Exodus 19:4 (ESV)
You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
God bore the Israelites out of Egypt and into – where did He take them? We could say “the Sinai desert” and that would be right. We could say the Promised Land, freedom, and a bunch of other things that would be true as well, but it is not what God says here. What He says here is that He brought them “to myself”.
This is very telling. It is better to be hungry in the desert with God than to be well fed in Egypt without Him. But it is also very telling in relation to the attitude of the people as they continue their wanderings.
Many times we encounter the Israelites grumbling about their lot and remembering with selective fondness about how good it was in Egypt. The food was better. They had water. They were safe … . They did not have God in their presence like He was with them in the desert. But they did not want God. They wanted leeks and garlic. They wanted things. They loved safety and food and security, even if it came at the cost of their freedom, more than they wanted God.
This is the universal story of the human heart. It loves other things more. This is idolatry – the greatest sin of all. And we see it in all kinds of churches today, not just in the unbelieving world. There are many who maintain they are believers whose faith is based more on a love for what God can give them than on God Himself. To have God in the desert is better than having food, safety and security without Him. The Israelites did not think so. God was not enough.
Many today find Him not enough as well and many in so called Bible believing churches have bought the lie that God is little more than a sugar daddy who grants them the desires of their lustful hearts. It is evil. It is tragic. And it is soul damning.
God has brought us to Himself. We could do no better. Let us fix our eyes on Him and rejoice that He has given us the very best thing of all – Himself. We need to read about the faithlessness of the Israelites in their response to God and heed the warning that Scriptures give us – I Corinthians 10:1-6.
1For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.