Leave it Behind
Leave it Behind
I love road trips. It is great to get out of town and get away from the routine for a little adventure. I have always loved traveling different places, whether it was for a mission trip or just a vacation. As far as packing went, it was so easy when we didn’t have kids. I would just throw some stuff in a bag and go.
Having 4 kids has made the process quite complicated. Especially now with a baby essentially you do need everything AND the kitchen sink. Typically when we get away our van is so full you can not see out the back window and the kids are squeezed into the van like a sardines. But it is great.
Anytime you go on a journey you have to make a decision to leave some things behind. You really can’t take everything.
- For one thing it won’t fit.
- For another thing having too much is a hindrance to your journey.
We always seem to end up with more things than we really needed. Or we take things we really don’t need and forget something we absolutely needed. Ever get away for a few days and see you have 40 pairs of underwear but no toothbrush.
I thought for fun I would pack a few things up here this morning.
- Essential products to get ready. (Bring hairdryer and talk about needing it).
- A book.
- Mp3 player
- Starbucks (or use phone to find one)
- Text your ZIP code to MYSBUX (697289) and in a minute you'll receive a reply listing three of the nearest Starbucks locations--complete with addresses and phone numbers
I can get by for weeks with those essential items.
You know our life is much the same way. There are some words of Jesus that refer to often because they are so central to His message.
I have to give life and give it to the full.
Jesus (John 10:10)
These words remind us that God really does want us to have a full life…a real life…life that has meaning and purpose and significance. There are some things that stand in the way of this. There are some things that suck the life out of us.
- Bad relationships
Story from Max Lucado story.
There are some things we need to let go of so we can experience the kind of life God designed for us. You don’t read through Scripture long until it becomes clear that God has designed us for a life of faith, a life of trusting in Him because he knows fully how to give us life. But faith doesn’t always come easy.
Triumphal Entry – couldn’t take kingdom on faith
That is pretty simple to understand, but not necessarily simple to do. A life of faith is not a life of easy following. Many things can get in the way.
The Israelites found this out the hard way.
As we approach Easter Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. For Jews it is a time of remembering the Passover: The event where God delivered the Israelites from 400 years of slavery through several miraculous events. Not the least of which was the parting of the Red Sea.
Now many movies have been done on this event. The 10 Commandments may be the most famous with Charlton Heston playing Moses. That movie amuses me because Heston in every scene talks like he is on stage.
Most movies that focus on the Exodus leave off somewhere around the giving of the 10 commandments at mount Sinai and many times they don’t show the struggle it was for the Israelites to follow God on faith. Here’s an example:
And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
They witnessed the most miraculous events by the hand of God but when it came to finding water, they panicked.
As I was talking about this in our planning meeting, someone rightly questioned, “Well, wouldn’t you begin to panic if you went 3 days without water? Wouldn’t your faith falter?”
Probably so. It so human to see the Israelites struggle in their faith. Certainly looking at this from a microscope we can understand their struggle. But the benefit we have is that we can back up and see the big picture. And the big picture shows us this:
A God who delivered 600,000 Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Could this God take care of a little water? It’s hard to follow in faith when you can’t see the big picture.
But this wasn’t the end of the story. A part of the arrangement for the Israelites in the desert is that they needed to learn to trust God. If God was going to give them the promised land they needed to trust him with everything. This meant trusting Him with water and food.
So He gave them water from a rock. The food arrangement is little different but gets at the heart of faith.
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him.
That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omera for each person you have in your tent.’ ”
17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed.
19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.
God was teaching them to trust Him. They were to gather just enough for the day. And trust God with tomorrow.
It is reminiscent to me of the Lord’s Prayer when Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” Just enough for today Lord, I trust you for tomorrow.
But you take a people who spent 400 years in slavery and trusting the unknown is hard. Think about it. They as a group of people basically did whatever they were told to do and they got food. The knew what tomorrow would bring. It was the same thing every day, brick laying. Same work day after day. Not the most exciting thing but engrained in them was also this idea that they knew whatever they did there would be food available. Now all of a sudden they are wandering in the desert, following some guy with a stick who talks to God. Now they had certainly seen the power of God, but how quickly they forgot the acts of God in their life because they wanted certainty of provision. They wanted to know they had food available to them tomorrow.
But the life of faith says, you have enough for today, trust me with tomorrow.
Have you ever experienced something that was unmistakably God showing up to provide for you and then very quickly something else happens and you begin to worry again? Maybe it was God providing financially. Maybe he provided healing. And then soon after that another need comes up and you worry, “What will I do?”
God says, I will provide enough for today, trust me with tomorrow.
On the journey of faith, there are some things that stand in the way of trusting God.
- Control – Back in Egypt I might have been in slavery, but at least I had some amount of control over my home.
- Certainty –Back in Egypt I knew I would get food the next day.
- Comfort – Wasn’t always comfortable working long hours, but I had a bed to go home to.
These are extra bags you don’t need. The Israelites trusted God just so far, but most of them reached a breaking point where at least one of these three bags got in the way of their faith.
A good question to ask is, “What’s my breaking point?” “Where do I reach the point where I find it impossible to trust God?”
- Is it with having enough for tomorrow?
- Is it with your children?
- Is it with my relationships?
Now I don’t have a hard time trusting God with my eternity. I just have a hard time trusting Him with tomorrow.
- Control – I want to be able to control my life.
- Certainty – I want to be able to predict with good accuracy that I will have what I need and want tomorrow.
- Comfort – I want to be comfortable. I want my leisure time. I want my time in front of the TV.
Each of these three bags has a tendency to run against faith, but it’s only in faith that we find the life God has designed for us to have. These can be breaking points for me as well.
God taught the Israelites dependence on him by the wanderings in the desert. But it didn’t work for the ones who came out of Egypt. If you know the whole story, you know that no one except one person who was alive when they came out of Egypt got to enter the promised land.
Sounds pretty harsh. Growing up I often thought, what’s up with that? That doesn’t sound right. They at least followed God into the desert. Throw me into the desert for 40 years and I might have problem living by faith myself. The problem is that ultimately the Israelites who were born into slavery could never escape a slave mentality. Dependence on the system instead of dependence on the power of God. To enter the promised land, God needed a people who had a conquerors mentality.
They eventually got there. But it was with the children who were born in the wilderness. It was with children who grew up with a different mentality…ones who grew up without the baggage of control, certainty and comfort. Think about it: The ones who God used to settle the promised land were ones who grew knowing nothing more than being in complete dependency on God, giving their control to Him. Ones who knew only the certainty of faith. And the only comfort they had was knowing that God would go with them wherever they went.
In short, God needed people with a conqueror’s mentality. Not a conqueror’s mentality that they could do it on their own. God wasn’t looking for a people who thought they could do it on their own. He was looking for a people who knew they couldn’t do it on their own. A people who placed everything into God’s hands.
Here’s a reminder to us this morning about who we are in following Christ:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Because the tomb is empty we are conquerors. Because the tomb is empty nothing cand stand against us. Not because we are just that strong, but because God is.
We are conquerors and we need to act like.
Some of us carry extra baggage. Maybe it is a hindrance to faith like control, certainty or comfort. We need to get rid of the extra baggage because it is only preventing us from the life God desires for us.
Andrew Murray said, “A hero is someone is afraid and still obeys.”
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ex 16:4
a That is, probably about 2 quarts (about 2 liters); also in verses 18, 32, 33 and 36
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ex 16:13