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Here’s a quiz for you:
- Do you feel trapped in an unfulfilling, grueling daily cycle?
- Are you ensnared by a system that contradicts everything you believe in?
- Are you forced to compromise principles you once held dear?
- Is your daily reality much different than your idyllic one?
If you answered ‘yes’ to all these questions, then you may be stuck in your Familiar Hell.
What is a Familiar Hell?
Unfortunately, a Familiar Hell is a reality for many. It is a situation in which a human – who naturally desires freedom, satisfying life, and opportunities for creation – is forced into an uncomfortable, rigid, uncompromising, stoic system. Instead of participating in the abundant life Christ offers them (John 10:10), they live it in the shadows, watching the clock tick.
They stay in their Familiar Hell because – well, it’s familiar.
The Jews in Egypt were intimately acquainted with it. For 430 years, they had been subject to oppression, grueling labor, and tyrrany. They were denied freedom and opportunities for worship. Instead of independence, they became mass-production machines that essentially constructed the cities of ancient Egypt.
But not for long.
You see, their God was listening. He was watching. He was well aware of their suffering and, at His appointed time, He set them free.
He enacted a series of brutal, debilitating plagues that inundated Egypt. Beat down and cornered, they released the Jewish slaves. And so they fled, unaware of the difficult road ahead.
Once released into the desert, they were shocked by a completely different way of life. There was no one to tell them when to work, or for how long. They were no longer directed when and where they could cook, eat, and sleep. No one whipped them for disobedience. The boundaries were all but gone.
Because no one told them what to do, they didn’t know what to do.
And along with freedom came danger, choices, and gambles.
They couldn’t handle it. Crying out to Moses their leader, they shook their fists and yelled, “Moses! Why did you bring us here to die? Let us go back to Egypt. Let us be enslaved again.”
Like a newborn baby who cries for the safety of the womb, the ex-slaves cried for the protection of their enslavement. They longed to return to the unyielding system that denied their rights, oppressed their humanity, and stripped their individuality.
Thankfully, God didn’t let them go out like that. Instead, He pushed them further into liberty through the parted Red Sea, into the desert, and out to the open country where they could stretch their legs.
However, their slavery was a mindset. God, wishing to deliver His kids from the harsh bondage, practically gave them the land of Canaan. They had only to reach out and seize it. Sending twelve spies ahead of them, ten returned with a discouraging report: we can’t do it. The Canaanites are giant. We will be defeated.
The ex-slaves embraced the news, which spread quickly. Essentially, they were looking for an excuse rather than a way.
God knew He had to purge the defeated, enslaved generation before victory was possible. So He did.
He pushed the people back to the desert where they waited for forty years for an entire generation to die off. The snakeskin of defeat was shed, and a chance at conquering emerged.
Thankfully, the new generation learned from their elders. They bravely infiltrated and confiscated the Land of Canaan. Walking in victory, they defeated all who surrounded them.
Sadly, the entire previous generation missed out on it.
And this begets the question: to which generation do you belong?
Are you clutching your Familiar Hell? Are you troubled by the idea of freedom? Does the accompanying unknown terrorize you?
Or, are you longing, yearning to break free? To cast off the chains that restrict you from the releasing, dangerous adventure of life?
My Friend, the choice is yours.
I’m sure you know which is God’s preference. You’re well-aware, I’m certain, what He would have for you. He didn’t cast endless plagues on Egypt to have the slaves return and wallow in them.
My Friend, let go of your Egypt. Flee and don’t look back. Leave it where it belongs – to the confused, angry oppressors. Enslavement and tyranny are unbecoming of a freed Child of Christ.
Come out of her, Dear One, and move forward into your Land of Canaan. Your unfamiliar Heaven awaits.
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