Numbers 14:3-4 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”
When we fail to remember the victories that God has given us, we tend to make mistakes, often returning to bad situations. I call this phenomenon “returning to Egypt.” I am guilty of it, for I tend to panic easily and grab for what I already know, rather than face the unknown. Like the children of Israel, I tend to only remember the good and forget the bad, until I suffer a rude awakening. Then, I remember what a co-worker said to me one day, “Never go back to Egypt!”
In 1997, I accepted an early retirement buyout, believing that the opportunity to quit a job that I had stopped enjoying was a gift from God. I had worked in information technology for nearly ten years, and I was attending college to earn a degree that would allow me to be promoted to management in the telecommunications giant where I worked. Then, out of nowhere, we were told that our jobs had been outsourced to another company, and we would not be hired by the new company. With tremendous joy, I accepted the early buyout package offered by the company, and I rejoiced that God had rescued me from a job that had become monotonous and lacked any mental stimulation.
With my new degree, I was ready to tackle new horizons. But, unfortunately, I could not find jobs that paid comparably or that allowed me to use the Bachelor’s degree that I had worked nine years to complete. I just knew that God had guided me to quit the job, and, for me, that meant He was going to provide a new and better job than before. But, it was taking too long for the new job to materialize. So, I thought, ,”Maybe God did not tell me to leave my job.”
I had a dream to become a college professor, so I used the time off to earn a Master’s degree in Sociology. But, I could not find a job teaching that paid well. Feeling panicked, anxious, and afraid of losing all that I had gained while working, I did not wait for God to guide my employment decisions, as I had done before with great success. In my fear of becoming poor as I had been as a child, I applied to the new company to do the same job, with even less mental stimulation than before I left. Day after day, I wondered what was I thinking returning to a job that I hated, but I kept doing the job, mainly because of the pay. For many people, returning in to Egypt occurs because of the money. We forget the bad stuff, and we think that, for the money, everything will be fine.
It took me only nine months to remember why I had accepted early retirement. I questioned how I allowed myself to think that the job would be different and tolerable, when I had already tired of it. I remembered my dream, and decided that Egypt had not changed. I was still enslaved to my fears and anxieties, and the only way to make things better was to trust God and leave Egypt a second time, not ever returning.
One day, after a really bad call, I put my phone on hold, and I wrote a resignation letter, giving the company one month’s notice, telling them that I planned to go to college and earn a PhD to teach college. I went from earning $40,000 a year to $18,000 a year as a graduate teaching assistant, and, guess what? I never missed a bill or a meal! When I put my trust in God to provide for my family and me, regardless of my inability to see the future, He came through, as always. I love teaching! There is no greater joy for me! To think I almost missed the opportunity, going back to Egypt!
If you have been blessed to leave a bad job, a bad relationship, or whatever your Egypt might be, and it seems as if God has forgotten you, keep believing. Never go back to Egypt! The Israelites complained and wanted to return to Egypt, rather than die in the wilderness. They forgot the hardships of slavery, in their fear and anxiety about the future. They forgot that the same God who brought them out of slavery would provide every need for them on their journey to the Promised Land.
It is easy to experience spiritual amnesia when difficulties arise while waiting for change. But hold on! Stay the new course, and success will surely come.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I salute you today for bringing me out of Egypt. Thank you for saving me from myself and my fears and anxieties. I am so amazed at how you go ahead of us and open doors of opportunity that we cannot even see. We just have to believe that You know what You are doing. To You I offer gratitude, honor, and exaltation. Blessed be the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.