"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. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord." Ez. 19:16
Egypt was a powerful nation. A strategic military partner. Often when Israel was threatened with attack from hostile nations, they would turn to Egypt for military help - much like some nations turn to the USA today. They might ask for direct military help or simply hire a portion of the Egyptian army as mercenaries to strengthen their own ranks. Either way it was the logical and natural thing to do. It was easier to turn to a natural power than to rely on God.
Gone were the "Red Sea" days when Egypt was a despised enemy and oppressor. Now they were friends and allies. Time and politics had changed everything. [Just as Japan went from being a Western enemy in WWII to being an ally today.]
But God was not happy. Egypt was a proud and ungodly nation. They followed and worshipped their own gods. Yet, here were the people of God - whose God was the Creator of the Universe - going to Egypt begging for help. What an insult to the power and glory of God! What a display of lack of faith in the One they said they followed and worshipped. They failed to rely on God - the One Who had done so much for them.
We stand in judgement of them from the safe corridors of history, yet are we so different? Do we rely on God? Realize that these were real and deadly problems that the Israelites faced. Enemy invaders to murder, rape and loot. This is not small stuff. They needed help and they looked around to see what resources they had and what relationships they had to build in order to protect themselves.
How often when we run into difficulties - real difficulties - do we look around for natural solutions? How often do we turn to the ways of the world to achieve our ends no matter how noble or spiritual we may view them. Most people in today's society - including Christians - have been influenced by socialism whether they officially hold the belief or not. Just see how many times when problems crop up in a community or nation the people react with the belief that the government has the answer or the responsibility to provide the answer.
Now I do not mean to say that we do not use the natural means at our disposal. God often uses natural means to accomplish His will; however, we need to keep the following in mind when we desire to rely on God...
1. Always go to God first - believing He has the answer and solution. God should always be first on our list not a desperate last ditch effort when all else has failed. This shows our faith and relationship with God. Like any relationship, it is built over time and mutual experiences. If you have been ignoring God in your daily life and then just turning to Him in emergencies, you may be disappointed. Confidence in God is built daily. Going to God in prayer should be a well-worn path.
2. Be careful who your friends are. While we treat all people with respect, we need to be careful who we develop friendships and alliances with. Some people and organizations may have the same goals on the surface - but their motives are dark or ungodly. If we would have God's help we must be careful who we align ourselves with. Yes, going God's way may cause us to lose battles and appear defeated, but we will win the war in the end. Politicians, for example, who stand for righteousness may indeed be voted out of office, but only God knows the long-term effect their stand will have.
3. Maintaining integrity and right standing with God is more important than achieving short-term goals. [Anything in this world is ultimately a short-term goal]. I realize that we should not be proud and standoffish trying to do everything ourselves. Some Christian groups cut themselves off because they cannot agree on every fine point with someone else. This is a trick of the enemy. If we can agree on the foundational principles and have common goals we should be able to work together for the success of the Kingdom of God regardless of differences on other points. That is not to say that they other points are not important only that they should not be used as a point of division.
We must learn to rely on God alone even as we use the natural and supernatural ways He puts at our disposal.