10 Commandments of Working in a Hostile Environment


For ten generations, 400 years, Israel had been without their God. Thus, the Law is a school master and the Tabernacle becomes a classroom, where God begins to teach Israel about who He is, after being under the banner of false gods. The Children of Israel outran Pharaoh, but they did not outrun Egypt’s god. Read further in the Bible as Peter explains this exchange between God and Abraham in the New Testament: “And God spake on this wise, that his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place” (Acts 7:6, 7).

The whole purpose of God commanding the release of His people was to worship Him. The subversion of that plan was the building of the golden calf! Although Israel was saved by the blood, baptized through the water, went in as slaves and came out as sons, their minds were not renewed, even after regeneration. When they decided to build an image of what God looked like, they built the golden calf, which was Egypt’s god. Read further in the Bible about this account:

I Corinthians 10:1-7 Study Question: How could Israel have experienced all the blessings of God yet still worshipped an idol?

Exodus 32:1-10 Study Question: What role did a lack of trust and faith play in Israel’s idolatry?

It stands to reason that we can be free from our Pharaoh, and still serve Pharaoh’s god! Our perception and understanding of God are shaped by our environment. God will use a wilderness experience to purge out the false perceptions that we may have about Him, just to re-introduce Himself to us as the God that He is and not the God we were taught.

II Corinthians 6:16 talks about coming to know God: “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Psalms 119:71 says it this way: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statute.”

Study Question: What did the passages in II Corinthians and Psalms teach you about the process God takes us through to know Him?

Apply Israel was called as a people to worship God. Despite their freedom from Pharaoh, they still were not free from the influence of Pharaoh’s god. All that they experienced in the wilderness wanderings was to purify them from all they had experienced and believed in Egypt, so that they would learn to walk in the ways of God and walk with God.

It is the same for you and me. We have an experience with Jesus, and receive redemption and freedom, but many times are still dealing with Pharaoh’s gods—the ways and thoughts of the world. The wilderness process for us can be difficult, but know that its purpose is that we would be fully His in our actions, attitudes and worship!

Reflect • How are you still bound by your Pharaoh–old habits, old lifestyle? • How do you see God? Have you had a personal experience with Him? • Have you had or are currently having a wilderness experience?

Ask God to reintroduce Himself to you in a way that transforms your perception of who He is.

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