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The Chariots of Egypt

February 17, 2007

Exodus 16:2-4  “And the whole congregation of the children of israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:  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 this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.  Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”

It wasn’t long after the Lord brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea that a very notable aspect of the land on the other side became obvious.  It was a barren wasteland; incapable of sustaining such a multitude.  This image of nothing but rocks and sand, as far as the eye could see, was overwhelming.  This despite the fact that they had just passed through the Red Sea on dry ocean floor and had  witnessed the plagues that God poured out in the land of Egypt.  They were in a situation where the arm of flesh simply could not deliver and they longed for the “flesh pots of Egypt.  There, they reasoned, they were in cruel bondage but at least they had plenty to eat and didn’t have to wonder where it came from.  That phrase “flesh pots of Egypt” is very profound and it beckons to have a post wrapped around it someday.

In my early days, living by faith, insofar as the physical realm was concerned, seemed a scary thought.  I had a need to know where the finances were coming from, how stable the employment was, how the economic situation was holding up.  If the physical situation looked shaky, I would become apprehensive.  During the early years of our marriage, the situation with bills became so intense that I would spend much of the night wrapped up in video games to get my mind off from them.  (This was during the season of rebellion)  It is definately no way to live and will lead to an array of complications. 

In hindsite, I can see how the lack of faith in the early years caused almost all of the problems later on.  The 1990s were a paradox of sorts.  I met my wife, we were married in 92, and all of our children were born during this decade.  (Except for Morgan who has a different biological father; she was born in October of 1989.)  But my spiritual state was a disaster as I was drifting ever farther from the Lord.  It was almost three years ago; either in late february or early march of 2004, when he brought me out of it and I am eternally grateful.  He could have let go and didn’t.  I apolagize for bringing it up again.  I really try to avoid talking about it because it’s a depressing aspect of my past to be sure.  (however, the lessons learned from it are greatly treasured.)

It really is amazing to realize how the Lord “spoke the word” and that which he spoke came to be.  When we ponder this and remember that he is the same today as he was then, the same as he was 400 million eons ago, and is the same as he will be 400 million eons into the future, we begin to realize just how unfounded our worries really are.  I know that this was the topic of a recent post, but it seems appropriate to think on again because of the uncertainty of the times.  The following passage is perfectly describes the situation; the tendancy to trust in the seemingly steadfast elements of the world instead of the invisible and unchanging God who inhabits eternity.

Isaiah 31:1-2  “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are strong; but look not to the Holy one of israel, neither seek the LORD!  Yet he also is wisae, and will bring evil, and will not call back his words: but will arise against the house of evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.’

The next verse is awesome.

Isaiah 31:3  “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit.  When the LORD shall stretch out his hand both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they shall all fail together.”

Amazingly; it’s when we come to a place where the arm of flesh simply “fails” that we can see the awesomeness of God.  It may be very discomforting for the old nature which may well be screeming “we’re done for” but if we walk in the Spirit, we can be not only void of fear but can actually  rejoice in the situation.  I had this thought during the layoff when it looked as though everything would fall apart.  I thought to myself, “well; it would be a great opportunity to work on the streets and it may bring my wife and kids into the household of faith.  (A far greater treasure than a three bedroom house on two acres that will eventually be tried by fire)  This has been on my heart ever since my navy days when the other brothers and I would go out whenever we were in a port.  We were in Philadelphia for over ten months (ship overhaul) and it was awesome.   

Well, the layoff ended after seven months and it was, in a way bittersweet.  This will sound nutty, but in a way I wanted the arm of flesh to fail as to be moved into other directions like a situation in a city where I could just go out daily and take the gospel to whomever I come across.  I still have a longing for such a situation involving working on the streets that 17 years of being totally removed from hasn’t quenched.   Right now I feel trapped in a way.  I know that this is an illusion; just like a mouse in one of those labratory mazes.  He may feel stuck but he’s really not stuck at all and in due time, his ordeal in the maze will be finished. 

Well this has taken an unexpected turn, but I’ll run with it.  At the moment, I have a household that hangs in the balance.  This weighs on my heart far more than any desire of my own.  I work with a plant full of folks who desperately need Jesus.  While the place seems hostile and many can’t see beyond their own collection of trappings, there are folks whom I have in prayer and I know that the Lord is working in hearts.  Perhaps he can use us better when we’re not completely in a place that we want to be.  One only needs to revisit the story of Joseph as he was sold by his brothers, taken to Egypt, falsely accused by Mrs. Potiphar, placed into prison, and forgotten about after interpeting the chief butlers dream.  This must have seemed like an incredible injustice, but it led to the preserving of life; both of the Egyptians and the children of Abraham.

I need to wrap this up.  I was originally heading into talking about how Jesus fed 5000 with only five loaves and two fishes until a sidetracking took place.  It may have to go into a later post entitled “The New Math.”  I pay that we would all move into a frame of mind in which we just “trust the Lord in all things” even when the flesh is screeming “this is it!  We’re done for.”  Let the flesh screem all it wants, I’m looking for a city not made with hands where the saints will dwell in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the ages to come. 

Psalm 125:1-2  They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.  As the mountains are round about jeusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.

FOREVER AND EVER! AMEN!!!

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8 comments

  1. Great post timbob, as usual. It is easy sometimes to fall back on logic and reason when times are tough, questioning if we really heard from God, but if we week Him, we WILL find Him, and when we hear His voice we can trust what He says no matter what the circumstances are.
    He is so very faithful!
    No fearing the giants or looking back to Egypt!

    Instead look forward to reading your post on the new math. 🙂
    we have experienced some heavenly multiplication a few times…

    Blessings to you!


  2. make that if we SEEK him !


  3. Psa 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

    This Scripture came to mind as I read your post, and my mind went back to a time when my husband was unemployed for 18 months. Things looked pretty bleak at times, and we thought we were going to lose our house,but we prayed, were faithful to God, and He was faithful to us! I’m grateful He can bring us through when the way is rough, if we will continue to look to Him.


  4. Isn’t it amazing how ungrateful we can be. Our worldly minds are quick to seek the better deal.

    Just this weak I prayed that God would fill my need for a job- a teaching job. One day, I finished praying, stood up, and walked over the the computer to check my email only to find a job offer from a community college. I was very excited and took the job. But it didn’t take long before my mind started grumbling about the low pay. But I recognized this ungrateful attitude and nipped it before it could grow.

    So let me say this, Praise the Lord, for He is good and His love endures forever! He is trustworthy and just, and not only forgives our sins but answers our prayers. AMEN!

    -J. Kaiser


  5. Fantastic post, Timbob!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Martin.


  6. Wow…I love this sentence of yours… “Let the flesh scream all it wants, I’m looking for a city not made with hands where the saints will dwell in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the ages to come.”

    Hallelujiah…Yes and Amen!

    I often daydream about being able to just drop everything and go into the mission field. I long to just give everything up and go all out for Jesus. But then I am reminded that I am where I am for a specific purpose. And not only that, I have my own little God-given mission field right here at home!

    Grace and peace be multiplied to you,
    Scotti


  7. My observation is that there is nothing more godly and pleasing to God than taking care of one’s own family. Being a worker at a job to pay the bills or staying at home to care for the children, are callings that last for however long that particular season is.

    The streets are filled with teenagers and adults who’s parents abandoned them physically or emotionally. Now society gets to deal with the curse of Malachi.

    Not everyone is called to “hands on” ministry, while some are called to it later in life. “Lord help us to grow where we’re planted and to be obedient where you’ve placed us.”

    He will meet us where our faith and patience runs out. That’s where the Lord is waiting; at the end of our rope.


  8. I enjoyed this post as well. The fiery furnace is hell but when God shows up and shows out, it is awesome. It is in these times that our faith and trust in him is tested. When you’re going through, a lot of times you’re told to look back at all the times you trusted God and things worked out. I have struggled more w/ trusting God when I’m living in the US than when I am living abroad simply b/c things are so more accessible in the US almost as though you can control things much more. When you’re overseas (at least in my opinion), especially in third world oppressed (communist) countries, you’re at the mercy of them. You haven’t got a choice.

    I always like your comments about the parting of the red sea. It’s an awesome thought, and yet they still didn’t trust after that. So many times, we are the same exact way. — we’re so human. We’re so flesh. I like Elijah and King David simply because they were used by God in such great ways, and yet, they still were human. They still failed. They ran for their lives. They were ready to throw in the towel at times too.



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