| Freedom |
31. Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. “Get out!” he ordered. “Leave my people-and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the Lord as you have requested. 32. Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.” 33. All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, “We will all die!”34. The Israelites took their bread dough before yeast was added. They wrapped their kneading boards in their cloaks and carried them on their shoulders. (Exodus 12:31-34)
For nearly 430 years Israel had lived under the bondage of the Egyptians in slavery. It is difficult to imagine the extreme joy for those who suffered generations in bondage to finally hear the words, “Go and worship the Lord as you requested,” from Pharaoh as he conceded to God, setting God’s people free. “Freedom” was finally in their possession to cherish and embrace. Salvation from slavery, suffering, injustice from a harsh ruling master has finally arrived. But what did that really mean? “What was freedom?”
For most of these Israelites, all they have ever known was slavery and hard labor. Most of them had been born into this life of bondage. Freedom was a foreign idea for them, bondage was more of the norm. So you could imagine when they were “freed from” the slavery of Egypt, they had no idea what they were being “freed to.” I think this idea is what many people may be wrestling with in the Christian life. What does it mean to be free in Christ and how do we live out this life of freedom?”
“Go and worship the Lord” Pharaoh said to the Israelites in Exodus 12:31. Finally the chains of slavery had been broken, God heard the distress of His people and He responded with a powerful hand, He set His people free from bondage then, He called them to Himself. The salvation of the Israelites is a picture of the salvation of the Christian. Those who believe in Christ are freed from sin to only be freed to God, to freely enjoy Him in worship. We leave sin behind, to run towards God in worship. We leave a harsh, life-draining, oppressive ruler (sin), to run to a loving, life-giving, merciful Savior. But unfortunately, most of us don’t see our Savior that way. Most of us see God as Pharaoh. We are so used to exhaustively laboring for acceptance that we approach God with the same attitude we approach Pharaoh. Which unfortunately leads us to never enjoying God as we should.
Why do we mistake God for Pharaoh? Why do we treat God’s call to worship as another form of burden to bear? So often we are burdened by the fact that we are not “good enough” or have “done enough” or have sinned too great to which we could never “earn enough” to deserve God’s love or pardon, placing ourselves back into the slavery of religion when God by his grace has set us free in Christ. We have it in our minds that God is only pleased with our unending labor, meanwhile He has set us free from our laboring. So, what does it mean to be free?
To be “free” means we enjoy God. Slavery is what happens when we cease from depending on the miraculous power of grace. Freedom is what we experience when we fully rely on the grace of Christ and enjoy God in worship. The key to freedom is depending on grace, depending on the works that Christ has already accomplished on our behalf which is enough to draw us into a relationship with God where we are no longer entangled in a yoke of religious slavery, constantly trying to earn God’s approval, but we rest in our new status as sons and daughters who are given the freedom to access the presence of the Father and to enjoy Him forever. Go! Be free, worship Him today and forever!
Carly Lundi Interim East Region Pastor, MBC Tysons https://www.mcleanbible.org/