Slavery vs Trust

You would think, after reading the bible as many times as I have, that I wouldn’t see much new, but every day I see something I had never noticed before.  It constantly amazes me.  How does God do this?  How does he put so many insights about life and faith in the stories of the bible?  And yet he does it over and over again.  Here is a portion of the confessions of Nehemiah and some insights into our nature,

Neh. 9:16 “But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to your commands. 17 They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them, 18 even when they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, ‘This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!’ They committed terrible blasphemies.
19 “But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night. 20 You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst.

Did you notice the portion of the text I underlined?  Instead of trusting God they chose a leader to take them back to slavery!  I read that over several times with my mouth open.  They did what???  They chose a leader to take them back to slavery rather than trusting God to provide for them.

And then, embarrassed at how similar my life is to this, I realized I often choose slavery over trust.  I choose the bondage of the past rather than trusting God for his goodness and provision for the future.  I worry.  I fret.  I look for someone who can lead me back to bondage and slavery to the old ways instead of trusting God for the unknown promises ahead.  

As the Jewish people told Moses, “at least in Egypt we had our pots of meat and onions…but out here we don’t know where our next meal is coming from.”  And rather that trusting God for his care and provision in our wilderness we look for someone to help us become slaves again.  How amazingly stupid we are!!

At least in slavery we know what to expect. We are “taken care of”, we are told what to do, we don’t have to trust…..but when we follow God we have to trust the unseen one for the unknown.  Sadly, for us, slavery seems easier.  How amazingly stupid we are!

Trusting God means I can’t see where I’m going, where my food comes from, where I will stay.  I have to trust an unseen God for his unseen provision and yet he always provides….if we will trust him.

But for us slavery seems easier so we look for a leader to take us back.  I wondered, who would volunteer to take them back to Egypt?  Who would want that rather than freedom?  Apparently they all did!  And, sadly, given the choice of the slaveries of the past vs. trusting God for the future we all seem to choose slavery.

Lord, help me to quiet my fears and follow you into the unknown rather than returning to the slavery of the past.  Help us all to trust.  Give us the boldness to desire you and where you are leading rather than the slavery of our past, the bondage of our former masters.  Open our eyes to see the joy of beings sons and daughters walking into the unknown rather than slaves to the known.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.