"Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness!” Exodus 14:10-12
God, in His great mercy, delivered the children of Israel from the hands of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. God graciously demonstrated His great power through signs and wonders to increase the faith of the Israelites and to make clear to Pharaoh and the Egyptians that He alone is God (Exodus 14:18). Before the exodus of the Israelites, Pharaoh cruelly increased the labor and harsh treatment of the Israelites because Moses asked for their freedom to leave Egypt so that they could go to Mount Sinai to worship God. The Israelites were told and expected to make bricks without being supplied straw and the brick quota was not to be reduced. When the Israelites could not meet the demand, the Egyptians beat the Israelite foremen and the Israelites were labeled as "lazy" by Pharaoh. The Israelite foreman pleaded the case of the Israelites by reminding the Egyptians that straw was not supplied and the Israelites had to find straw, as well as make the bricks. Despite the obvious, the Egyptians were not moved towards compassion and the foreman of the Israelites knew, at that point, that they were in trouble (Exodus 5:19).
After the cruel and harsh experience with Pharaoh and the Egyptians, freedom would be not only longed for but permanently desired! Yet, as the Israelites encountered Pharaoh's army once more at the Red Sea, the Israelites cried to return to the "trouble" they endured in Egypt (Exodus 5:19). They even vocalized that it "would have been better" that they serve the Egyptians (Exodus 14:12). The Israelites, in essence, dismissed all of the signs and wonders that revealed a glimpse of the omnipotence of God and God clearly made a distinction of who would be the recipient of His mighty works. The distinction was apparent when the Egyptians were plagued with: water turning to blood (Exodus 7), frogs, gnats, and flies overtaking their homes and land (Exodus 8), the death of the Egyptian livestock (Exodus 9), boils covering their bodies (Exodus 9), hail and locust destroying the remaining crops from the previous plagues (Exodus 9-10), complete darkness throughout the land they inhabited (Exodus 10) and death of the firstborn in all the land, which included males and females and the firstborn of the animals (Exodus 11). God spared the Israelites from each plague and hardship encountered by the Egyptians; yet, when the Israelites saw Pharaoh approaching, they feared Pharaoh and his army. Forgetting the harshness and cruelty of their previous enslavement, the Israelites cried and longed for Egypt.
Although we may shake our heads in unbelief or confusion at the Israelites' responses and reactions, we can relate to the Israelites. Throughout our lives, God has shown us His great power as He has provided for us, comforted us, delivered us and protected us. We have seen God do what seemed impossible and quite frankly was impossible for us. After we've experienced deliverance, we, like the Israelites, have been tempted to run away from new difficulties or challenges when we've seen them approaching or while we were in the midst of them. We too, like the Israelites, became fearful and wanted to shrink back to what was familiar and what we believed was more pleasurable than the current circumstance(s) - all the while forgetting that what we once knew was in fact keeping us enslaved.
Take some time right now to stop, think, and thank God for how He has freed you and what it took to deliver you. Remember the mighty hand and the wondrous works of our Heavenly Father, who has time and time again shown you that He alone is God. God has indeed set you free! Do not long for what God mercifully brought you from. Be free and embrace your Exodus!
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,