KADESH-BARNEA. CHAPTER I EGYPT.
THIS dark land, in which the Children of Israel served in bondage for over four hundred years, is a perfect type of the world of sin in which the Spirit of God found us. No Egyptian taskmaster was ever more merciless and cruel than sin, and the case of no Israelite was ever more helpless or hopeless than that of a man who is lost in sin; for remember Paul's words, as he describes our lost estate (Ephesians 2:12):
"At that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world."
They of old in Egypt could not save themselves; the more they struggled, the more helpless they became. Is this not a perfect illustration of that condition in which we were before God saved us? But hope came to Israel, and help came to us from the very same source. But alas! it is true that one may be redeemed and may be in possession of eternal life, and still be dwelling in Egypt. It is not a difficult matter for us to determine whether we are in this position or not. Egypt was the place of bondage for Israel, and the world is the place of bondage for the Christian.
If a Christian is in the world and of it, he has no deliverance from his sin. He is repeatedly making the same failure, he is constantly confessing his weakness, but alas! each day only finds him failing again, and he is of all men most miserable. He is saved from the penalty of sin, but not from its power.
We find also that when Israel was in Egypt, they were all the time groaning in their bondage; and this is the experience of the Christian living in the world. It is perfectly illustrated in the seventh chapter of Romans (which doubtless was a record of Paul's own struggles); and especially in that verse which reads: "To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I know not." Reader, if you are constantly groaning over your defeat, discouraged because of your failure, and losing hope because you have no song with which to praise God, it is clear evidence that while you may be in possession of eternal life, you are still dwelling in Egypt.
It is also not to be forgotten that while Israel dwelt in Egypt, they were unable to worship God. So there are thousands of Christians, who have been redeemed by the blood, and kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, and yet somehow they are utterly powerless in the matter of worship. Their prayers are like sounding brass, their testimony like a tinkling cymbal. It is because they have continued to dwell in Egypt.