Familiar Bondage or Unknown Freedom
We are called to a journey of faith. We often revert back to familiarity.
I am constantly amazed at how much people want things to stay the same–myself included. Maybe it’s our sin nature, but we often choose a familiar bondage over an unknown freedom. God wants to set us free, but when faced with pressures, disappointments, obstacles, or difficulties, we move back into bondages of the past — like drugs, booze, sex, fantasies, food, or shopping. We go back to what’s “worked” for us in the past and miss what God has for us in the present and future.
As Israel stood on the banks of the Jordan River, they had a decision to make. When the twelve spies returned with their mixed report, would they either move forward by faith or revert to patterns of the past. Numbers 14 records the dreadful events. Preceeding this, ten Negites convinced the people that the giants were too big, the land to vast, and the numbers too intimidating for them to have any chance of claiming Canaan. These dissuading spies used emotionalism and exaggeration to control the people. In the face of this tradgedy, Caleb and Joshua stood strong in their faith that God would come through as He promised and give them the land.
14:1 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!” Numbers 14:1-4
A few things stand out as I read the verses above:
- The Israelites continued to act like victims despite God’s blatant and generous provisions since leaving Egypt. They still felt like slaves even though God had adopted them as His children. Their true identity still needed to be embraced.
- They looked for someone to blame. This is common for people living in sin, by the way. We fail to own up to our own depravity and deflect our weakness onto someone or something else.
- Apart from God, we insanely revert back to the slavery we’re familiar with — “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt.”
- They fail to grasp the goodness and grace of God — “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle?” After all of the miracles God had performed, the food and water he had provided, the promises He had delivered, they still could not fathom a God who would love them. The result? They turn their backs on Him again.
- They plotted (v.4). In their fear and despair, they turned to their own solutions rather than seekin God’s intervention. They decided on a Godless and far-inferior course for their lives.
It’s a very sad story. God was eager to give them an unimaginable future. He was ready to perform amazing miracles for their benefit. Instead, they chose a familiar bondage over an unknown freedom.
Today, choose freedom!