The Beauty of His Story: Bondage and Freedom

Photo by Trevor Leyenhorst (Used via Creative Commons)

How many of you have watched the movie “The Ten Commandments”?

If your family was anything like mine, you probably gathered around the TV to watch it when one of the major networks aired it every year at Easter. I’m still not sure if it was the thrill of watching the movie or getting to stay up past my bedtime, but it was always a much anticipated event.

The story of the exodus, the moment when God freed Israel from slavery to Egypt, is perhaps one of the greatest moments in God’s story. It’s quite the epic story complete with burning bushes, an evil king, plagues, and the parting of the Red Sea. It’s a story of God coming through and delivering His people from bondage.

Fear Leads to Oppression

I find the beginning of this story intriguing. Famine in Canaan (the Promised Land) drives Jacob and his family to Egypt. Because Joseph (one of Jacob’s sons) is in a position of power, Jacob’s family is able to settle in Egypt, finding provision and protection. This provision and protection allows for the birth of many children and grandchildren, and so the nation of Israel becomes “extremely powerful” (Exodus 1:7). Eventually, Joseph’s generation dies and a new king comes to power who knows nothing about Joseph or his legacy. He sees the Israelites as a threat: “Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more.” (Exodus 1:9-10, NLT)

Because of their fear, the Egyptians begin to oppress and eventually enslave the Israelites. Egypt decides that whips and chains and ruthless demands are the answer, the way to keep Israel from fighting against them. And it works (until God steps in). In all the time the Israelites are slaves, they never seek freedom on their own. They cry out to God and wait for a deliverer.

Satan is Afraid of You

In the same way that Egypt seeks to limit Israel’s power through bondage and slavery, Satan seeks to limit your power through bondage to anything and everything but God. Much like the Philistines who sought to remove Samson’s strength so they could tie him up (Judges 16:5), Satan wants to tie us down and subdue us so we can’t accomplish what God has purposed for our lives. He does this by leading us into slavery to a number of things:

  • Sin: “You let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin.” (Romans 6:19, NLT) A few verses later, Paul talks about the shame that comes as a result. We sin; we feel ashamed; we sin some more; we feel more ashamed. It’s a never-ending cycle that leads us deeper into bondage, fashioning chains we could never hope to break.
  • False gods: “Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist.” (Galatians 4:8, NLT) We worship all kinds of things instead of God: financial security, entertainment, relationships, etc. We decide these things are more important than God or can provide better than He can. So we become slaves to them, seeking to serve them so they will be good to us.
  • Whatever controls you: “For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” (2 Peter 2:19b, NLT) What controls you? Fear? Money? Lust? Food? Your emotions? Whatever it is, you are a slave to it.

When we are slaves, we lose the ability to be what God created us to be. We are restrained by the ropes and chains that bind us. We are locked in prison cells, unable to effectively love and serve the people around us. It’s exactly what Satan wants. And he’s pretty good at making it happen.

The Time of the Lord’s Favor Has Come

Fortunately, the story does not end with us stuck in slavery. Eventually, God sent a deliverer to Israel and led them out of Egypt, out of slavery and into freedom. He has done the same for us.

Jesus came to set us free. It’s part of His mission statement, one of the main objectives of His time on earth.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
(Luke 4:18-19, NLT, emphasis added)

In fact, freedom is such an integral part of Jesus’ ministry that it gets mentioned twice! We can’t truly have a relationship with God until we’ve been set free, until the chains are broken and the prison door is opened.

So how do we get freedom? By believing we can have it through Jesus. When we spend time in His Word, we come to know the truth and the truth sets us free. The truth is this: through His death and resurrection, Jesus bought our freedom. All we have to do is ask and He will break our chains and unlock our prison doors.

After that, it’s up to us to choose to live in our freedom by getting up and walking away from the sin and the false gods and the things that control us (Galatians 5:1 and 5:13). We won’t be perfect at it. We won’t be slaves to sin anymore (Romans 6:22), but we will still sin. There will be a lot of stumbling and falling. But there will always be grace because freedom does not require our perfection; Jesus’ perfection is enough. And because of that grace we can continue to put one foot in front of the other, walking in freedom toward God and away from sin.

That is the Good News: No matter what sins created the links in the chains that have kept you in bondage, Jesus is still extending to you the opportunity to be free. Take it. And make Satan afraid of you once more.

What do you need Jesus to set you free from?

About Katie Mumper

Writer. Teacher. Lover of Jesus, music, books.
This entry was posted in Bible, Blog, The Beauty of His Story and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Beauty of His Story: Bondage and Freedom

  1. Pingback: The Beauty of His Story: Death & Life | Beauty Restored

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