When You Get Free, Stay Free.

Good afternoon, everyone! Happy Thursday! The weekend is almost here. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? It’s a beautiful day today and I encourage you to thank God for his new blessings and mercies. It’s very important to stay in an attitude of gratitude. Yes, sometimes we find ourselves in tough situations,  and it can bring us down. However,  we must come to our senses and see God working in our lives and not yield to complaining about how things ought to be. That’s a lesson the Israelites learned the hard way.

Chapter 11 of the book of Numbers, another of my favorite passages, tells about the continuing journey to the Promise Land. The Israelites enter into another state ungratefulness.

“Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
Numbers 11:4-6 NKJV

Up to this point, the Lord provided his children with everything they needed, including the strength to make this journey and their lodging and food. The food was specially designed just for them, a wafer like food called Manna, as the next few verses describe. It came down from the sky and the people gathered it every morning. Well, now they’re tired of it and want something else.  They think about everything they ate back in Egypt. There were all different types of food and they especially wanted meat.

There are two things wrong with this picture. First, they were ungrateful for God’s provision. Yes, eating manna was getting monotonous, but it wouldn’t be forever. It was just to sustain them on their journey. Also, God created it just for them. No one else in the world ate manna, so they should have felt special that God thought of them in that way.

Second, they allowed their craving to get the better of them and want what they had before. They may have had a varied diet in Egypt but they were in bondage. Why go back to bondage when God had set them free? Things were getting tough for the Israelites and they wanted to go back to where things were more comfortable, even though that clearly isn’t the right place for them. They were in a much better place now than they were before and they were going to a better place than they were in now.

Unfortunately,  they couldn’t see that because they took their eyes off God and put it on their problems. This also meant putting it on Moses, since they brought all their complaints to him. He later went to his breaking point. Verses 11-15 show him crying out to God for help to the point of wanting to die. God was also upset, but he knew what to do.
 
“So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the  same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.”
Numbers 11:16-17 NKJV

 Always remember that God will provide us with help if we ask him. If necessary he’ll place people in our path to strengthen and encourage us and assist with our heavy load.

He also provides tough love when we need it, as was the case for the Israelites.

“Then you shall say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord , saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it  was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?” ’ ”
Numbers 11:18-20 NKJV

The Israelites were going to eat quail for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and in between meal snacks. Be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it and it may not be what you were hoping for. It even goes on to say that the quail made the Israelites physically ill.

When I read this, I think of how the Israelites could be so foolish. However, after pointing the finger at them, I can’t help but notice the three pointing back at me. I have been foolish at times as well. I’ve had to come to my senses, ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness,  and then ask for wisdom to make better choices moving forward. That’s what it’s all about.  Why make the same mistake someone else made if you really don’t have to? I don’t know what God did in your life, but for me, he brought me from a place of hurt and brokenness. It was the deepest valley I ever found myself in. Today I’m in a much better place because I allowed Jesus in my heart again. Everyday I thank Him for what he did inside of me. Not only that, I thank him that I’m not obligated to return to the place I was, the person I was, or to live under to guilt, shame, and condemnation of past mistakes and failures. I’m set free from that. His word says:

“There  is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Romans 8:1 NKJV

I’m following Jesus now and he governs my heart. My past doesn’t define who I am anymore. It has no power over me, unless I allow it. I strive every day to walk after Jesus and follow his lead. His word also says:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
Galatians 5:1 NKJV

A wise man once said, “When you get free, stay free”. That’s what I want and I encourage you to want the same thing. Allow Jesus to set you free from whatever or whoever has you bound. Once your free, don’t look back. Keep moving forward and walk according to the Spirit. God has a plan for all of us and it’s better than what we could plan for ourselves.

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