Change is difficult. We become comfortable with the way things are, and unwilling to let go even if we are unhappy or even miserable. Why is this? It is because we fear the uncertain. We’d rather hang on to what we know we can live with than step out on faith into the unknown.
Matthew tells us a story which illustrates this perfectly in Chapter 8:28-34 NIV:
28)”When he arrived at the other side [SE shore of the Sea of Galilee] in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29)” ‘What do you want with us son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come to torture us before the appointed time?’ ”
30)”Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31) The demons begged Jesus, ‘ If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.’ ”
32)”He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33) Those tending the pigs ran off, went into town and reported all of this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.34) Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.”
The backstory of the region of Gadarenes can be found in Numbers 32:16-19 and Joshua 4:13. They were people who were content with what they had and did not want to listen to Moses when he told them what God commanded:
Numbers 16) “Then they came up to him [Moses] and said, ‘We would like to build pens here for our livestock and cities for our women and children. 17)But we are ready to arm ourselves and to go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land. 18)We will not return to our homes until every Israelite has received his inheritance. 19)We will not receive any inheritance with them on the other side of the Jordan because our inheritance has come to us on the east side of the Jordan.'”
Joshua explains Moses had stated God’s command to send ALL of the men of Rueben, Gad, and half the men of Manasseh to the plains of Jericho for battle. Yet, only 43,730 out of 100,580 men went to war. [Joshua 4:13.]
This all takes place in 1406 BC. Yet the same mindset of sitting comfortable in their pig farming, and deciding to ask Jesus to leave, and not to follow him was very much still engrained in their thinking. They were afraid of the unknown. They did not follow Jesus.
Perhaps this is one of the hardest lessons in life: To be willing to fulfill God’s plan for us to live, as He wants us to prosper, if we just step out on faith and believe He will dry up the River Jordan for us to cross. [Joshua 4:18.]
We have to ask ourselves, no matter what we are facing, if we can take that leap of faith, and put ourselves completely in the hands of the Lord to overcome our fears. He will handle all of our obstacles. He will lift our burdens. He will make a way when there is no way. Let’s not sit tending the pigs, but trust when he calls us to follow Him. Most people will not understand when we do. They will cringe when we mention God or His Word. They’ll stay comfortable in their misery. But we must not apologize. Rather we should carry on with the Holy Spirit guiding us forward.
© 10/20/1018 Phyllis Weeks Rogers
Header image: SugarMtnFarm.com