Consider Israel’s miraculous deliverance from Egypt in the Bible. As God’s people crossed over on dry land, they saw the waves crash down on their enemy behind them. It was a glorious moment, and they held a mighty praise meeting with dancing, singing and thanksgiving. “We’re free! God has delivered us from the hand of oppression.”
Israel’s story represents our own deliverance from the bondage and guilt of sin. We know that Satan was defeated at the cross and that we were immediately set free from his iron grip. However, there is more to God’s purpose in saving and delivering us. God never meant for Israel to camp there on the victory side of the Red Sea. His greater purpose in bringing them out of Egypt was to take them into Canaan, his land of fullness. In short, he brought them out of slavery in order to bring them into his heart and into his love. He wanted a people who were totally dependent on his mercy, grace and love. The same is still true for his people today.
Israel’s first test came just a few days later, and they ended up murmuring and complaining, totally dissatisfied. Why? They had known God’s deliverance, but they hadn’t understood his great love for them.
Here is the key to this teaching: You cannot come into joy and peace—indeed, you cannot know how to serve the Lord properly—until you see his delight in your deliverance…until you see the joy of his heart over his communion with you…until you see that every wall has been removed at the cross…until you know that everything in your past has been judged and wiped away. God says, “I want you to move on into fullness that awaits you in my presence!”
Multitudes today rejoice in the wonderful benefits of the cross. They have moved out of Egypt, and they are standing on the “victory side” of their Red Sea trial. They enjoy freedom, and they thank God continually for casting their oppressor into the sea.
Many of these same believers miss God’s greater purpose and benefit to them. They miss why the Lord has brought them out, which is to bring them in to himself. He is where the ultimate joy, satisfaction and purpose of our lives may be found.