The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. It was a hard life. The Egyptians were cruel and heartless masters. So the Israelites called out for God to rescue them. God heard their cry and sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt. They were promised a land of milk and honey but the journey was going to be hard.
Now the promises of God are sure and certain, but the road to receiving these promises can be difficult and often terrifying. For the Israelites, the journey to the promise land was hard. Their leader, Moses had to constantly deal with people who wanted to go back. These people would gladly have traded their freedom for melons, cucumbers, and safety. Because of the ones who wanted to go back, a whole generation of Israelites died without ever receiving the Promise of God.
In the Gospel of John, you can read of a time when Jesus had many followers. They followed Him because of the free food and healthcare that he provided. They also followed Him because of the miracles He performed. But then Jesus quit performing and in John 6, His teaching became difficult. They began to realize that following Jesus was going to be a dangerous journey. Many of them decided that the promise of God was going to cost them too much so they went back to their old life.
God has a promise for those who follow Jesus. It is a promise of salvation and eternal life. The road we travel when we follow Jesus is often intimidating and toilsome. Many people start after Jesus but fall away when His teaching demands they take up their cross and follow Him. Those who go back from following Jesus will never experience the promises of God, but for the ones who persist there is a crown laid up in Glory.
Jesus is the way. Following Him is not easy. But when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we need not be afraid. His rod of protection and staff of guidance will give us comfort. One day we will lie down in the green pastures of His love and dwell in the presence of our God forever. This is the promise of God that will be received by the ones who follow Jesus and never go back.
Douglas & Deborah Huff
From Down Where the Pavement Ends