Sermons

Summary: We often miss the real message in the trials of this life, because we are too busy focusing and thinking about the negative. But the real battlefield is in our minds! Where is your focus?

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What To Do When Your Eyes Are On Canaan

But Your Mind Is in Egypt?

Exodus 16:1-3

We gratefully welcome God’s visitation, but this day we greatly seek His habitation of our praises!

AS WE CONTINUE TO MATURE AND GROW IN LIFE, I HAVE LEARNED THAT IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS OR ATTAIN A GOAL, YOU MUST HAVE A FIXED MIND. EVEN IN PLANNING A BRIGHTER TOMORROW, YOU MUST ANTICIPATE THE MANY PITFALLS AND POTHOLES THAT YOU HAVE TO ENCOUNTER ON THE ROAD OF LIFE, FOR IN ANYTHING WORTHWHILE THERE IS BOUND TO BE SOME STRUGGLE. THE HIGHER THE HILL YOU PLAN TO CLIMB, THE HARDER IT IS TO REACH THE TOP. THE GREATER THE GOAL, USUALLY, THE GREATER THE OBSTACLES. WE SHOOT MANY ARROWS OF DESTINY, BUT HOW OFTEN DO WE HIT THE TARGET?

ISRAEL WAS IN THE WILDERNESS, ON THEIR WAY TO CANAAN. BUT THEY HAD BEGUN TO FACE SOME TRYING EXPERIENCES ALONG THE WAY. HUNGER AND THIRST BECAME TRAVELING COMPANIONS WITH THEM, AND HAD MADE REAL THE THREATS THAT THEY FACED AS THEY MADE THEIR WAY IN THE WILDERNESS. OFTENTIMES IN THIS LIFE, THERE ARE LANDMARKS ALONG THE WAY, THAT REMIND US OF JUST HOW FRAGILE WE ARE AND OUR GREAT NEED TO DEPEND UPON GOD. HUNGRY AND FRIGHTENED THEY BEGAN TO THINK ABOUT THE TIMES WHEN THEY USED TO SIT BY THE FLESH POTS OF EGYPT AND SING AND EAT. THE FLESH POTS ARE BOTH SYMBOLIC AND REALITY. THE FLESH POTS REPRESENTED PROVISION, AS THEY WERE BEING FED AT THE ENEMY’S CAMP. THE REALITY WAS THAT THE FLESH POTS REPRESENTED THE FACT THAT THEIR CAPTORS FED THEM, NOT ON THE BASIS OF EQUALITY, BUT AS SLAVES. THE WHOLE OF SCRIPTURE IS A COMPLEX MESH OF SYMBOLS WHICH ILLUSTRATE THE ABSTRACT TRUTHS AND MYSTERIES OF PHILOSOPHY AND MORAL VIRTUE. WE CAN RELATE TO THEM THIS DAY, IF EACH INDIVIDUAL MUST REGARDS HIMSELF AS IF HE HIMSELF HAD ESCAPED FROM EGYPT," JUST AS "LEAVING EGYPT" IS AN INTERNAL STRUGGLE THAT MUST BE WAGED CONTINUALLY IN EVERY PERSON’S LIFE. IT IS THE FIGHT TO LIBERATE THEIR MINDS FROM THE PAST REPRESENTED BY REMEMBERANCES OF THE FLESHPOTS , GIVEN THEM IN EGYPT. BUT EGYPT ALSO REPRESENTS BONDAGE.. WHICH IS ALWAYS TRYING TO HOLD US BACK FROM THE ROAD LEADING TO THE FREEDOM OF VIRTUOUS LIVING.

ACCORDING TO THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT, EVEN AFTER LEAVING EGYPT THE ZEAL OF THE ISRAELITES WAS CONSTANTLY BEING IMPEDED BY THE "MIXED MULTITUDE" AMONG THEM, WHO WOULD BEWAIL THEIR FATE AND LONGINGLY RECALL THE FLESHPOTS OF EGYPT. ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY,..WE MINISTER AND WORSHIP WITH A "MIXED MULTITUDE" WHO MAY NOT SEE THE "VISION" OR EVEN DESIRE TO SUPPORT IT. THEY ARE ALONG FOR THE RIDE, AND WANT TO BENEFIT FROM WHATEVER COMES OF IT. FOR PHILO THERE IS A "MIXED MULTITUDE" IN EACH OF US, A PART OF THE SOUL THAT REMAINS UNDER THE DOMINION OF POLLUTED PASSIONS AND IRRATIONAL THINKING. IN THE WICKED, THIS ELEMENT EXERCISES CONTROL. THE MIND OF THE WICKED MAN IS INDEED A "MIXED MULTITUDE" OF CONFLICTING OPINIONS, FOREVER BEING PULLED IN OPPOSING DIRECTIONS BY THE MANY FALSE IDEAS THAT STRIVE TO LEAD HIM AWAY FROM THE SINGLE PATH OF TRUTH AND GOODNESS.

AS IN THE CASE OF THE HISTORICAL EXODUS, THE SPIRITUAL LIBERATION FROM CONTROL OF OUR IRRATIONAL DESIRES CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED IN A SINGLE MOMENT. THE CONTRADICTORY DIRECTIONS OF THE MIXED MULTITUDE CAN KEEP US WANDERING IN A CONFUSED WILDERNESS INSTEAD OF TRAVELING THE SIMPLE AND DIRECT ROUTE ON A GODLY ITINERARY TOWARDS OUR SPIRITUAL DESTINATION AND GOD-PURPOSED FULFILMENT. ACCORDING TO PHILO THE VERY NAME "PASSOVER" SIGNIFIES THAT THE TRUE LOVER OF WISDOM IS ALWAYS PRACTICING "PASSING OVER FROM THE BODY AND PASSIONS" IN A QUEST TO PURIFY HIS SOUL.

THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL BECAME DISCOURAGED BEFORE THEY HAD HARDLY GOTTEN STARTED. THEY HAD BEEN ON THE ROAD ONLY A FEW DAYS, AND BUT A FEW MILES FROM SINAI, BUT YET, BECAUSE THEY BECAME HUNGRY, THEY WANTED TO GO BACK TO THE FLESHPOTS AND THE SLAVE CAMPS OF EGYPT.

GOD HAD BROKEN THEIR CHAINS, HE HAD REMOVED THE TEMPORARY BUT HARSH RULE OF A TYRANT PHAROAH FROM THEIR LIVES; GOD HAD PULLED A LIQUID GAP OUT OF A BELCHING SEA FOR THE RIGHT OF WAY, AND CAUSED THE WIND TO BLOW IT DRY. GOD HAD EXCHANGED THAT SLUSHY MUD FOR DRIFTING DUST ACROSS A DIVINELY CREATED SUPERHIGHWAY. AND YET, THEY WANTED TO GO BACK TO MAKING BRICKS FROM MUD BALLS, JUST TO EAT AGAIN FROM FLESH POTS. THEY WERE WILLING TO SELL THEIR PROMISING FUTURE FOR A BITE FROM THEIR PITIFUL PAST. FREEDOM WAS SEEMINGLY TOO COSTLY A VENTURE, SO THEY FEARFULLY BALKED AT THE PRICE THEY HAD TO PAY. THEY HAD THEIR EYES ON CANAAN, BUT THEIR MINDS WERE STILL IN EGYPT. THEY WERE LOOKING ONE WAY, BUT THINKING ANOTHER WAY. THEY TALKED FREEDOM, BUT THOUGHT SLAVERY. THEY STARTED OUT WATCHING GOD AS HE BECKONED THEM THROUGH THE CLOUDS BY DAY, AND THE FIRE BY NIGHT. BUT THEY STILL HAD THEIR MINDS ON A LESSER GOD BY THE NAME OF PHAROAH. CANAAN AND EGYPT WERE IN THE SAME GEOGRAPHICAL AREA, BUT EVEN GEOGRAPHICALLY THEY WERE IN EXTREME OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS. TO REACH ONE, YOU HAD TO TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OTHER. TO THINK ABOUT EGYPT, THEIR MINDS WOULD HAVE TO TREK ACROSS THE BURNING DESERT SANDS WHERE THE JACKALS HIDE AND BARK, BACK ACROSS THE SEA, WHERE SLIME, SLAVERY AND THE SEDUCTION OF FALSE SECURITY HELD SWAY. BUT TO EVEN THINK OF CANAAN, THEIR MINDS WOULD HAVE TO BE ELEVATED, ABOVE THE HILLS, AMONGST THE CEDARS AND THE WHISPERING PINES. CANAAN OR EGYPT. ONE WAS CONSIDERED TO BE THE CRADLE OF THE RACE, AND THE OTHER WAS THE HOPE OF THEIR FUTURE. SHACKLES IN ONE, SONGS IN THE OTHER. SLAVERY IN EGYPT, FREEDOM IN CANAAN. THEY WERE HALTED BETWEEN THEIR CHAINS AND THEIR WINGS. WHETHER TO CLING TO CHAINS TO HOLD THEM TO THEIR PAST, OR TO ALLOW WINGS TO LIFT THEM TO NEW HEIGHTS. CHAINS OF SLAVERY OR WINGS OF FREEDOM. WHAT WAS THEIR RESPONSE? THEY WOULD RATHER GO BACK INTO BONDAGE RATHER THAN RUN THE RACE FOR VICTORY. THEY WERE WILLING TO SETTLE FOR THE MUCK AND THE MIRE OF MEDIOCRITY, RATHER THAN TO STRIVE FOR HE PURSUIT OF THE PROMISED LAND. SO OFTEN, WE CANNOT REACH OUR CANAANS, BECAUSE WE ARE TOO BUSY THINKING ABOUT EGYPT. AND WE FIND OURSELVES ON THE TREADMILL OF LIFE, GOING IN CIRCLES. HOW CAN WE REACH THE INDIVIDUAL “PROMISE LANDS” OF OUR LIVES WITHOUT BEING DETOURED BY THE ENEMY? THE BATT LE IS IN OUR MINDS. SATAN HAD BEEN BOMBARDING THEIR MINDS WITH A CLEVERLY DEVISED PATTERN OF NAGGING THOUGHTS, SUSPICIONS, DOUBTS FEARS, WONDERINGS, REASONINGS AND THEORIES. HE KNEW OF THEIR INSECURITIES AND WEAKNESSES AND THEIR FEARS. SATAN WANTED TO ESTABLISH A STRONGHOLD IN THEIR MINDS THAT WOULD MAKE THEM PREFER BONDAGE TO FREEDOM. THAT WOULD MAKE THEM PREFER GOING BACK TO EGYPT, RATHER THAN MAKING IT TO THE PROMISE LAND. IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF A SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE THAT WOULD STRETCH AN 11 DAY TRIP INTO A 40 YEAR WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE. I HAVE SOME RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOU THIS MORNING:

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