by Moshe Morrison, Teaching Elder, Tents of Mercy
Israel's Escape from Egypt
(Providence Lithograph Co. 1896 - 1913)
God frequently identifies himself in the Torah as "the God who brought us out of the land of Egypt."
Freedom is being released from bondage, and bondage is anything that keeps us from being who God made us to be. The list would include things like sins, habits, lust, addictions, faulty thinking, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, demons, the flesh, the world, etc. We can all write our own list and it would include so-called good things as well as bad. We can put ourselves in bondage, and we can also be put there by others.
When Israel came out of Egypt, it is clear from their responses to crisis situations that they were not yet free. Real freedom is not being controlled by "the list." It is the state of not being impacted by that which is designed to snare us again. We have come out from Egypt, but has Egypt come out of us? Israel left Egypt, but their behavior revealed that Egypt was still in their hearts. They wanted to return. It impacted their minds to such an extent that they remembered the past falsely. They recalled sitting every day "by the Nile on their beach chairs, sipping piña coladas, and eating grilled fish and onions" (Numbers 11:5 paraphrased).
Each time something bad (or challenging) happened, the Israelites forgot what God had done beforehand. That is not freedom. Thinking that their previous position as slaves was better than what they now had, was an even greater bondage.
In Acts 17:28, Saul said to the Athenian philosophers and intellectuals that in God we were to "live and move and have our being." This means walking in such a way that He is the filter through which we see everything, measure everything and respond to everything.
This is real freedom - a place with no room for bondage to get a grip on our thoughts and on our actions. "Do not give the Devil an opportunity" (Ephesians 4:27 NASB) is an exhortation to not allow breaches in relationships with God and men. Unresolved issues are doors for Satan to walk through. In John 14:30, Yeshua said, "The ruler of this world is coming and he has nothing in me."
How is it possible to live like that?
It begins when we recognize our position in Him after our new birth and how we got to that place. Being born again is the individual picture of what happened to the nation collectively in being brought out of Egypt. It is God who delivers - with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. We were rescued - set free not by the arm of flesh but by the hand of God. When we can see the difference between human achievement and those things not made with human hands and truly embrace the latter, we are on our way to living it.
Kingdom of Freedom
In the second chapter of the book of Daniel the king had a dream which greatly troubled him. He demanded of his wise men to tell him the dream and then interpret it. Faced with an impossible task, the lives of the wise men threatened, Daniel requested time to pray. God gave the answers. Daniel gave the glory to God and told the dream and its interpretation. From the vision of the statue in the dream we are given a prophetic picture of earthly kingdoms. The statue represents the elevation of human effort and accomplishment. Earthly kingdoms continue on their prideful way to their ultimate demise. In the end it is the kingdom of God that prevails over all, destroying the greatest empires and emperors. Walking in this kingdom as an ever present reality is true freedom. This is why Daniel could flow through his 70 years of Babylonian exile undisturbed by lions' dens, jealous rivals, non kosher food, angelic visitations, spiritual warfare, dreams and visions, etc. His external circumstances did not control him. He had been taken as a boy captive to Babylon, yet was a totally free man.
The stone cut without hands in Daniel 2:34-35 stands in contrast to the statue. The splendid statue represents the kingdoms of man. The statue is very humanly attractive. It impresses and controls those who are not free.
The stone points us to Yeshua. "He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to him" (Isaiah 53:2 NASB). Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Islam are all to be shattered and scattered, but the Kingdom of God fills the earth forever. When we are not in bondage, we are not intimidated on the grand scale nor in everyday life.
When the Son of God makes us free we are free indeed.
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