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Keep in mind that Israel dwelled in the best of the land while in Egypt, and the people had grown and multiplied their families, and they were living in abundance and peace. Is this not what most people desire in life - to be settled, provided for and establishing security for their families?
The people of Israel liked where they were living, and to uproot their families to re-settle in Canaan would have required a very large risk.
Goshen was familiar, predictable, and the people knew they had everything needed for a good life - so they reasoned “why journey to an unfamiliar land,” not knowing if it would provide security?
What if Canaan had not fully recovered from the famine? What if the land were desolate? The people knew they would lose the protective covering of Egypt, and could be entering into hostile territory. Why give up a sure thing, for something uncertain?
Thomas Edison said, “We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present.” The Israelites were thinking in terms of practicality; however human logic is usually contrary to God’s plans.
God knew ahead of time His people would remain in Egypt for four-hundred years (Gn 15:13-14), but this does not mean it was His desire for them to stay that long.
THE CONSEQUENCE OF SETTLING DOWN
The people of Israel outstayed their welcome in Egypt. Instead of returning to Canaan, the land promised by God, the people settled down and thus experienced the consequence of their own actions. The consequence of overstaying against God’s will, and of settling in a land contrary to God’s promise, was bondage.
The Lord had utilized Egypt to sustain His people during a famine, and He gave them favor in the Pharaoh’s eyes; however when His people failed to return, the Lord released His hold on Egypt’s hand, and the new Pharaoh turned against God’s people. In Psalm the Bible states:
Israel also came into Egypt, and Jacob dwelt in the land of Ham. He increased His people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies. He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants (Psalm 105:23-25).
The Bible says that God turned Egypt against Jacob and His people Israel. This is a reference to God chastening His people because of His displeasure with Israel’s choice to remain in one place. There is another reference in Psalm to God’s use of Egypt to chasten Israel. The Psalmist declares:
For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment (Psalm 66:10-12).
Israel settled down in Egypt and the result was eventual enslavement. Peter McWilliams says, “To the degree we’re not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us than we have of ourselves.” Bondage is the consequence whenever you settle down instead of following God in faith; and it does not occur overnight - it creeps up on you!
Have you gone into safe mode, settled down and become comfortable in life? Do you feel secure in your job, your income level, your neighborhood, and by being surrounded by friends and family. You may think you are really
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