Summary: True freedom comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Free At Last!”
It didn’t matter how diligently he worked – the slave driver would still crack the whip on his back. Under the pain, his muscles always stiffened, ready to rebel. But he never did – because he cherished life more than death, even harsh life, he always kept on making the bricks.
It was with a mixture of fear, hatred, sorrow, and utter agony that Ruel carried the tender body of his precious, innocent, newborn son to the bank of the Nile River. With a prayer for forgiveness and strength, with every fiber of his being screaming, “No!” he obediently tossed his son and heir into the water to drown.
Ruby’s head was pounding again. It always did after a fight with her mother. It’s not that she wanted to fight – they just did. It had become part of the family routine. And sick though it made her, she couldn’t seem to change anything. Somehow her family had changed and Ruby was now too tired, hurt, frustrated, and defeated to try any more. Yet she didn’t know what else to do.
John didn’t know why he had done it. He knew it was wrong – he didn’t want to do it. It was like a voice from inside told him to, or some inner power overcame him. And his friends were taunting him…Maybe he was just afraid not to do it. But now the arrest was so embarrassing.
People in bondage, trapped under some despotic authority; people enslaved by powers greater than themselves; people defeated by life, with no apparent way out; people who long to be free. The century does not matter, nor does age or race or pedigree or creed. People of all stripes – including us – long to be able to shout, “Free at Last! Free at Last!”
As an example of just such a people, we have read from the book of Exodus. In Chapter 1, beginning in verse 8, we see a nation suffering in A PERIOD OF SEVERE DEPRIVATION. Let’s frame the picture. Israel had moved into Egypt under the influence and leadership of Joseph, who had won the favor of the King and all of Egypt. Because of Joseph the nation of Israel experienced abundant blessings and growth and Egypt prospered. They were secure in this foreign land. But then Joseph died and now years had passed – a new King had come to power. He did not know Joseph or Joseph’s God. He was filled with A SENSE OF FEAR. He was fearful of the rapid growth of the Israelite community, so he initiated some drastic measures. First, he imposed even harsher slavery and working conditions upon the men. But the number of Israelites kept increasing. So next the King commanded the midwives to kill all newborn Hebrew boys. The midwives quietly and secretly refused. Finally, in a move of shear fear and desperation, the King ordered all male babies be thrown into the Nile to drown. The Israelites had no control over their lives – they were, indeed, in severe deprivation. They longed to be free – but how could it ever happen? Who could ever turn things around? In I Corinthians 10:11 Paul wrote, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us…”
So fast forward to today, where many people in our world still long to be free – from despotic governments and leaders, from evil rulers, from appalling poverty, from anti-Christian soldiers, from deathly hunger – and the list goes on. Yet it’s not just ‘out there’ in ‘that’ world – many worshiping here today LONG TO BE FREE. What are the clay and bricks that hold you in bondage? For what freedom are you longing? Perhaps you want to be free from your sin, from your starvation for acceptance, your thirst for approval, your bitterness towards your boss, your anger towards your parents, your hatred towards someone who’s hurt you, your coldness to your spouse, your penchant for perfection, your incessant drive to work and please, your tendency to follow the crowd no matter what, your broken relationships, your regret over things said or done or left unsaid or undone, your unwillingness to forgive someone who has sinned against you. We are slaves, in bondage to anyone or anything that controls our lives or claims our top priority. Anything or anyone that masters us enslaves us. And we long to be free at last. But we are trapped. We become convinced, like Israel, that there is no way out.
This only sets the stage for God to act. As we return to the Exodus account we learn that God made the PROVISION OF A STRONG DELIVERER. God knew that the longing of the Israelites could only be met through a strong deliverer. And GOD ALWAYS HAS ONE IN MIND! Moses was born and divinely protected so he could lead his people out of slavery into a new beginning in God’s Promised Land. God, in fact, has a habit of miraculously birthing deliverers! Consider: Isaac was born divinely to a 99 year-old Abraham and a 90 year-old Sarah – so God could continue the divine line of Abraham; Samson was divinely birthed to a sterile mother so he could be the deliverer who brought ruin upon Israel’s enemies; Samuel the prophet was divinely born to a permanently barren Hannah so he could become the priest through whom God would establish his spiritual kingdom.