Summary: If you want to be truly free, don’t trust in your idols; instead, trust in the blood of the Lamb, and get up and get out of your bondage.
Tony Campolo tells the story of a town where all the residents are ducks. Every Sunday the ducks waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church. They waddle into the sanctuary and squat in their proper pews. The duck choir waddles in and takes its place, and then the duck minister comes forward and opens the duck Bible. He reads to them: “Ducks! God has given you wings! With wings you can fly! With wings you can mount up and soar like eagles. No walls can confine you! No fences can hold you! You have wings. God has given you wings, and you can fly like birds!”
All the ducks shout, “Amen!” AND THEN THEY ALL WADDLE HOME. (Tony Campolo, Let Me Tell You a Story, Word, 2000; www.PreachingToday.com)
They don’t really believe they can fly! Oh, they enjoy hearing sermons about their freedom, but somehow they’re not all that convinced.
It seems to me that a lot of God’s people live the same way. They listen to sermons about their salvation and freedom in Christ, but they live like they’re still in bondage to things like bitterness, lust, or fear. The say “amen” when the preacher says they can fly, but they continue to waddle around in a complacent mediocrity, accepting their own sinful attitudes and actions as the norm.
My dear friends, why do so many continue to live this way? Do you want to be truly free? Then I invite you to turn with me to Exodus 11, Exodus 11, where we see how God set his ancient people free after they had been slaves for 430 years in Egypt.
Exodus 11:1 Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. (NIV)
But they won’t go away empty-handed.
Exodus 11:2-3 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.) (NIV)
God will take care of his people, providing them with everything they need when the Egyptians lose just about everything they have. With that assurance, Moses goes to Pharaoh one more time.
Exodus 11:4-7 So Moses said [to Pharaoh], “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. (NIV)
Israel’s God will protect His people, but the Egyptian gods will be impotent to protect the Egyptians. The goddess Isis, wife and sister of Osiris, supposedly protected children, but this last plague will demonstrate her total incompetence. The Egyptians will see that the god they trusted to protect their children is a total fraud. Then…
Exodus 11:8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. (NIV)
Even though Pharaoh has stubbornly refused to let God’s people go, his own officials will beg them to leave!
Exodus 11:9-10 The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country. (NIV)
That’s so God could demonstrate His power over all the Egyptian gods who were nothing but worthless idols. So…
DON’T TRUST IN IDOLS.
Don’t depend on worthless trinkets. Don’t rely on impotent icons. The Egyptians trusted in their gods, and those gods failed to save them. And so it is when any of us trust in anyone or anything else but YHWH, the Lord of the Bible. Those things will fail us as well.
In his book, The Names of God, Ken Hemphill tells the story of a woman who made a frantic 911 call, bringing police to her home. She had only been able to communicate that she needed help and was being killed. When police arrived, they found a bloody knife beside her lifeless body on the kitchen floor. Blood was spattered across the room, yet police found not even a single cut or puncture wound on her body. Then they noticed a trail of blood leading into the next room and followed it. There, they found a large dying boa constrictor.