by Dr. Brian J. Bailey
To gain an understanding of our spiritual journey through life we must study the journey of the children of Israel. Their journey started in Egypt, went through the wilderness into the Promised Land, and eventually led the people of God to Mount Zion. This historical journey undertaken thousands of years ago is a prophetic picture of our spiritual development as Christians. It portrays the journey of a believer from salvation to full spiritual maturity when we become mature fathers and mothers in the faith. It serves as a road map to show us where we have come from, where we are now, and where we are going.
The Plan for the Journey
To understand the journey of Israel we must realize that God planned this journey long before it took place. The Lord promised Abraham and his descendants full possession of the land of Canaan, but He did not give it to them right away. A famine forced Jacob (Abraham’s grandson) and his family to relocate to Egypt. There the family of Jacob (who had been renamed Israel by God) remained in Egypt, growing into a nation until a new Pharaoh ascended to the throne who imposed slavery upon Abraham’s descendants.
In Exodus 3:7-10 we read that God saw the afflictions of the children of Israel, and that He was deeply concerned for them. Be encouraged, beloved: God sees the heartaches that you are experiencing and He has not forgotten you. Remember, God does not always answer our prayers immediately, just as in the case of the Israelites. However, in his perfect time, He will deliver you from your affliction because He is a loving and merciful God.
God’s promise to deliver Israel in Exodus 3:8 reveals a very important truth: “So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey….” The Lord took the children of Israel OUT OF Egyptian bondage to lead them INTO a land flowing with milk and honey.
When God delivers us from a problem, situation, or bondage, His desire is to lead us into something better for our lives. Deliverance is essentially a two- step process: 1) being delivered from something bad, and 2) being brought into something good. It is essential that we grasp this truth for our own lives. God not only wants to deliver us from this world, but He wants to bring us into the fullness of our spiritual inheritance.
The Preparations for the Journey
Let us consider the preparations of the children of Israel. The Lord had to orchestrate events to cause them to be willing to leave Egypt. One of the reasons that the Lord caused the taskmasters to afflict them was to make them uncomfortable in Egypt. Otherwise, they would not have wanted to leave. Several things took place that prepared the children of Israel to leave Egypt: they were under bondage to an evil king (Ex. 1:10), cruel taskmasters afflicted them (Ex. 1:11), and their lives became bitter (Ex. 1:14).
This can have a spiritual application to us as believers as well. To illustrate this, a pastor was sent to a church that was filled with problems. He asked us to pray for him because there was a division in the church and many people were leaving. The Lord spoke to my wife and me in prayer that the problem was the immorality of the previous pastor. My friend said to me, “That is true, but he confessed it.”
We prayed again and the Lord showed us the spirit of immorality that was still over the church. The Lord revealed to us that even though the pastor had repented, the church members had not forgiven their former pastor. Their unforgiveness caused the spirit of immorality to remain, and that spirit brought in adultery, lust, rebellion, jealousy, hardness of heart, division, deceit, and discouragement. All of these spirits (or taskmasters) were operating under the king or ruling spirit of immorality over the church.
After this the former pastor visited the church and offered his repentance again. This time it was accepted, and this released the church to move on into revival. Within a very short time, the church doubled in size.
The point I am trying to make is that these evil spirits can be allowed by God to afflict us for a time, like the affliction of the Israelites. However, it is to cause us to cry out to God and be ready to journey on with God. Believe for a complete breakthrough in your life, in the lives of your loved ones, and in the people of your church so that they are completely free to serve the Lord with their whole hearts.