Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19)
I left Egypt with the rest of my people. Who could complain when years of brick-making came to an end? Who wouldn’t have joined in the great procession out of the land of the Pharaoh? When Moses said, “Let my people go!” I was one of those people. Those were good days. I crossed the dry ground with walls of Red Sea water on either side, marveling at the power and protection we witnessed.
That deliverance did not keep me devoted to God. It didn’t keep me from grumbling about our food or clamoring for a Golden Calf. I hardened my heart, to use Moses’ phrase. I became part of the problem.
God took me out of Egypt and delivered me from slavery, but he would not permit me to cross into the land of promise. He wouldn’t allow me to enter into his rest.
That rest, that land, would be sweet. I’ve seen the bunches of grapes so huge it took two men to carry. I long for the taste of those grapes, for the plenty that they represent. I long for a taste I’ll never know.
I cannot go back to Egypt, cannot rejoin that life before I saw the saving power of God. Somehow I think I’d be happier if I’d never heard of Moses, never left my life of brick-making. Don’t get me wrong. I realize that I’m better off out of Egypt, out of slavery, but I can’t get the taste of those grapes out of my mind. It’s the taste of regret for what I might have had, who I might have been.
How does the Christian, the person who walked an aisle or got “fire insurance” feel? Probably about the way that our wandering Israelite felt. It’s probably easier–but certainly not better–to remain dead in sin than to accept Christ’s sacrifice and then live in rebellion.