The third chapter of Exodus ends with these words, “…and you shall empty out Egypt.” In Ezekiel 39:10 we find this instruction expanded with explanation: “They will plunder those who had plundered them and despoil those who had despoiled them – the word of the Lord HASHEM / ELOHIM.” Finally, in Exodus 12:36 we find the fulfillment of God’s instruction, “HASHEM gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians and they granted their request so they emptied Egypt.” (all passages quoted from the Artscroll English Tanach, emphasis mine).
We know that this instruction was given to the Israelites just before their exodus from Egypt, and we know that the Israelites were faithful in following the instruction, as their Egyptian captors gave them the riches of their personal possessions and land as they departed. From this Israel was established as a nation of wealth from its very beginning, a blessing of HASHEM drawn from the spoils of those who had enslaved them.
We understand the history of this word, but what does this instruction mean to us today? How is this ancient scripture alive today, and what are we to do about it?
My spirit jumped as I read this passage a few days ago. “You shall empty out Egypt.” Each time I re-read the phrase my spirit jumped again. What was God telling me, and why is this word important to me and so many others today? As I meditated on this passage over the next few days God revealed its truth for modern man.
We have all been enslaved by various things. For some of us the experience has been mild. We’ve suffered no addictions, our families are whole and loving, our place in life seems secure and safe. Sure, we occasionally do something we know we shouldn’t, but they tend to be small things or personality characteristics. We think of these as us just being “the way we are.” Others, however, suffer deeper and darker realities. Addictions to drugs and alcohol, eating disorders, pornography, adultery, abandonment, lives of crime and hatred; these are tough circumstances. God’s Word has the same answer for all: “empty out Egypt.” His love redeems us, but we have work to do. It is the work of emptying ourselves of the sin, unforgiveness, doubt, and unworthiness of our lives. These are the things that capture our souls and rob us of the fullness of life God intends for each of us.
The work of emptying out our personal Egypt’s is the work of cleaning out the rubble and hubris of our lives. Our hearts must be changed, our desires cleansed, and our walk straightened. There can be no compromise, no “that doesn’t really matter,” or “God doesn’t care about that.” It all matters, and He cares. So where does one begin? There is only one starting point, our relationship with Father God. Developing intimacy there leads to intimacy in all other righteous relationships, and the desire to please Him above all else leads us to want to rid ourselves of all unrighteousness. We must purge our heart of all sin. How does one do that? Only by immersing oneself in the righteousness of Father God. In Him no unrighteousness can exist. Live in Him, breathe His breath, and allow Him to show you the way. Empty out your Egypt and live a life full of blessings and love. Enter your very own Promised Land.