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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Egyptian Slave or Slave of God?
Exodus 20:1-6 NLT
Then God gave the people all these instructions : “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me. “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
Are we ever free? Does obligation cease to exist? Can we flout the laws of nature and live? Or are we slaves to pain or passion? Are we always possessed by another? Carefully answer, for do you not desire the commitment and companionship of another? Would you not willingly give your heart to the one you love?
The Israelites were slaves of the Egyptians but God had set them free. And still it seems in chapter 21 of Exodus that the Hebrews themselves had imbibed the elixir of ownership and possession of another human.
We should not wonder at this social structure. I believe that it is too simple to expect that since they've been freed they extend freedom. Far from our human nature, prison populations nearly always develop a strict structured hierarchy that includes servitude. Countries formerly under tyranny are some of the worst offenders when it comes to civil war, unrest and the ruthless struggle for power. It appears that freedom does not beget freedom!
So if we are going to fall prey to a regime, why not willingly serve God. As he set his people free he demonstrated his unparalleled power. But in his protection of his people he demonstrated his unparalleled love.
At this time, in this world, the idea that everyone will be good and can be trusted if they are left to thier own devices is not born out by reality. We love slavery!
So be a slave of God.
This is not just an idea of the age of law. Paul also persuades us to see ourselves as slaves. He evokes the picture of the indentured servant seen in Exodus 21. And like the challenge issued by Joshua 40 years later to God's people, Moses here in Exodus 20 is saying "Choose you this day whom you will serve"
Quit fooling yourself with lies of inate goodness flourishing in the nurture of "complete 'freedom'"!
You will serve a master. Of that you can be sure.
The question is whether your master is as good as God?
Serve the Lord God and live to the fullest!