Bringing Egypt out of the people

Bringing Egypt out of the people

One week ago, I was trekking in the volcanic mountains of the Canary islands off the coast of Morocco. For the first time in 16 years, I was about to have one week away from email. In the wilderness, I was listening to an audio Bible of the Israelites departing from Egypt, and I shared in their pain.

After 430 years of slavery in Egypt, you should think that the Israelites were longing for their freedom in the promised land of milk and honey.

After more than 16 years of not being away from my email for as much as a week, you should think I was so mesmerized by our all-inclusive resort hotel that this transition was an easy one.


Not so.

The Canary islands have plenty of wilderness, and it's at roughly the same latitude as Egypt. So when trekking and climbing, listening to the book of Exodus, I really felt a connection with the people of Israel - in more ways than just the scenery and heat.

I have often been puzzled over the procrastination of the Israelites. Time and time again, they came crying to Moses - longing to get back to Egypt and their previous state of slavery. Every time I have read this, I have said to myself: What on earth were they thinking? How could slavery be better than walking towards the promised land? And why did they spend 40 years on something that should have taken a few days? The distance, afterall, is not that long!

In my brief wilderness trekking - combined with a week of absence from my beloved email account, I could feel this for myself. Do I love checking emails? No! Do I survive without it for a week? Yes, I do! Does the world move on without me being available for answering emails? Certainly! So, why did I feel this urge in my bones to constantly pick up my iPhone and press the email app?

My realization is that we are all captives of our circumstances. Our identities are formed and twisted by these same circumstances - often to the extent where they enslave us. And that´s what happened to the Israelites. And that is what I have allowed email to do to me. The Israelites had a slave identity developed over many generations. And just like many wild animals raised in captitivity are not able to be free even when fences are removed, our enslavement is more than anything else in our own minds.

There´s a saying going like this: "Put a prisoner in a castle, and the castle will become a prison. Put a prince in a prison, and the prison will become a castle."

Even though it could have taken the Israelites less than 40 days to get to the promised land, instead it took them 40 years to get Egypt out of them - to be freed from their slave mentality and identity.

I believe in a God that does not enslave me, but instead has set me free and has paid the price. I believe in a God that calls me his son. I am struggling to put my identity as a slave of habit and a slave of circumstances behind. I am trying to embrace God´s realities, God´s resources and God´s enabling perspectives on my life. I am 40 years this year. Maybe this will be the year where I learn to embrace the identity as having the king of kings as my dad more fully. Circumstances will stille be circumstances, but my presence will bring about change when my identity in God sinks in.




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