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Going Back To Bondage

Going Back To Bondage

So they said to one another, "Let us select a leader and return to Egypt." Numbers 14:4 (NKJV)

When I read this story in Numbers 14, it makes me very sad and it confuses me.  The Israelites had been freed from the bondage of slavery and were on the cusp of entering The Promised Land of God.  God had just given the command to send out 12 men to spy out the land and prepare to take it.  Two of the twelve - Caleb and Joshua - came back with favorable reports.  The other 10 men lacked faith and they came back with fear and poor reports filled with doubt and pessimism.  

Upon hearing the prognosis of their future, the people chose to side with the 10 unfaithful men and their lives would suffer dearly because of this.  All of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?"

As if this whining, complaining, and lack of faith wasn't enough they said to one another, "Let us select a leader and return to Egypt" (See Num. 14:4).  These people were slaves in Egypt and they were greatly mistreated, but they chose to look at it as if it were something good, or at least better than what they faced in their walk with God.

Now looking at this one would have to conclude the Israelites had some serious issues with seeing things clearly. Just the thought of these Israelites trying to find someone to lead them back to their old oppressed lifestyle is mind-boggling.  Why would they want to return to bondage after being freed?  But when we look at our culture today, one would have to conclude, it is not much different. We, as Christians, were freed from our bondage in slavery to sin when God sent Jesus to deliver us.   

But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:17-18 (NKJV)

I have seen many Christians make a profession of faith in Christ - be freed from the bondage of sin, only to complain about how hard it is to follow Jesus and to walk in faith.  God has made us a promise to be with us and to never leave us nor forsake us.  He has promised to do what is best for us and to guide our path so we don't have to fear the unknown (See Ps. 23; Prov. 3:5-6).  Yet, we too can look at what we are facing - those real problems in our life that present formidable and even seemingly impassible obstacles, and choose to turn around and go back.   This is exactly what Paul was admonishing the Galatians for in his epistle.

But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? Galatians 4:9 (NKJV)

We need to be mindful of the mistakes others have made as recorded in Scripture, because we can be prone in the flesh to make the same mistakes.  We must guard ourselves from the temptations to leave our personal relationship with Jesus to go back to an impersonal religion - simply going through the motions or worse yet, believing we must work for our salvation.  We must guard ourselves from being led back to the false gods of this world - those things we put before God in priority before our being saved.  There is no lifestyle or sinful act worth going back into bondage over.  

Hey Christian, I want to encourage you today to keep your eyes and mind upon the Author and Finisher of our faith - Jesus (Heb. 12:2).  

  • Let's not be deceived by the enemy or those who have no faith.  
  • Let's continue to walk forward and face those giants who are before us, believing in God's promise of protection and provision.  
  • Let's take possession of the things God wants to give us and not be looking at something in this world as better.   
  • Let's say, "no" to those who would want to lead us back to where we have come from.

STUDY QUESTION: According to Numbers 14:4, what sinful act did the Israelites suggest?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you ever been tempted to turn and go back to something or someone because you feared going forward, or chose not to put your faith in God's leading and provision?

APPLICATION: When facing tough situations, always keep your mind fixed upon God and seek His guidance.  Continue to walk in faith despite the obstacles.  

Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to me, especially when I have faced giants in my life.  Help me to remember this story when I face future challenges Lord.  I pray for Your guidance and leading today Father, and ask for a fresh filling of Your Holy Spirit to empower me to achieve all that You have planned for me.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000