. What if God takes our ‘Egypt’ experiences out of us too. We don’t have to carry on with the damaged thought processes formed in those ‘Egypt’ experiences, we don’t have to live under the shadow of the hurt of our ‘Egypt’ experiences. 

I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact having ‘Egypt’ taken out of us may be harder than us being taken out of ‘Egypt’ but we don’t have to do it alone. Jesus promises he is with us. Not he will be with us when things get tough and we can’t handle it any more, but he IS with us RIGHT NOW. In the middle of whatever you are going through, or the backlash of whatever you have been through, or the burdens you may be carrying from past hurts and difficulties. Jesus IS with you RIGHT NOW

So reach out…his presence might be a worship song that won’t leave your head. It may be the wisdom of a praying friend, it may be the praying friends presence. Maybe Jesus will revel himself to you in the birdsong you hear in the garden or the wonders of spring budding into life. God’s presence may be in this Beacon of Hope. However he reveals himself to you know that he is with you, he is taking you out of ‘Egypt’ and he is taking ‘Egypt’ out of you.

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Rachel is an Inspire Missioner in England and Prayer Coordinator for the Inspire Movement

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