As I was reading through Isaiah 31 this morning, it brought up an idea that is really, really common in the Old Testament. Israel as a country would find itself attacked by a bigger, stronger nation, and over and over they would run to Egypt, pay them money, and have them come send the Egyptian army up to help defend the nation of Israel. They were hired soldiers. It seems like Israel did this over and over.
I had read that a ton of times, but I got thinking about how that must have felt to them. They had been slaves in that country. Egypt had owned them. It took a ton of miracles by God to pull them out of there, and from the time they left, there were people who kept choosing to go back to Egypt instead of trusting God. Egypt was a source of embarrassment for the country, a constant reminder that they were not a world power, that they were very little, and really struggled to even protect themselves, let alone be a threat to anyone. I mean, if you’re going to claim to be God’s chosen people, you’d think you’d be the dominating force in the world. They weren’t. They came close under David and Solomon, but that was short, and did not last. And even then, they were only able to defend themselves. They never went on a huge warpath and took over other countries to build an empire. The best they could do was to just manage to be safe for a couple of decades.
As a country, that’s embarrassing.
But to have to run back to the very nation you had to scrape and claw your way out of only made it worse.
Yet, most of the people and the kings would rather run back to Egypt with their tail between their legs than to depend on God to save them. Why do we do that?
Why do we trust in habits, people, or systems that we know, 100% without a doubt, that they are broken? We know those addictions don’t set us free. We know that relationship can’t actually make us happy. We know that habit only leaves us empty. We know that grab for power is always temporary. In spite of that knowledge, when we come under attack, and life becomes scary and unsure, instead of turning to God, we run to Egypt, the land of darkness.
God is trustworthy. He always has been. He always will be. He is not the problem.
It’s our expectations. The nation of Israel couldn’t understand that maybe God’s plan didn’t call for them to be a military powerhouse. He didn’t even want them to have a king. He wanted them to follow Him, to be blessed, and to bless the people around them. That is not what they wanted. They wanted power and revenge, just like everyone else around them seemed to have. So, they ignored God, and ran to the center of ancient power and revenge. Even when Egypt was way past their glory days and were no longer a world force, Israel still ran to them for help.
What goals, hopes, values, dreams, or desires do you have that keep you from running to God? Are they working out for you? It’s probably time to find some new ones, some dreams that come from Him, and that He will honor in your life.