“That very day the LORD freed the Israelites from the land of Egypt, troop by troop.” ~Exodus 12:51
What day did God free you? Can you look back and mark a specific day and place and time? The Israelites can and every year they celebrate that day lest the forget the power and majesty of their God and whose hand it was that truly saved them. After residing in a foreign land for 430 years God’s people were heading home, to a land of milk and honey. But first, they would make a pit stop in the wilderness that would be the reshaping of their lives.
After living so many years in bondage and captivity, under the lordship of their enslaver, the Israelites had grown accustomed to their slavery. It was rooted deep into their being and became their identity. On the day God freed them there were so many weeds of lies embedded in their hearts it was hard to distinguish what was true and what was false. Though their captors no longer physically stood over them in the wilderness, their words of deceit and oppression still spoke haunting whispers in their thoughts.
They didn’t know how to live in freedom and release themselves. Patterns of their slavery ran deep and when the life of freedom didn’t look as they expected they kept trying to go back. At least in Egypt they had food to eat. At least in Egypt they had a place to rest their head. At least in Egpyt, they had a quota of bricks to define their life. At least they knew what to expect. They ran back to the idols they could fashion for themselves. Slavery was a life of control, but who was really in control?
They traveled through the wilderness for 40 years, yes as punishment for their sin, for not glorifying God for who he was and is, but I also believe that God left them there for so long so he could weed out the lies of slavery and remind them of their identity in freedom. Yes, the life of control seems attractive. The great enslaver deceived them to believe it’s a life worth living and continues to deceive us even today.
And so a story that happened thousands of years ago, continues to play out still today. I see in my own life this pattern, that even though yes indeed, God has freed me, I can mark a day and a time and a place, that I keep going back to slavery, believing the illusion of lies that slavery was a place I was in control of life and that somehow that’s better. It’s true, a life of freedom is one we have no control over because it’s a life lived under the control of God. But I must remember that when I was enslaved, I cried out to God to save me, that what seemed like control was really oppression and living my identity trapped by a quota of work I do leaving me feeling worthless.
A life of slavery is addictive though because it is weeded deep into us. We wonder why we keep going back to our enslaver, whether it be a physical substance, an abuser, a thought process, a pattern of behavior? Weeds this deep take time to uproot and only God is skilled enough to remove them. So we spend time with Him in the wilderness, a long time, where He can separate us from that which is harmful to us, remove the lies and guide us and feed us and instruct us on the truth of our identity as His daughter or His son so that we might be prepared to enter the land of freedom of our inheritance.
Be patient with yourself in the wilderness. Ask God to show you what is a lie that keeps drawing you back to slavery and then ask him to uproot it. Don’t be afraid to give up control to him because he will guide you every step of the way. Listen to His instruction and truth and let it sink deep into your being. Don’t be afraid to live a life of freedom, for in it you were always meant to live and in it, you will find your true self.
” The Messiah set us free so that we could enjoy freedom! So stand firm, and don’t get yourselves tied down by the chains of slavery.” ~Galations 5:1