This Christmas, God is calling you out.
If you remember, the first call out of Egypt occurred in the time of Moses. Israel (God’s son) had been living the Egypt since the time of Joseph. Joseph had caused Israel to escape death by famine, by bringing them to Egypt; and there they experienced a period of great blessings and prosperity. However, after Joseph died and another leader (Pharaoh) came to power, things did not go well for Israel.
Israel suffered slavery – tremendous oppression – at the hands of hard task masters. They endured treatment as second-class citizens, and to make things worse, their worship to God was restricted. Emotionally, they had had enough!!
So, God called them out of Egypt. He delivered them from under the hands of their oppressors and gave them joy, dancing, singing and freedom to worship.
Have you had enough?
The second time God called his Son out of Egypt occurred when Jesus was a toddler. He and His family had moved there to escape his inevitable death by the decree of the cruel King Herod, who had pronounced the killing of all baby boys.
When relating this event in St. Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 2, Matthew referred back to the scripture in Hosea 11:1 where we read: I loved him and called my son out of Egypt. When Jesus was called out of Egypt when it was safe for Him to return, He also fulfilled this prophecy (Luke 24:27).
God is calling many of you out of Egypt this year – at this time! He is calling you out of years of slavery to the things which have you bound. Even as Christians you may be living in bondage to your feelings – deep emotional wounds that have controlled your life for so many years.
God has heard your cries. God has seen your tears. God has seen how you tried to live up to someone else’s expectations. God has seen how the work you do goes un-rewarded. God has seen your years of abuse. God has seen how you have been taken for granted; and He is now calling you out ― to safety.
You may be apprehensive, wondering: “What’s on the other side of ‘Egypt’ for me?” Here is His answer:
(Isaiah 61:3) “to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new” [MSG].
That scripture says it all.
For your mourning – joy For your frustration – peace For your loneliness – comfort For your pain – healing For your questions – answers For your bitterness – love For your emptiness -- fulfillment For your depression – laughter For your abandonment – the warmth of friends
Your next question might be: “How do I get out?” The Answer: You must respond to the call.
God calls you son – not beggar, not stranger – but son.
His call to you is: “Come!” “Come to Me.” “Come to Me ALL ...who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 ESV). Rest means total dependence on Him. He wants to care for you. He wants to provide for you. He wants to take all the pain you suffered and remove it from your memory bank, so that you will enjoy a life of freedom from guilt and shame.
When Jesus came out of Egypt as a child, He came home. He came to the place where he was free to roam around and be a regular kid. He came to the place where He prospered as He grew up, and became the Carpenter of Nazareth. Everyone there knew Him and favored Him.
This is the place to which your Father is calling you. A life of freedom to be who you were intended to be. A place where your gifts and talents are appreciated, and where you can thrive. Out of Egypt!
Accept His call by returning home to the Father. Give Him your worries and cares – do not let them kill you. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Casting all your worries on Him because he cares for you.” ESV
Psalm 55:22 echoes this: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
When Peter wanted money to pay taxes, He asked Jesus (Matthew 17:27). When the disciples wanted food, they asked Jesus (Matthew 14:16-20). When Peter’s business was not doing well, he told Jesus (Luke 5:5).
In each of these situations, Jesus provided the solutions. Why won’t He do the same for you?