My first visit to the Grand Canyon was a bit of a let down. I love our national parks, and I had built the GC up in my mind. It's one of those American places everyone has to see. I got there and realized that every viewpoint along the canyon's edge offered the same exact view. It's a big hole that looks the same from every view! After spending 10 minutes on the rim, I said to myself, "Now what?"
In our look at Exodus, the Israelites had been set free from 430 years of Egyptian slavery. They had some incredible experiences through their miraculous extraction from Egypt. Now they were camped in the Sinai desert and were asking themselves, "Now what?"
God took the Israelites out of Egypt, and now he needed to take the Egypt out of the Israelites. For over four centuries, they did their master's bidding, living under their laws, influenced by their religion and culture. The probably looked more Egyptian than they did Hebrew. So the LORD led them to the base of the mountain to meet with is people.
To teach them.
To show them how to be his people again.
[Read Exodus 19:4-6]
Notice God didn't say he brought them to the desert; he said, "I brought you to myself." We're always looking at the place we're in, but the place doesn't matter so much. Being with God is what matters! God rescued Israel to bring them to himself, not just to change their address to a better neighborhood. The Promised Land wasn't the point of the trip; a relationship with God was the point of the trip!
Like Israel, God wants to remind us that we belong to him. "You are my people, and I am your God. I love you. I value you. I cherish you. You are my beloved possession." When we choose relationship with God, we are adorned with his love! We must remember whose we are: we do not belong to ourselves, we do not belong to our nation, we do not belong to what has enslaved us.
God met with Moses and the people to let them know they were under new management. With a new manager came a new identity. We need to know this: the enemy works tirelessly to compromise and destroy the image of God in us. He accuses, belittles, and judges. He gets inside our head to discourage, disqualify, disenfranchise, and disable. And we start to believe his lies.
We label ourselves with his lies and pretend like we're just keeping it real. How about instead of keeping it real, we keep it True? We need to speak God's Truth into our lives; we need to speak God's Truth into each other's lives. We need our new identity in Christ!
In Exodus 20, Moses climbs the mountain of God, and he is given 10 simple rules for living as God's people. And it begins with a statement of possession: "I am the LORD your God; you shall have no other gods before me." Not only does he rescue, but then he shows us how to live. He is a teacher. We don't have to guess our way through life, because he has shown us the way.
Father, thank you for taking us out of Egypt. Continue taking Egypt out of us.