From Captivity to Freedom

17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18 for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness; 19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. Acts 13:17-20

Most of the time we refer to Israel’s days in Egypt as those of slavery and torture. The Bible goes into great length to describe many of the events there.

But here, Paul said that the Israelites prospered during their time in Egypt. They had everything they needed and they had to work hard. They built character and “grit” during their captivity. But when it was time to go, God also provided that way. Then they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, and what did they do? They complained quite a bit for forty years.

We have the benefit of looking back at their story and evaluating it. They were actually better off working hard in captivity, oddly enough.

If you have a choice between hard work and no work, consider the benefits of both. Some thrive in a work environment. Most, however, do not do well being on a perpetual vacation. We become bored and irritable. We have it all but we’re still bored. Just be careful that your boredom doesn’t lead you into trouble. The old saying, “Idle hands are a tool of the devil” is more real than we know.

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