Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Susan's Musin's - Journey Out of False Security

I've always been a "what if" person. Wayyyyy back in elementary school, the sixth graders got to go to a week long science/nature camp. And when I was in the second grade, I cried to my mom, "I'll be too scared to go and leave you for a whole week; I can't do it!" My mom, bless her heart, had to calm me down and remind me I was only in the second grade and didn't have to worry about it right then. Well, when I finally got to the sixth grade, I had a non-conformist teacher; and our class got to camp on the beach for a week and study the California Indians; and my mom was able to go as a chaperon. My "worst fear" never materialized. Later on as a senior in high school, I was asked to be a camp counselor to the sixth grade girls at that same science camp; so I got to go after all and made it just fine :)

I share that little story to tell you that I have always been that way, even into my adulthood and marriage, even more so because the "what ifs" seemed bigger when I got out on my own. The ultimate (so far) was when Dave and I decided to leave our corporate jobs and families in California and move here to Texas where there were mostly unknowns. (And Texas was one BIG science camp to me with all kinds of bugs, pests, snakes, tornadoes, etc.) Most everything was being taken out from my control, which, looking back so far, has been the best thing that could have happened to me. If you have read our early blog posts, you will know that God had been teaching us from His word about His sovereignty and lovingly growing our faith to be able to make the decision to trust Him and leave everything that we considered "secure" in order to be obedient to how He calls us to live in separation from the world as His children. (2 Cor. 6:14-18; Isaiah 52:11-12; Rev. 18)

As I have learned more about type and shadow in the Bible, I see that physical Israel in the Old Testament is the type of spiritual Israel today. I am very encouraged whenever I think of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years and all of the miracles God performed (ie: daily manna from heaven (Exodus 16), water from rocks (Exodus 17:1-6), their clothing and shoes never wore out (Deut. 8:1-4), etc.) We're talking hundreds of thousands of men, women and children with all of their livestock; and God provided for their needs in the desert where there was nothing but His direct provision to sustain them. He provided shade by day and a pillar of light at night (Exodus 13:21,22). God had given them faith enough to step out and leave Egypt in obedience to His command, and He took care of the rest. However, it was because of taking their eyes off of God and His direct protection and provision that they were made to wander in the desert those 40 years before being allowed to enter Canaan (a type of heaven). And only the very few of the original Israelites that had truly and consistently trusted God were permitted to enter Canaan (Numbers 14:30; 32:12). The rest perished in their sin in the desert. The Israelites complained and longed to go back to Egypt because they had grown used to looking to Egypt to supply their needs (Exodus 16:3). Even though they were in bondage to Egypt they looked to it for security and material things instead of looking to God. I believe this is the situation most professing Christians are in today when they look to the world's systems for sustenance (food, water, protection, care, etc.), but the Bible states this is not what God has commanded for His children to do.

Over the last five years of living here, I have been very tempted to look back to Egypt for my security, but God has taught me in His long-suffering and proven time and time again that He is the one who is in control regardless of the circumstance. As most of you know, we live off grid here and are increasingly learning to look to God for His direct, and I mean direct, provisions. God provides the rain for our water, our food from the ground, and our meat. During bad thunderstorms, tornadoes and in all the seasons, God reminds me in His word that it is He who is in control of the weather patterns and every single strike of lightning (Texas T-storms put the fear of God in me every time). I have also learned that every heart beat is a gift from God and all my days are in His hand and have been foreordained (Psalms 139:16). He also promises rebuke, chastisement and persecution to His children (Hebrews 12) to grow them into maturity; and I am to be perfectly content with only food and raiment (1 Tim. 6:8); so, ultimately, my job is to be obedient and trust in God completely, knowing that He knows what is best for me as His child. So whatever comes my way, it is for my good; and I can have peace in that.

I now look back to the "Egypt" from which God has called us to separate as His children, and the "what-ifs" are much scarier to me now if I think of returning to "Egypt" and trusting in man and its systems rather than God.

Our community has been going through the book of Isaiah recently, and I have been soberly struck by the number of verses in Isaiah and Psalms that talk about trusting in Egypt (the world and its systems) vs. God:

Isaiah 30:1-3: "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth: to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion."

Isaiah 31:1: "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!"

Isaiah 31:3: "Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is helped shall fall down, and they all shall fail together."

Psalm 20:7-8: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright."

Psalm 118:8-9: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes."

In my firsthand experience of living in the world and depending on its systems for my security, and now living outside the world's systems in direct dependence upon God for my sustenance, I believe it has become almost impossible in our time to stay in the world and walk hand in hand with it everyday and not be taken into its trust and look to it for security (ie: grocery stores, city water, grid electricity, health care, money, etc.) and thereby not to the God of Israel who is the same yesterday, today and forever. And if I ask myself in which situation God glorifies Himself more, and in which situation my faith is grown more, and where I am drawn closer to God, there is no question. My job is to be obedient to how God has commanded me to live, and He will handle the rest. I pray the Lord continue to turn my face towards Him alone and trust in Him completely.

Susan

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW! Very very good. Thank you. I am always interested in the spiritual side of your journey in TX. Have a blessed Sabbath, once again. We look forward to seeing you during Rancfest.

Kris

The Haltermans said...

Thank you for this! I have been reading your blog for a while, dont ask me how I came across it :) But I live in in the outskirts of Fort Worth so somehow searching Texas and living off the land... who knows. This post was exactly what i needed to hear. I am pregnant with my 3rd child and have been feeling the nerves of a 3rd delivery. I have had 2 previous homebirths, but somehow that fear of what if just creeps in without warning. What a wonderful scriptural reminder of where my faith and hope should always be focused! On a side note, thanks for the info on the solar dehydrator. My father in law is almost finished with mine!
Blessings,
Leah

David and Susan Sifford said...

Kris,

Thank you for reading the blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it. We're all very excited to see you all at Ranchfest, Lord willing. It is right around the corner!!

Leah,

Thank you, also, for reading our blog. I'm am so thankful to God that He has chosen to encourage you through this blog post and I pray for a smooth and healthy remainder of your pregnancy and delivery of your child according to God's will. May His graces and mercies be with you and your family. And I hope you enjoy your food dehydrator - that's exciting! Thanks again.

Susan

TEAM HALL said...

Ohhhh Susan, that was beautifully written!!! You made me all weepy!
Thank you for posting this...
Cath

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journeys of late, Susan; for sharing about your growth, studies and convictions about "National v.s. Spiritual" Israel, and about not looking back to Egypt, but depending solely on God. Praise God for His protections, and provisions for both of you these past years; as you've both journeyed forward according to His Will and timing.

Though only on a small scale by comparison, I only get true fulfillment in the obedience I am able to complete due to Gods providence. Just now it's from growing by Gods grace, my own raspberries, melons, corn, tomatoes, beans, broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, etc., that I'm harvesting off this 1/2 acre; with my thoughts/desires being having chickens, gathering eggs, feeding herds, milking, butchering my own meat, making my own cheese, etc.. Since there are other areas of obedience God has called me to for now; some obedience may be a few years away yet; but my prayer is for a full submission to be possible soon. All in God's timing and according to His will.

God has been gracious to connect me with an Amish family from whom we can get raw milk, eggs, beef etc. for now; about which both my son and husband are enthused and in approval. We still need to make our first trip to their farm about an hour away. Milk and eggs are possible right away; with cheese making cultures in wait here already; but our freezers need emptying a bit yet before we share a full beef with two other interested families.

I'm re-studying Isaiah/listening to Michaels recordings of it now too. Yes very convicting and comforting at the same time.

Due to electrical outages of late here; our son, my husband and I have seriously discussed solar panels for our southfacing roof. I've tried to convince Jeff to create catchwater systems for a few years now; perhaps the recent outages will convince him the project would be very worthwhile. I am capable; due to your generous pictures/instructions; and with Gods help/provisions; to follow through on my own on with at least the roofline catchwaters, so need to get the materials and move ahead with them, Lord willing.

Thank you for all the Scriptural reminders of Gods commands for His people. Praise God for all He's done to separate you only unto Himself! Thanks for this blog entry, Susan.

Beth

Michael Bunker said...

Susan,

Wow. I am teary eyed. Seriously. Excellent work, and a great encouragment.

Your friend,

Michael

debylin said...

Susan, thank you for your encouraging words. I to am learning to trust in the Lord for all things. It not always an easy transition mentally but the Lord is faithful to continue to teach us and grow us up. Also thankyou for being a friend and for your honesty.
Debylin