by Lisa Huddleston
“Egypt will no longer be a source of confidence for the people of Israel but will be a reminder of their sin in turning to her for help” (Ezek. 29:16).
From its very beginning, Israel had the bad habit of turning to Egypt when she was in trouble. Famines, wars, and even rumored threats—any, if not all, concerns sent the Israelites running into the arms of this familiar and dangerous neighbor. It wasn’t a healthy relationship. Ezekiel writes regarding Egypt, “You have been a staff of reed for the house of Israel. When they grasped you with their hands, you splintered and you tore open their shoulders; when they leaned on you, you broke and their backs were wrenched.” Egypt made a rotten crutch, but it was still a crutch. And sometimes a rotten crutch in the hand is better than two in the bush … or something like that. Egypt was clearly Israel’s default setting in times of trouble.
Now we’re talking. We know all about default settings today. In fact, when I started to write this article, I had to change several of the settings on my word processing program. I don’t want to use Calibri which is the automatic font setting. I like Times New Roman. And I want to use the “No Spacing” setting that doesn’t automatically set up my format—again not the default setting. These choices may not be the default settings for my word processor, but they are the default settings for Lisa Huddleston. They have become the conscious choices I make every time I sit down to write.
But, oh boy, do I have some other default settings that are real doozies. When I am stressed out or feeling anxious, I want to sleep. When I’m bored, I want a snack. When I’m faced with a new opportunity or challenge, I default to panic and lots and lots of text messaging with supportive friends. And on and on it goes. Not always the best crutches, but ones that I use with great and back wrenching frequency. And like Israel’s running to Egypt, these default settings or splintered crutches are not only lame and ultimately ineffective, they are sometimes detrimental to my relationship with the Lord.
What harm does it do to take a nap or eat a snack or text a friend? What’s so bad about any of those crutches? Nothing on the surface, but everything in the heart. Why isn’t my default setting to turn to Jesus? Why isn’t my first thought to run to Him in prayer? It’s a discouraging realization.
I could say it’s not my fault, but as in any habit, I do have a choice, and I do know what I’m doing. Maybe not instantly, but once I’ve wasted time sleeping or snacking or texting and find that I still feel anxious then I know that I’ve been duped. Those crutches are rotten, splintered, and broken. I know where to lean—on the Solid Rock that won’t let me fall. And that’s why I’m working on changing those default settings in my life one choice at a time. Just as in my writing, I am in control of my decisions, and I am responsible for the final results. And I choose Jesus, because He first chose me.
What are your automatic settings? Where do you run when illness, financial worries, or bad relationships strike? Do you high tail it back to Egypt or do you run to the Rock? If Jesus isn’t your default, maybe like me it’s time for you to change your settings once and for all. He alone is our true source of confidence, and He alone can set us free. What’s your default?