The Israelites had lived under the Egyptian banner for 400 years. Their lives were not their own. The Egyptians owned them, and they were under the bondage of slavery.
But their lives were predictable. Under the banner of Egypt they were required to work hard. They were oppressed. But they knew what was expected of them and they knew they would have a place to live and enough to eat to keep them strong (to the Egyptian's advantage).
BUT THEN GOD used Moses to free them...... and showed them His power through all He did to set them free. The plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, their liberation from Egypt and Pharaoh, left them jubilant as they BROKE the chains and escaped their bondage! How glorious to be FREE! How ecstatic they were!
But they were not prepared for the challenges that lay before them. They were not prepared to walk in freedom. After all God had done, they were still not prepared to rely on Him and TRUST Him. They grumbled. They complained. And they did not TRUST Him to provide.
But He did.
He provided fresh water and sweet mana to eat as well as quail. He provided divine protection as the Israelites had to face their first battle (with the Amalekites). God proved that HE was their banner. They now lived under the BANNER of Jehovah! They lived in freedom.
We shake our heads and ask why they could not TRUST God. Why were they not able to embrace freedom from captivity? But are we not just like the children of Israel when life gets unpredictable? Don't we grumble and question Him when life gets tough?
Walking in freedom is many times harder than living in bondage. Bondage feels familiar. Bondage feels safe. In bondage, we have a place to lay blame. In bondage, we have a cause for our predicament. We are not bound as slaves in a foreign country. But our bondage comes in many forms. What keeps you from walking in freedom? What are you a slave to? (worry, perfectionism, technology, intellectualism, pride, , laziness, co-dependency, self-love, self-loathing, unhealthy appetites.......)
God provided for the Israelites again and again to show them He was worthy of their trust. As we walk in freedom He will do the same for us.
A life of freedom requires so much more responsibility than a life of bondage. We have to willingly take up the banner of Christ and trust Him in all things.
We can TRUST Him even when the way is confusing. With Him as our Banner we have protection and provision. We can REST and be calm even when releasing area of bondage causes confusion and pain. He is our Banner and will fight our battles for us just as He did for the Children of Israel.
We can put all our cares on Him. Because He cares for us. He is our Banner.
Exodus 16 - 17
Dear God, be our banner. Help us to walk in freedom as we trust in you. Help us walk without complaining. Help us realize that the prison of bondage has walls that feel safe even though they are NOT safe! When the walls of bondage are broken, we are exposed to confusion until we recognize that God is our Banner and will turn confusion into wisdom and love. Only by raising YOUR banner can we conquer the confusion when our haven of bondage is broken. In Jesus name, AMEN