By Pablo Giacopelli
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The Israelites left Egypt where they were slaves for several hundred years. As they came out to the desert God waited for them longing to woo them much the same way that a man woos a woman during courtship. Things unfortunately started to go South very quickly when the Israelites did what most of us normally do which is to put the face of Pharaoh (who/what we live to please) over the face of God.
This action implants in us an erroneous view of God which means that we try to relate with him much the same way we did/do with the one who has wounded us the most. In their case, Pharaoh, with whom they knew no relationship was possible apart from one that revolved around hard labor. He gave them their marching orders and they performed them. As long as they did this all was well and they were allowed to survive.
We see this mindset at work when they confront Moses and say to him, "Ask God what we need to do in order to get through the desert as quickly as possible." They do this because in their eyes they are still operating from their false identity of slaves instead of their true identity of beloveds of God. Whereas God wants a romance. They are only interested in the result of a transaction. God seeing this agrees by giving them the Ten Commandments as the rules are the only thing we can relate with when our approach is based on our performance.
While Gods idea is to romance them as his bride so that when they arrive in the Promised Land they can spend the rest of their days as a husband and his bride. The Israelites meanwhile are only interested in using God to get them through, as they are still approaching the journey with the mindset of Egypt. To them it's about externals whereas with God it is about the internal condition of their heart. They need results outside while God is longing for a transformation inside.
Today still many of us miss the real message that we are shown through this journey Israel took because we see it through the eyes of our own Egypt (performance). This leads us to pick out what are the mistakes Israel made, not why they made them, and how can we make sure we don't make them as well so we don't have to spend too long in the desert. We miss this because we fail to understand that this whole experience though a physical one, also had a spiritual dimension to it that was largely responsible for why things happened the way they did. As long as we see it this way, like with Israel, we too will miss the meaning of the desert and what can actually happen there because our focus will be set on its physical emptiness and bareness. We need to understand that this emptiness is not an accident but it is in fact designed this way to encourage and direct our attention to the fullness that is within us. As it is this fullness that not only help us to enter the Promised Land but more importantly is what keeps us there as it prevents us from getting attached to what we find there.
Therefore consider with me the possibility that Egypt is a picture of our mind. The Promised Land a picture of our hearts. And the desert, depending on which eyes you use to see, is either God or the place where we learn to get naked so we can enter into the promised land and be intimate with Him.
Consider also today that the reason so many of us never cross the desert is because what is meant to be shed is probably what is for most of us the most important things in our illusional world. This includes things like our social and professional position as well as the unhealthy attachments we might have with our closest relationships here on earth, just as Yeshua pointed out in Luke 18:20-29.
In the desert we are meant to let go of who we think God is, we are, as well as the need all of us carry to build our own Kingdom. As we do this, like with Paul, the scales from our eyes will fall so we can finally see who God has always been, we really are in him, and the Kingdom we were all trying so hard to build was because we failed to see the one that had been within us all along.
Understand – If we are willing to get naked and let go there is no other place in our journey where we will ever find more abundant life than the one that we will find within us in the desert.