Remember Moses? He calls the nation of Israel to leave the slavery in Egypt and move to a place God has set aside for them. It's a callback to the promised land given to Abraham hundreds of years previous. It's easy for us to wonder why they were so hesitant to leave Egypt. Weren't they slaves? And why, when wandering in the wilderness (the entire book of Numbers) were they so quick to want to return to the Egyptian whip?
We need to remember where Egypt is and what the topography was really like. The Nile Delta region of Egypt was, and in many ways still is, one of the most fertile areas in the world. God was calling this enslaved nation to leave fertility and move to what? To the desert. They are wandering in this desert for forty years with no real provision of water, no provision of food and no personal ability to provide your daily needs.
God was forcing His people to learn to depend on Him and not on their own ingenuity or strength. He was teaching them that their daily bread would not come from the provision of Egypt, nor from the fruit of their hands, but by the divine provision of God. The real lesson in the desert was to teach them to trust in God alone.
In some ways it was easy for God to get His people out of Egypt, but difficult for God to get Egypt out of His people. (Thank you Rich Ferreira for this quote.) Truthfully, the process was painful, uncomfortable, and as you can see, HOT! God had them in this oppressive environment to teach them how to trust. Can you imagine how the story would be different had they softened their hearts and trusted more quickly?
The point is, God will get our attention. We can willingly submit our hearts to Him and trust Him, or He can walk us into the wilderness. Truthfully, I would like to learn this lesson without the sunburn. Let's be a people who learn the lesson of the wilderness from the people who endured it already. Let's learn to submit to Him and trust Him completely. Even though we may be in green and fertile areas, it is better to be in a parched land with Him and be free than in the abundance of fertility, yet a slave.