Staying Free

Numbers 14:1-4

That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt!Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lordbringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt? ” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt. ”

Matthew 12:43-45

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Genesis 19: 17, 26

17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”… 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

The studies on the internet vary, but (according to approximately 40% of all prisoners return to prison during their first year that they are free. According to one study on, smokers who go back to smoking are 37%. A myriad of websites claim that 80% – 95% of all diets fail.

The Israelite nation had escaped from bondage, survived many years in the dessert, and had made it to the promised land.  Upon seeing giants, the people wanted to die or to go back into the bondage of their past.  They even plotted to kill Moses and Aaron. It’s easy to look at their situation and wonder how individuals who had seen the wonders of God could be so quick to flee.

Not so fast.  Have you ever struggled with something and finally found yourself free of that sin?  It’s a battle – a daily battle.  Engaging in a guilty pleasure for a moment seems like a “quick fix”, but it is a journey back to the bondage where we once existed.  The unpure spirit wants to return with friends.  Maybe this is why folks lose weight and begin to look back.  They not only regain the weight but gain more than they originally lost.  The key to the passage is not to have an empty house; the house needs to be fully occupied by God when the unpure spirits return.  Then, they will find no room to take up residence.

Faith requires that we be forward-thinkers who anticipate where God is sending us.  This means letting go of our past, not dwelling so much in memories except the reminders of the times of God’s providence, and anticipating that the God who has brought us where we are is faithful to see that journey to it’s conclusion.  My daily journey is to stay connected with God and to look at how God will be faithful rather than looking back.  It didn’t pay for Lott’s wife to look back, and it won’t pay for me.

Dear God, the temptation of the familiar and of “quick fixes” is strong.  Help me fill my house with you so that when the demons launch a counter attack, my house will already be fully occupied.  Amen.

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