Setting captives free (1)
For four hundred years the Israelites were enslaved by Egyptian taskmasters who oppressed them and ‘made their lives bitter’ (Exodus 1:14 NIV 2011 Edition). Many of us can relate to their feelings of helplessness when we think about areas in our own lives where we struggle with habits. Whether it’s food, alcohol, drugs, sex, money, or abusive relationships, we’ve all experienced a sense of powerlessness in our repeated attempts for freedom. Failure can produce chronic hopelessness, to the point where you give up trying. Broken and crushed, Israel cried out to the Lord and He responded, ‘I have…seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out…and I am concerned about their suffering’ (Exodus 3:7 NIV 2011 Edition). Notice how God extended compassion towards them: ‘So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into…a land flowing with milk and honey’ (v. 8 NIV 2011 Edition). God came down to bring them up – and He can do the same for you today. Israel’s deliverance called for the slaying of a spotless Passover lamb. They applied its blood to their doorposts and the death angel passed over them. The Bible says, ‘Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed’ (1 Corinthians 5:7 NIV 2011 Edition). Jesus Christ, our sacrificial lamb, shed His blood to set us free from whatever it is that’s enslaving you. What are you struggling with today? You can be released from captivity – not by your own futile efforts – but by trusting in the God who answers the cries of His people.