Thursday, September 10, 2009
Mid-Day Devotion 9/10/09
“Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour.”
Exodus 1:8, and 11-13
Do we truly and rightly value the freedom we have been given as a gift from God, granted by His love and His grace in our lives? Do we cherish it, do we hold it up with awe? Do we truly take the time to understand the true nature of it in our lives and knowing that it could be a fleeting thing, quick to crumble in our hands as brutality and pain sets in and unrighteous men seek to subjugate for their own power and glory, using tyranny and oppression as the weapons to enslave men and women, robbing them of everything, including their dignity and their pride?
For the children of Israel, they could not have foreseen the days that would come. For generations they had lived and prospered, they had multiplied in the lands of Egypt as they made their homes there, finding themselves no longer wandering amidst the vast, wide and open deserts that their fathers had known. There wasn’t a single one left who could or did remember the days of Abraham and Isaac, none who remembered first hand Israel, and the return of Joseph as he brought his father and his brothers to this land where he had found himself, by the grace of God, elevated to the court of the Pharaohs. Ages had passed and one generation faded to another until this had become the only land, the only home they had ever known.
Then would rise a king who did not know Joseph, who had forgotten about his loyalty to the royal court and to his fathers, and the freedom and the peace that the children of Israel had known for so long would quickly crumble as he gripped them tight by the neck and chained them in the dark bondage of slavery. Liberty was fleeting and all that would be known now was the harsh, hard sting of the taskmasters whip as it cracked against their backs as they were forced to build the cities and the monuments to Pharaoh. Life no longer held value, it was regarded as cheap, as they were treated with less dignity than the cattle of the fields, and led like lambs unto the slaughter. Worked to death, when they were no longer capable, no longer able to do the tasks they were once capable of, their bodies bruised and broken, they would be pushed harder until the life was drained from them.
But then, the harsh, hard reality of this existence, filled with sin and iniquity, filled with pain and sorrow, is that freedom and liberty, it is a gift from God, not a guarantee. With all the suffering and the hurt in this world, with all of the evil deeds of wicked men who work their vile ways, it must be valued and cherished, but more than anything else it must be prayed for as we call out to the Lord that He sets the poor and the afflicted, the ransomed and the captives free. It must be fought for as we seek to work God’s will, understanding that it’s His will that justice and liberty, freedom and equality will reign over the lives of the people.
Throughout the world today we see the effects of chaos as tyranny and oppression, as slavery and bondage is used as a tool by evil men of brutal transgression... evil men who remember not the Lord or His ways, who fear and hate people and, out of that fear and hatred, subjugates them for their own ambitions, wealth and political purposes. It robs life of its value and its dignity, as it destroys the body and crushes the spirit.
Yet the Lord is clear, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
God’s desire is that we work towards freedom, that we work towards liberty, that we hear the calling of His Holy Spirit and that we strive towards the cause of the oppressed and subjugated, never letting slavery and captivity reign, making excuses as to why we ignore the cries of those held in dark bondage. God’s desire is that we so value and cherish the cause of the free that we dedicate our lives to deeper, more abiding love and compassion for our brothers and sisters, that we never falter in our steps as we seek to bring them once more to breathe the blessed air of liberty. In mercy our devotion must be to see the pain inflicted even if done in the dark places hidden from our site, to hear the cries, even if the sound is muffled by the lonesome spots where these souls are kept and to push forward to the cause of justice, if it is just even in our prayers, as we uplift their cause and their plight to Him.
Never let yourself be so deceived into thinking there is nothing you can do or that you are doing enough. Listen for the voice of God calling unto you, telling you what more can be done and seek out His wisdom and truth knowing that He has more for each of us to do. Know that amidst the struggles of this world we are warriors for the Prince of Peace, that Messiah who set captivity captive and ransomed those even most lost to the bondage of sin. As imitators of Christ our goal must be the same, to be so moved by the Spirit that we are used to do more amidst the sorrow and the suffering of those who have felt their freedom robbed from them that we are always taking up this cause in our lives.
Let not those who know not the Lord and His people dominate the hearts and the souls, the bodies and the minds of God’s children, but look to the Lord as a God of Deliverance always contending with the cause of His people. Just as He sent Moses to bring the children of Israel out of the hands of Pharaoh, liberating them from the whip and the chains, so too shall He deliver now, amidst the present age, even when the power and the forces of those who use such vile means seems to be without question. A God of mercy, compassion and love who is always standing beside His children, caring for them as only a Father can as He protects and shelters the with His holy hand, He shall not, He will not let such unrighteousness stand for all ages. Take hope in this because this is the blessed assurance, the true and faithful promise He has delivered unto His children, and one we should hold high for the world to see and hear and know as we cling to it in steadfast faith, through this generation and in all generations.
Lord, grant this truth unto us all.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.