Spiritual Growth - Living a Life of Faith

Dwelling on the Past – What Is Your Egypt?

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“Don’t dwell on the past!” How often do we hear that in our own lives? Do you often find yourself living in the past? Getting over the past, getting over past hurts, can be so difficult. Letting go sometimes seems more difficult than the pain of dwelling on the past and what once was.

There was once a group of weary travelers who also had trouble letting go of the past!

Dwelling on the Past - Hyroglyphics

Dwelling on the Past – The Children of Israel

In Exodus 16 we read the account of Moses and the children of Israel entering the wilderness after they had been out of Egypt for approximately 2 months.

We read in Exodus 16:2

“Then the WHOLE congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.” NKJV (Emphasis mine)

Then they said to Moses and Aaron in verse 3

“And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!

For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Exodus 16:3 NJKV

Ok I get it! I have been hangry a time or two so I can only imagine how they must have felt after trekking through the wilderness without food. But let’s have a good look at this.

They had been slaves.  They were mistreated, beaten, forced to work hard labor with little food and little rest. Their own children were also slaves and forced to work.

This was a BAD situation they had been freed from. And yet, because they were experiencing hardship in the NOW, they forgot what life had been like in Egypt and somehow felt it would be better to have DIED there then go through the hunger they were experiencing now.

They let their fear get the best of them!


Dwelling on the Past – Does This Story Sound Familiar?

We sometimes do the same thing, albeit our circumstances aren’t usually quite as bad as being former slaves trekking through the desert for 2 months while feeling like you are starving.

But we often have situations we have left behind us that, as soon as things get tough, we look back at and long for it.

Maybe it was a relationship that was abusive.

Maybe it was a boss that made your life miserable.

Maybe it was even a life of sin.

Yes, sometimes we even look longingly back at our life before salvation and wonder if we hadn’t been better off!  After all, the enemy left us alone then!  We didn’t go through spiritual attacks.  We focus on our feelings at the moment rather than long-term gain!

Sound familiar?

An image of the desert with Exodus 16:2 quoted - How to Stop Dwelling on the Past

Blinded by Time and Distance

Time and distance can sometimes blind us to how bad things were for us before.  How bad that boss was.  How damaging that relationship was. How we were lost to sin.

We focus on the hardships we have now! In THIS moment!

We murmur and complain like the children of Israel did.

The things we pray for, we all of a sudden despise because receiving them came with discomfort!

Dwelling on the Past – What is your Egypt?

What is that thing in your life you keep looking back at? Is there something that keeps you dwelling on the past?

What is that thing you sometimes long for when things get tough?

Find it and then sink that ship!! Don’t look back!

Sink the Ships

Hernan Cortes, so the story goes, brought his men on shore to fight a battle they could very well lose. He knew the risk. He knew the ships were there on shore and if the battle got tough the men could flee.  He wanted them committed. It was fight or die but fleeing was not going to be an option.

So he sunk the ships. Some accounts say he burned them but it seems as though sinking them was the most likely account. Either way, they were there to stay.

When the enemy rears his ugly head and life gets tough, sink the ships.

When that job makes you wonder if you hadn’t been better off at your old one, sink the ships.

When you wonder if the pain and hurt from that relationship was better than being alone, sink the ships.

Don’t look back to your Egypt. Stop dwelling on the past! Don’t LIVE there! Don’t murmur or complain but keep moving forward. Focus on the present!

The murmuring and complaining kept the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years when it was a trip that should have taken just weeks.

Don’t keep walking around that mountain when you could be moving forward to your promised land.  Trust God with your destination!


Some other posts like ‘Dwelling on the Past’ you might enjoy:

Finding God in All Things – God in the Every Day

Old Testament vs New Testament – Why is the Old Testament Important for Christians?

Not of This World – Having 1 Foot in the Kingdom & 1 in the World

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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  1. Living in the past is so dangerous. It keeps us stuck. I’ve learned to let go of some things, but others take more time. The people who can let go of looking back and thinking “what if” are the ones who are most successful. Learning from our past mistakes is the only way to stop making them!

    1. It is tough for sure…I know it is a constant battle for me because the enemy likes to throw the past in our faces a lot!

  2. Oh, this hits me deep. I have a tendency to bring bad decisions from the past back up. I can be so judgemental of myself. But, I remind myself that I am wiped CLEAN and I can FORWARD in victory. Thank you for this reminder. Out of Egypt I go!!

  3. My small group is going through the book, “Lord, Change My Attitude” and the author was talking about this very account and the murmuring and complaining the Israelites were doing, Diane. So I’m resonating with what you’re saying here. It’s so easy to get in that place of negativity, but it’s a total insult to the Lord. Like you and Hernan have said, “Better to sink the ships!” Otherwise the Enemy will have a field day with us! Thanks for this encouragement! Found you at Lori’s linkup!

    1. Amen Beth…and I share these things because I myself struggle with them. It’s not easy to face the enemy as he dredges up past faults and refuse to look back at them!! Thank you!!

  4. Managed to find my way to your on-line home twice this morning and have been blessed both times. Forgiving ourselves and others is crucial for enjoying today moving forward. Thanks for these encouraging words! Blessings!

  5. I’m so blessed that the Lord led me here through the #GraceandTruth linkup. Just this morning the Lord has been asking me to fix my eyes ahead and commit to the path that HE has set before me. It’s so tempting to look back and to feel so inadequate for the journey. But He does call us forward, and wants to be our true Helper. Thank you so much for these words today.

  6. This is an awesome reminder. It is easy to look back sometimes especially on moments I remember with fondness, but God doesn’t operate back there. He’s not changing the past nor is He sending me back there. Love this ?

  7. When I think of “the past” – I often think of Satan using it to shame me. The past can haunt me. But, how true, that we can even be lured by the past…especially faulty images of it. Whether good (I can long for the good times, too), shameful or skewed – the past needs to be the past. Thanks for a different look at a familiar topic and story. I enjoy a post that makes me think/rethink!

    1. I am glad you enjoyed it Jennifer. And you’re absolutely right! Satan loves to use the past to make us keep reliving things Jesus already took care of!