Looking Back at Slavery with Fondness
The Book of Exodus people of Israel were oppressed in their slavery. Their cry was so great, God heard it and sent Moses as His representative to Pharaoh so that He could rescue His people from their oppression. Through Moses, God performed signs and wonders. The people complained to Moses that he was making them detestable in the sight of Pharaoh…who they called out to God to rescue them from. The People of Israel were delivered from their oppression and captivity…and then proceeded to complain, and complain and complain. One of their complaints included, and I just read this today during my personal study,
“and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exodus 16:3).
Over and again, the people rebelled against Moses, and especially God, looking back in fondness at the captivity which they hated.
How often are we like that? How often, because our current situation is miserable, unexpected, or not what we desire, do we look back at the slavery of sin with Fondness? I hear people say all the time “God just wants me to be happy,” or “I used to follow Jesus, but it didn’t work for me,” or “I don’t believe God would do (x) because I feel (y).” There are endless excuses and reasons people return to their sin, but the real, common, underlying thread is that we hate our sin, we hate the oppression of it, but it’s so easy, makes us so complacent, that we’ve come to see it as a form of security, even if it’s killing us.
The people of God in that generation never saw the promised land because they could never break out of their slavery, even though God had freed them from it. They kept rebelling and turning back to it in one way, shape or form. This serves as a warning for us: look only to Jesus, and stop looking back fondly at and clinging to sin, or we may never reach the promised land! Loved ones, when Christ has freed us, it won’t be easy. Following Jesus never is. It’s why He said we must deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, daily, and follow Him. What sounds easy about that? But His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and no matter how far from my sin I go, I’m never returning to it, not will I look back. I’m going to carry my cross and strive for the Promised Land, where Jesus is.
1 Corinthians 10
For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.