Out of Slavery

Slavery is a reproach to God’s people. They are to exercise dominion under God, not be dominated by servants of foreign gods. But to escape slavery, men must switch allegiances. They must make a covenant with the God of freedom. That first generation [of Hebrews coming out of Egypt] made their covenant, but they barely believed in its God or its terms. They were still mental slaves. They still clung to the supposed benefits of the bureaucratic welfare State. They still hesitated to exercise dominion. God pulled them out of Egypt’s welfare State, but He did not pull the welfare State mentality out of them. The forty years of wandering slowly pulled the next generation away from the mental chains that bound their fathers… If there has been any universal religion in the second half of the twentieth century, it has been the religion of the bureaucratic welfare State.[1]

Exodus is a very important Old Testament analogy for the redemption that would be accomplished through Jesus Christ. The point of Moses’ Exodus was that the people of God could get out of Egypt and serve God whole-heartedly, without Pharoah’s slavery.

Immediately after the Exodus God graciously gave His people His law (Ex.20), so that they now had the means to begin a process of complete social reconstruction, according to His Word. God expected them to be able to live and prosper, totally dependent on Him.

It’s very easy for us to be critical of the first generation that emerged from the slavery of Egypt. But we’d better be careful, lest we open our mouth in haste: are we any better? Are we any less dependent in our attitudes today, that that generation was?

Every Australian Christian educational institution that I know, is dependent on government money to survive. And that money always comes with a bookful of conditions. These institutions would no doubt respond, “well, governments tax people and give money to schools. We Christians pay our taxes- we should be able to get something back, just like everyone else.”

But isn’t it interesting: God in the Bible never gave government any role in the education of children, but we in the Church have gone along with the System for 150 years, and have now become its docile, house-trained slaves.

Hundreds of years after the Exodus, God spoke to Israel about the dangers of returning to Egypt:

Woe to the rebellious children, declares the Lord, Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharoah and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharoah will be your shame and the shelter of Pharoah will be your humiliation (Isa.30:1-3).

We’ve been so conditioned by our present culture and the weakness of the Church, that we frequently refuse to look “outside the box.” Cultural boxes are generally constructions of men, not God. God’s people have always been required to look outside the box. They had to, the night before they left Egypt, when they took the Passover (Ex.12).

They had to, the day that John confronted them declaring that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Mat.3:10).

They had to, when Jesus warned them, “Why do you transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Mk.15:3)

They had to, when “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of sickness among the people” (Mat.4:23).

They had to, when the paralytic “got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, ‘we have never seen anything like this’” (Mk.2:12).

Not everyone wanted to look outside the box in Jesus’ day. The chief priests and Pharisees said, “if we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away our place and our nation” (Jn.11:48). They had a vested interest in the maintenance of the status quo, so Jesus was a threat. Has the modern Church done the same?

We’re going to have to make some very serious choices both in Australia, and in the rest of the world. Is what we are doing as Christian people (both in education, health and in many other aspect of what we do) really glorifying God, or have we (like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day) settled into a status quo position of slavery and unbelief, which is really an affront to our Saviour the Kings of Kings, Jesus Christ the Lord?

Conclusion:                                                                                                                            

The apostle Paul commanded the Galatians, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal.5:1). Most of the modern Church has essentially done what Paul warned about, and now we’re slaves.

But now it’s time: we had better make every effort to align ourselves with Jesus, cutting all of the illegitimate ties that bind us to government (especially the money), determined to walk in the liberty of Jesus Christ.

Will that be painful? Of course. Will it take time? Yes. But when we’re through, we’ll really taste His freedom, as He promised (Jn.8:30-36).

Do you want to be part of the problem, or part of the solution?



[1] North, G., “Moses and Pharoah,” 1986, p.279, 280.

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