Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sinners Have It Easier

“Oh, how we wish that the Lord had just put us to death while we were still in the land of Egypt. There we could sit by the pots cooking meat and eat our fill of bread. Instead, you’ve brought us out into this desert to starve this whole assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3)

That was a low point for the new nation Israel. They had been removed from what was familiar, they had no idea where they were going, the idea of freedom was new, and they seemed to have less than what they had when they were slaves. They didn't have much before but at least they had something. In this position, following Yahweh did not seem very attractive.

Who of us haven't been there, wondering if following Jesus was worth it? It is the thought of the immature, those who have only begun to grow in their relationship with Jesus. It is a natural thought and one that is overcome by pressing in to Jesus. The problem comes when we entertain the thought, explore it, follow the progression.

The Lord was leading Israel in the manner that he was because he had purpose in it. There were things he was testing and developing in them. He knew what challenges were ahead and he needed to get them to a place of dependence and trust. It is not easy to give trust during times of transition, facing the unknown, having left the familiar behind but if they were to survive to possess the new land, the Lord had to get them ready.

There are times in these transitions with the Lord that the life of sin looks mighty attractive. There are times we look at those who are enslaved to sin and think "They don't have it so bad". We begin to long for the days when we could "sit by the pots cooking meat and eat our fill of bread". But that's because we stopped looking ahead and started looking back. Those who continue to look back will find a way to get back to those cooking pots but Jesus warned us:

“No one who puts a hand on the plow and looks back is fit for God’s kingdom.” (Luke 9:62)

The fact is that sin is a liar. It looks much more attractive than it is. Forgotten are the consequences of that slavery, the back breaking work for the profit of the masters and none for self; no ability to make choices; no freedom to go where and do what you want. In a moment of desire we think only of the desire and fail to see the catastrophic consequences of that desire. We also forget what we have, which is an incredible future.

No pleasure from sin could possibly compare to the sweet fellowship of love we have with Jesus. No sin can provide for us as he does. No sin can give us peace and fulfillment. And no sin can promise us an eternity like Jesus does. No, there can be no going back for us because we know who loves us, who holds us and who guides us. In him we trust. With him we will go to the end.

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