(Ver 1.1) God gives us some very valuable information from the Children of Israel in the Old Testament. They spent nearly 400 years living in the foreign land called Egypt, governed by a Godless people who became their masters. Of course the picture is given to us from the New Testament that these things were written to give us patterns of things to come as examples to those in the last days on the earth (1 Cor 10:11). What lessons can we, the church learn from the information given to us concerning the natural nation of Israel? Let’s look at some scriptures in Acts 7 and see a sermon given by the man Stephen.
Act 7:36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
God delivered Israel from the bondage of the world slave system of Egypt. God did this by demonstrating a series of great signs and wonders through the faithful service of His servant Moses. So far we have a story with many major spiritual patterns being revealed to us. Egypt is a type of the Word System controlled by Satan. Moses is a type of Jesus Christ our deliverer. Just as Moses was sent to Israel after 400 years of Israel’s captivity, Jesus Christ was sent to the earth after 4000 years of human bondage to the captivity of sin. The people of Israel are representative of the those who are saved who are now members of the church of Jesus Christ. As you read this sermon found in Acts, you can see some of these things being revealed to us. This story tells of Moses being given the Law of God on Mt Sinai and how the children of Israel ignored it.
Act 7:39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
Here in Acts 7:39, is the beginning of the key part of this lesson. The children of Israel after spending time in the wilderness, thought it was better to go back into their life of slavery and return to Egypt. All because things got a little tough. This is the title of this lesson, you can get the people out of Egypt, but getting Egypt out of the people is a much more difficult job. What was it that made Israel want to return? Had they forgotten already how much they asked God for a deliverer to free them from their task masters?
Act 7:40 Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
It’s funny how people see things, isn’t it? These people thought that because Moses had gone up on the Mountain to meet with God and it was such a long time that God did not care about them anymore or maybe God did not really exist. It would appear that they no longer even believed there was a real God. The people all told Aaron to make them gods that they could see. You have to assume that meant they did not have any faith in a God that they could not see. Seems like we still hear that compliant today. You can see that the culture of Egypt was so prevalent within them, they were more comfortable with that old life style and the Old Egyptian ways of worship. They totally ignored all of the great signs and wonders that they had seen God do and wanted to fall back into a system that they had seen was defeated. All they could remember is how they had seen the people of Egypt worship gods that they made with their hands and this was all that they focused on during this uncertain time of trouble. It would seem that their long term memory took over and their short term memory vanished. Maybe they forgot that God killed most of the Egyptians in the Red Sea and there was really not that much to go back to. How do you know what they were thinking, all you can see is what they did. They reverted back to their old lifestyle and this is a major problem found in the church today.
Act 7:41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
So the children of Israel, got their way and they made gods that they could see with their physical eyes. They sacrificed offerings to these gods and they worship them. This verse ends with the statement that they rejoiced in the works of their hands. Isn’t that a great way to put what we see in the world today? People make things today and still worship them with their money and their time. Hollywood movies are a great example of this. Oh well, I guess I won’t go there.
Jud 1:5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
I often wonder, why save a people if you know you are going to have to destroy most of them. Thankfully, God is not like people on the earth. People on the earth would not go through that much trouble to bring anyone out of Egypt, if only a small number of them were going to make it into the promised land. However, God would come to the earth and still die for you, even if you were the only one that was going to be saved. You have more value to God than anything. God gave everyone the same opportunity to believe and go into the promise land, because the people did not believe, was not God’s fault. The people of Israel can only blame themselves for not believing God.
Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
To show you things from God’s point of view, God tells us a secret here in Revelation 11:8. The spiritual name for Israel and Jerusalem, is still Egypt. This just goes to show you how difficult it is to shed your past. God took the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but God never really succeeded in getting Egypt out of the children of Israel. You can read this chapter in Revelation 11 and see that this is speaking about a coming prophetic event during the time of the tribulation. So you can pretty much still see that even then, God calls Israel the spiritual Egypt.
We all have pasts and things we use to do. We all have had experiences that we would have rather not gone through. These are the patterns of the Egypt in our lives. What the church should learn from this lesson, is that new converts into the body of Christ will always be drawn back to what they know in their natural past. Until a new Christian grows up spiritually and matures, they are extremely vulnerable to the deception of the enemy. There will always be times in every Christian experience where it will appear that you are going through a wilderness type journey. When in these spiritual wildernesses, you will find yourself, many times asking where is this God that saved me? It is during these times that strong church leadership and mentoring will be required. Just as you should not give birth to a natural new baby and expect them to feed themselves, new Christians need special attention also. In order to continue to grow in spiritual things, people need to continue in the Bible and their personal relationship with God is essential. The encouragement from a Christian mentor, will go a long way in helping new Christians make it into the promise land. When times of adversary come, and you are tempted to go back to your old familiar ways, spend time with God and God’s Word to find direction and purpose. Seek the face of God, like Moses did on the Mountain Top. Renew your mind with the Word of God and eventually, the old ways will not be desirable. Keep walking and do not give up, the wilderness does not last forever. Pretty soon the wilderness will appear as only a distant memory that helped to make you stronger. Only you can make the choice to not try to return to Egypt and die in the wilderness. What’s on the inside of you?