Summary: Deliverance. We talk about it. We ask for it. We demand it. We know we need it. However, deliverance is often accompanied by dilemmas! Are we willing to hold on for freedom?
Pt. 1 - Desperate
The load has become too heavy! When a world has become siloed by sickness! The load has become too heavy! When a nation whose pledge boldly states that we believe in liberty and justice for all instead sees vigilantes (some wearing a uniform and others in stolen clothes) killing, maiming, and destroying all because of a deep rooted hate that has yet to heal. The load has become too heavy! When a booming economy has been brought to its knees and doors are closed, dreams are broken and hope is lost. The load has become too heavy! When the unborn or those born long ago are left unprotected or left alone to suffer. I stand here today with my shoulders hunched. My back aches. My heart is burdened. My brow is furrowed. The load has become too heavy.
In moments like this a word surfaces in my mind. In the chaotic seconds of each day this word pushes its way into my spirit. It is the word . . . deliverance! We need to be delivered!
We need someone to make a stand and declare with authority and power . . . Let my people go! Where are those who won't settle for safety or slavery? Where are the men and women who won't take short excursions into freedom only to return to chains of hate, anger and bondage? Where are those who have not only experienced freedom but have the ability to lead others to taste its sweet flavor?
I submit to you that bondage is common. Most of us are bound in some area of our life. Most of us spend a good deal of time focusing on and seeking deliverance from habits, sickness, relationships, etc. And because bondage is common the cry and plea for deliverance is not uncommon! However, I believe the issue we face is that although the cry and plea for deliverance is common the lack of cooperation with deliverance is equally as common.
We cry for deliverance, but deliverance is often messy and deliverance is almost always accompanied by dilemmas that we must be willing to embrace and navigate in order to experience freedom! I want us to be free, but I also want us to understand what we must do to be free!
It isn't that deep into the narrative that the heavy weight of bondage is discovered. The load had become too heavy. 430 years of slavery. The load had become too heavy. Harsh slave masters had become harsher. The load had become too heavy. Long days in the hot sun. No breaks. No rest. No mercy. The account demonstrates another moment where the burden has become too difficult to carry and once strong shoulders are stooped almost to the breaking point.
Meet me in . . .
Text: Exodus 1:12-14
. . . so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. (and they cried out to be rescued from their oppression. Their cry for help ascended to God. And He was moved to take action.)
I don’t have time to mess with this, but the place God uses to rescue you can turn into a trap if you stay too long. The people He brought in for a season can seduce you into destruction if you try to elevate them into lifers when they were only there to teach you a lesson.
What I want to you to see is this . . . The first deliverance dilemma is that
Deliverance requires desperation.
Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning! 430 years of bondage led to their desperate cry for help. Deliverance requires desperation. David hearing the defiance of a blasphemous giant cries out in desperation . . . is there not a cause? Elijah throws down the gauntlet to a backslidden/lukewarm/apathetic people and challenges there with "how long will you halt between two opinions?" People who see the condition and situation and are moved by a desperate desire for change. People who refuse to back down and accept that it has to always be like it has always been!
My question to you is where is our desperation? Have we become too comfortable with status quo? Have we become too comfortable with just good enough? Have we become comfortable with survival? Have we become comfortable with less than? Almost whole? Almost free? Almost well? Almost revived? Almost on fire? Where are those who will cry out to God? Where are those who will say if we go, we may die but if we stay here, we will surely die? Where are those who press though the crowd desperate to get a hold of just his garment? Where are those who will sit on the side of the road and refuse to stop crying out to God even when the majority tells them to be quiet? Where are those who are being swallowed for the last time by the waters of fear and anxiety and cry out for the hand of the deliverer?