Being set free from Egypt

The patterns, habits, bondages of the old life don’t easily go away. There are wonderful stories of addictions that instantly leave when people come to Christ, but more often than not it takes a little more time.

Israel came out of slavery and still had a lot of Egypt in them. A few days (relatively speaking) out of Egypt and they are ready to default to what they knew in worship.

400 years of slavery wouldn’t be overcome by 40 days of freedom.

It’s a longer process and one we need to understand from the outset. It is a walk of understanding. A walk learning to trust God and quit trusting the gods of this world.

Egypt may be more deeply rooted than you anticipated. Keep walking in freedom.

Too much of Egypt

You must have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3)

The call of God to Israel was to not only be free of the outward slavery of Egypt, but to have their hearts set free as well. 400 plus years of slavery didn’t just effect their physical and mental status. It enslaved their hearts as well.

The plagues on Egypt weren’t just for Pharaoh. They were for Israel. They needed Egypt out of their hearts just as much as they needed their bodies out of Egypt.

We often have too much of Egypt in us. We play with the gods of this age. We think we “play” with the God of all creation.

He didn’t save us to “play.” He saved us and called us to a new allegiance. No more Egypt.

The Book of Esther, Egypt, and Syria

When Haman was able to convince Xerxes to annihilate the Jews, the end of Chapter 3 says this: “The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.”

Another translation read: the city was in an uproar. There was confusion.

Looking at the text notes of the NET Bible, I found this comment: This final statement of v. 15 is a sad commentary on the pathetic disregard of despots for the human misery and suffering that they sometimes inflict on those who are helpless to resist their power. Here, while common people braced for the reckless loss of life and property that was about to begin, the perpetrators went about their mundane activities as though nothing of importance was happening.

It doesn’t seem to matter the time period, there is a huge difference between those in power and those trying to live daily lives and make it. One big difference is the INdifference the powerful sometimes have toward the powerless. This verse highlights that. The powerful make a decision to wipe out a whole race, then sit down to eat.

This verse has significance as I read the news from Egypt and Syria. These are places we just don’t pay attention to, and when the news finally focuses on it, we whine because there isn’t enough coverage of the latest celebrity scandal.

But we are NUMB to these numbers. HUNDREDS in Egypt were killed last week in protests. Syria is now allegedly using chemical weapons on the rebels and to date, since the rebellion started, 100,000 lives have been lost. ONE. HUNDRED. THOUSAND.

In 1994 Rwanda exploded in genocide and over 100 days the world yawned while 500,000 people were slaughtered. I guess Syria doesn’t even come close. Oh, well.

But that doesn’t mean too much to us. It’s over there.

Somewhere along the line, it MAY start to hit us. I’m not sure. But until then, this verse out of Esther sure puts things in context. The powerful sit down to eat while the powerless are thrown into confusion. This is our world.

When will the body count bother us?

Not as Americans, but as Christians, when will the news we refuse to pay attention to finally start to jolt us? The New York Times has a picture at the top of their website showing body bags of a Syrian family. The report is death by nerve gas. Thousands, thousands, have perished in Syria. Hundreds, if not into the thousands, were killed just this week in Egypt.

I am not asking this as a matter of American intervention. I am asking this of me and other believers: When will the body count bother us? When we will be shocked the point of prayer? When will we cry out to God for solution, and then offer ourselves as a possible solution?

Egypt

There are no easy solutions. The two extremes that are making the most noise and doing the most damage today don’t offer solutions. In the midst of it all, Christians are being threatened constantly. 

All the voices shouting today scream violence and revenge.

I find myself in a place where I can’t pray for “one side” or another. I pray for the safety of the church. I pray for the peacemakers. I pray for those voices who are GOOD (but are being drowned out by the extremes) to be heard… and soon. There is no way of knowing how this ends. I do know I can’t pray for “sides.”

The Church in Egypt

Events in Egypt, or anywhere outside the U.S., so often go unnoticed by us. What is under-reported most of the time is how Christians are treated. So, I was totally shocked to see THIS STORY on the front of the New York Times page this afternoon!

Read these shocking paragraphs slowly, and pray!

CAIRO — The military’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi has unleashed a new wave of violence by extremist Muslims against Christians whom they blame for having supported the calls to overthrow Mr. Morsi, Egypt’s first Islamist elected leader, according to rights activists.

Since Mr. Morsi’s ouster on July 3, the activists say, a priest has been shot dead in the street, Islamists have painted black X’s on Christian shops to mark them for arson and angry mobs have attacked churches and besieged Christians in their homes. Four Christians were reported slaughtered with knives and machetes in one village last week…

Dozens of Christian homes were reported burned in the Naga Hassan attacks, and most of the village’s Christians have fled or are believed to be hiding in the local church.

Friends, could we pray for our brothers and sisters in Egypt?