After Pastor Ryan's sermon this past Sunday night on complacency, a category to which (before Sunday night) I thought I didn't apply to me. From then on, God has been showing me how wrong I was, even if it was a small, seemingly unimportant area of my life. God has been showing me how those areas we deem "unimportant" add up...and lead to disobedience, ultimately fulfilling the agenda of complacency.
So naturally, God has also been giving me scripture to back this thing up :)
Go with me to Genesis 50:24-Exodus 1:1-14
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy[a] in all; Joseph was already in Egypt. Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them. Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.
Okay, I know that's a lot to take in, but I wanted you to see the context. Joseph dies and as he's dieing, reminds his brothers of that which God has promised them. A land that God has specifically ordained for them that would flow with blessing.
But notice something...no where does it say that Joseph's brothers and descendants began to seek God and pray that He would come to their aid and lead them into this promised land. No where does it say they fasted and prayed until an answer came. At the beginning of Exodus chapter 1, it begins to list the new descendants that we being born. It tells of their new fruit, and how they Israelites "multiplied greatly" in the land of Egypt....but no where do you see any talk of following God's promise. Why is this? How is it that within such a short amount of time, the Israelites forgot about a promise that they had heard all of their lives?
I believe that they got comfortable. They had just left a time of famine, had reunited their family before Joseph died, and we now being fruitful, experiencing much gain in the areas that they believed made them successful and "blessed". Everything was right in their world, and surely they wouldn't need to leave when everything was going well...right? Wasn't this what God had intended? They had 3/4 of the promise already...Maybe they didn't need to completely follow His plan to be obedient...
Why is this wrong? Read down a few more verses. The Egyptians began to see the growth and strength of the Israelites and feared their possible power...leading them to enslave God's chosen people.
So if the reality they were living in was truly God's promise, would the leaders of that land have enslaved them?
Clearly, Egypt was not the land that God had promised. So what brought them to their enslavement? It was their decision to sit back, and enjoy the comfortable place that they were in. After a long battle with famine and familial conflict, in our mind, this would be justifiable. In our mind, we would deserve the break...but God told us to run the race set before us, not stop and pitch a tent ten miles from the finish line, deciding that "almost there" is good enough.
When it comes down to it, the Israelites failed to see the urgency in pursuing God's promise, and as a result became enslaved by the disobedience they chose to dwell in. By being content with Egypt when they should have been longing for the promise land, they became satisfied and inactive, when they should've been pursuing.
When God promises us something, He doesn't always just hand it to us. While we can't try and make our own way to that promise, through our own scheming and planning, God expects us to do what He's told us to do; fast, pray, and read His word; and be obedient to His promptings that can lead us to His plan. Had the Israelites been doing this, they might have received instruction from God and entered the promise land before they ever became a threat to the Egyptians and became enslaved as a result.
We must pursue God so fervently that we will never become satisfied with where we are. We must pursue Him with such passion that we will be able to hear His subtle promptings that lead us into the fruition of His promises. We must keep our hearts in such a burning state that we burn for the dream of God, and cannot be content with a watered down version of it.
If we fail to do this, we can become enslaved by the disobedience that surrounds our comfortable, complacent condition. If God's chosen can do it, so can we.
I don't know about you, but in this season of revival, I don't want to miss out just because I was content with having almost all of God's blessing. I want it all. I want to be a mighty flame that signals His glory to all the nations! I want to be a jar of clay, one that He has molded and can fill in order to pour out His glory into our dry land! I want to sit at His feet, night and day, studying His word and praising Him for His majesty and holiness!
I know that I can't do that if I choose to remain where I am comfortable and not where I am consecrated.
Neither can you.