The Flesh Pots of Egypt
And the children of Israel said unto them, “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into the wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” – Exodus 16:3
It is amazing how quickly people forget. In this story, the Israelites were very recently and very miraculously freed from Egyptian slavery. While in Egypt, they had no freedom, but they did have food. As soon as their stomachs were denied, they actually longed to go back to slavery just so they could satisfy their appetite for food.
On the day I gave my life to Christ, I was clean, and I was forgiven. I was set free from the bondage of Egyptian slavery so to speak. I could not wait to walk out this new life in Him. Incidentally, just like the Israelites, the flesh did not go without a fight.
The God of Christianity is amazing. He does not simply offer rules and regulations. He is unlike other gods who tell us, “Do this and do that and you might get to come to me.” He is the only God who says, “You can’t get to me, therefore I will come to you.” He came in the form of Jesus Christ. He lived the sinless life that we cannot live. He gave His life on the cross that all who put their trust in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.
It sounds so wonderful and is so easy to receive and run with in the moment . . . until God leads you into the wilderness. The wilderness is why I don’t get to count the hands of all the people who “received Jesus” and post the number on Facebook. The wilderness is where you either quit and turn back to the same sin-filled life you lived before, or press on with God to a new life in Him.
Very much like these Israelites, I remember two huge complaints that I made. After being saved, I did two things; I left my main group of friends, and I broke up with my girlfriend at the time. Around those friends, I would cuss, drink, and do other stuff that I didn’t feel was compatible with having a new life in Christ. I also let my girlfriend know that I thought that our sexual activity was incompatible as well. She didn’t agree. When we broke up, my journey in the wilderness began.
I had always had friends to hang out with on the weekend. I had always had a girlfriend to date. Now, I had neither. I bet it didn’t take two weeks for the complaining to begin, “See what I gave up for you, Lord! Now I’m home alone on Friday night! I had friends and a girlfriend! Now I’ve got no one.”
I look back on that now and laugh. Had I stayed in that lifestyle, there is no way possible that I end up where I am right now. There is just no way. The journey from Egypt to the Promised Land always, and I mean always, goes through the wilderness. The wilderness is where true growth begins. It is the path to separation from the way you used to live. It is the place where the real deals get separated from the wannabes.
One of the best ways to conquer your desire for the fleshpots of this world is to fast. Fasting voluntarily brings on hunger . . . at least the American definition of hunger (i.e. “I have gone a few hours without eating”). As soon as you begin, your body will begin to whine and wail like a spoiled brat whose mama told him he had to turn the video games off. You will remember when you could eat, and you will long for the moment you can eat normally again.
At least I do.
However, the benefits far outweigh my whininess. If I have taken 21 days at the beginning of this year and stripped away those “flesh pots of Egypt” and either eaten nothing, or simply eaten fruits and vegetables, I feel like it prepares me for the rest of the year. I have afflicted myself and sought God during the whole process. Should He decide to lead me elsewhere, and should that elsewhere be somewhere I may not want to go, that is okay because I am prepared. I have already done without. I can say within my heart, “Lord, I trust you wherever you lead. I will follow You . . . regardless of the cost.”
If you are in the wilderness as a result of choosing to follow Jesus Christ, don’t give up.
He will lead you to the Promised Land.