By Roy Burner - Minister of the Gospel
Return to Egypt in this text is used in a figurative sense but during the time of the wilderness experience it was a reality in the hearts of many. When faced with partaking only of that which was provided from on High (the manna sent from Heaven) many grew to detest it; weeping in remembrance of what the land of Egypt had provided for them.
In so doing, they fell to unbelief and distrust of the power and providence of God. They had forgotten the hardness of the taskmasters while serving as slaves for the Egyptians saying: We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic (Numbers 11:5).
Fish was food the Egyptians relied upon as the river Nile gave abundance of all kinds of fish. The Egyptian cucumber was sweet to the taste, easily digested, and wholesome to the body, with melons, onions, and garlic being common in the land.
Scripture reveals: And the mixed multitude that was among them fell (or yielded to) lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat (Numbers 11:4)? But now our soul (or whole being) is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes (Numbers 11:6).
They grew to detest the things of God. Their failure to honor God, and His heavenly provision, resulted in God granting their cry for meat; along with His wrath: And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp (Numbers 11:31). And while the flesh (or meat) was yet between their teeth, while it was chewed, the wrath (or anger) of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote (or struck) the people with a very great plague (Numbers 11:33).
A desire to return to Egypt; lusting after the things previously provided, shunning any remembrance of the mighty hand of God delivering them from the bondage of Egypt, was costly to those who rejected God's original provision for His people.
God's Word reveals a similar situation; a desire to return to Egypt (in a figurative sense), after having accepted Christ in one's heart and life: For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world though the knowledge of the Lord and Savor Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning (2 Peter 2:20).
Had the Israelites made a return to Egypt; the latter end would have been worse than the beginning, in that the remembrance of their former freedom, of God having brought them out of bondage, would only be a remembrance, no longer a reality.
David, in the Old Testament, made a statement that could readily be applied to Christianity of today: I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay (that which was attempting to hold him there), and put my feet upon a rock (a solid rock of deliverance), and established my goings (or steps) (Psalm 40:1-2).
Such a deliverance is readily available to the repentance in heart of today, who desires to be lifted out of a life of sin; into the marvelous light of the glory of Christ, who suffered and died, that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Who now sits on the right hand of His Father, as our intercessor.
Scripture tells of those who had no desire to return to Egypt (figuratively speaking) in saying: Truly, if they had been mindful of that country from where they came out, they might have had an opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly (Hebrews 11:14-16).
Those mentioned as looking for a better country, that is a heavenly, were looking for something better than this world could offer. A Bible commentary noted: No more storms and tempest; no more persecution, nor coldness, nor chills of affliction.
No more hunger nor thirst, freedom from a body subject to diseases, sin, and death; from doubts, fears, unbelief, from all sorrows and afflictions; to that which is heavenly, an inheritance in heaven, a house eternal in the heavens. A return to Egypt would have placed all of the previous burdens upon the Israelites.
We are seeing many once godly nations no longer placing God in the forefront as before. The ungodliness of man has seduced many to embrace its ways. The steadfastness in the God is diminishing as a return to Egypt (figuratively speaking), rather than remain under the umbrella of God's provision, is underway.
The moral compass of yesteryear is fast dissipating as the ungodliness of man flourishes. The consequences for doing so goes unheeded; as the ways of the ungodly are relished rather than rejected. The righteousness of man is no longer exalted; as headway is being gained, in the injection of ungodly ways with a return to Egypt (figurative speaking).
Scripture reveals: There is a way which seems right to a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12). One needs to be careful as to what they embrace! The way which seems right may not be the best or righteous way.
We are living in a day in which sin is glamourized. A Sunday school commentary noted: All around us are the signs that modern man refuses to accept the fact that sin is his problem. Many no longer call homosexuality a sin but an alternate lifestyle. Adultery is now viewed by some as merely a relationship. Abortion is now considered an expression of a woman's right.
Sin is costly that separates people from God. However, genuine repentance brings forgiveness and restoration to God. A return to Egypt would have been costly to the Israelites, as previously mentioned, had they returned to what God had delivered them out of. So it is today, of any returns to a sin-filled life, with their former freedom in Christ being cast aside.
Scripture reveals: Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship (or in common) has righteousness with unrighteousness (or with unbelievers)? And what communion (or fellowship) has light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14)?
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God: and God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (2 Corinthians 6:16).
That has been the desire of God for mankind since Creation; when he made man from the dust of the earth and woman from the rib of man. Many times throughout God's Word man has made a return to Egypt (figurative speaking) rather than being a separated people unto God.
God intended His presence to be manifested in the Israelites of old; with adequate provisions, until they despised His provision; relishing rather a return to Egypt. In His mercy God provides for those of a repentant heart; as revealed in the parable of the prodigal son, who returned to his father after having wasted his inheritance on riotous living.
Scripture reveals: And when he (the prodigal son) came to himself, he said: How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, I have sinned against heaven, and before you, and am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants (Luke 15:17-19).
The prodigal son knew his offense and was wiling to abide by its consequences; a genuine sign of repentance. His father's response was that of compassion and forgiveness: Bring forth the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry. For this my son was dead (in sin and trespasses), and is alive again (renewed in fellowship with his father), he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry (Luke 15:23-24).
Scripture reveals: If we confess our sins (which the prodigal son did), he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). If any man sin we have an advocate (or intercessor) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation (or atonement) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 1:1-2).
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