It was a crisp, cold morning here in the hills of Tennessee. I awoke early … just as the sun was peaking up over the horizon. I sleepily made my way to the coffee pot. Making fresh coffee is almost always my day’s first accomplishment as the early birds with whom I have shared the Feast of Tabernacles over the years can testify.
I ventured to the back porch and bravely opened the door to peek outside. A rush of freezing air blasted me. I shuttered and quickly closed the door. BURRRR!!! Winter is NOT my favorite time of year! Still sleepy and glassy eyed, I searched for a jacket. SOMEBODY had to venture out there and collect wood and stoke the fireplace. I guess that would be … I. Of course it would be. I was the only one awake. Everyone else was still snoozing, warm and fuzzy in his/her bed. Never mind the fact that just a few hours ago, while on a midnight trip to the bathroom, I had already reloaded it once.
With the fire roaring once again, I managed to pour a cup of coffee. Ahhh! This would be great! I’d use two sugars and extra cream … just the way I like it. I’d sit at the kitchen table and warm myself by the fire before making pancakes for breakfast. But when I opened the fridge, I discovered that SOMEBODY had helped himself to the last drop of milk! This would not have been a problem … had he told me LAST NIGHT, when I would have had the opportunity to FIX it!!! Now there would be no milk for my coffee, let alone any to make my pancake breakfast!!! Huff! I couldn’t understand why they ALWAYS do this! How hard could it be to tell me we’re out of milk???!
I made my way to the pantry and searched the shelves. I knew that somewhere, hidden among the rows of items, was a canister of powered coffee creamer. I don’t like that nearly as well, but it would have to do considering the pinch I was in. HUFF! Now. Finally! I could sit and just enjoy my coffee. Breakfast options ran through my head. Can’t have cereal. I’ll make muffins. No silly. You can’t make muffins. Remember? You have no milk! Huff!!! Double HUFF!!!
It might seem like such a petty thing but it’s no small task to make breakfast for five “starving” children each morning! It requires thought and preparation!! And here, I had NO MILK! Huff!!! Finally, I settled upon oatmeal. It’s not anybody’s favorite, but it’s nutritious, I had plenty of it and IT REQUIRES NO MILK. Fine! Oatmeal it would be! It was entirely too early to have to be confronted with so many frustrations … HUFF!
I sat down with my coffee and opened my Bible. I knew I didn’t have long before the silence of the morning would be shattered by the voices of hungry children and I wanted to get in a few chapters of my daily reading before that happened. The warmth of the fire felt SO good! Engrossed in my reading, I sipped my coffee, barely noticing the “off taste” of my “fake cream”. I wound up reading the book of Hosea. It is the testimony of a righteous man who was told by Yahweh to take on the burdens of a wife who was guilty of great whoredoms. Hosea’s life was one of symbolism; an earthly example of how the house of Israel continually walked in its sinful ways in spite of its marriage covenant with the Almighty. The chapters repeatedly point out how Israel “returns to Egypt” and the punishments which will come as a result.
“Return to Egypt”. Hmmm … I pondered that and began to reflect upon my earlier attitude. Could it be that grumbling, complaining and overlooking ones blessings is in part what is meant by a “return to Egypt”. Surely returning to captivity is part of it. But captivity to what??? Could it be that when we don’t take every thought captive, we return to the slavery of Egypt through sin? If we do so, would we, the “wild branch” which is “grafted in”, be found any less deserving of chastising??? Oh Yahweh! Purify us so that it not be so!!!
I heard floorboards above me starting to creak. The children were beginning to wake up. Very soon now, the house would be filled with the sound of clanging pots and idyll chattering. I closed my Bible and took a long, deliberate breath.
“Father, you alone know all my shortcomings! Forgive me for each grumbling that has flown so quickly from my heart!!! Help keep me from falling back into the captivity of Egypt through the renewing of my mind!!! Show me how to guard my heart and the door of my mouth so that I not sin against you! Teach me to find the blessings and joy in each thing, however great or small, so that I will not be guilty of sinning against you.. I thank you for firewood which has done such a great job of keeping our home warm and cozy! I thank you for oatmeal in the pantry. I thank you for messy, noisy children who will quickly fill my empty sink with dishes which beckon for me! And I thank you for allowing me to experience LACK so I can be taught to experience PLENTY!!!!”
Sisters, I share this to show how quickly (and unintentionally) we can find ourselves walking close to the realm of contamination. We must be diligent to guard against this. Being quick to proclaim blessings and thanksgiving is the best ammunition we have! Besides, it drives the enemy CRAZY! Let us give thanks to Yahweh continually and be determined to stay out of Egypt!
In Yahshua’s name