Friday, June 26, 2009

The Mixed Multitude

“And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?” (Numbers 11:4).

And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting. From my earliest days as a follower of Jesus, this phrase from the Bible has held my interest. Why? Because it shows me in living color how certain things linger in our lives even though we are in the process of redemption; and that these things, if left unchecked (or dare I say uncrucified?), can and sometimes will rise up with such power that our feet are diverted from the Way.

The children of Israel were brought forth out of great anguish by the strong hand of the Lord, and set forth on their miraculous trek across the desert to a Promised Land with nothing less astounding than the parting of the impassable Red Sea.

The heat of the desert sun was shielded during their day travel by a cloud covering, and the chill of the desert night was warmed by the presence of that mysterious "pillar of fire." They had water aplenty, supplied by miraculous intervention, and fresh bread every morning sent from heaven above.

But there was this bunch in among them -- a group of Egyptians who sought refuge in Israel's deliverance, and had made the journey this far by traveling in their midst. This group gave voice to their true longings; they wanted to go back to the way it was. They remembered fondly the good times in Egypt, and all the abundance they had so lavishly enjoyed -- even though it was at the expense of the Israelites, who have been forced by them into slavery.

When God is calling you forward beware of those things that still live within you which always look fondly backwards. Don't let the things that mix you up work with such power that they take you down. Especially in those moments when the trek across the desert seems to be taking much longer than you expected!

Lord, take those things in me that are still alive to the past and silence them by your redeeming work on the Cross. Carry me through the grave into newness of life, and fill me with a vision that forgets those things which are behind and presses faithfully, passionately onward and upward to that which lays ahead!

Make me whole and complete, faithful and true!

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