In Nigeria, October 1st is independence day – fifty four year ago, we got our freedom from the colonial masters. I got to read the Biblical story of the Israelites as they got their freedom from Egypt and I thought about the implications of Liberty for our daily life.
I learnt a few things I want to share with you.
The Egyptians struggled through the night, barely making progress in spite of the strong horses they rode. The thick blanket of dark clouds that hovered above reduced their visibility and speed. It seemed the God of their enemies was very angry with them and had placed the clouds there.
When it was morning, they could see their enemies ahead, walking into the midst of what used to be the sea. But the sea had made a wall of water on each side of the Israelites; so they walked through on dry land.
“This is our chance! We can beat them to the chase and overtake them! Move!” The commander barked the orders and they charged.
But as they got into the dry ground, their chariot wheels got stuck in the sand and it was hard for them to move. They panicked when they looked ahead and saw that the Israelites had got to shore and their leader, Moses, was now stretching his rods towards them.
“What the hell –” The commander ran at a loss of words, but the people he led knew what to do by survival instinct. They said to one another, “Let’s leave these people alone! The LORD is on their side and is fighting against us.”
But it was too late.
The water came rushing and covered the chariots, the cavalry, and the whole Egyptian army that had followed the Israelites into the sea.
Not one of them was left alive.
Well… that’s my rendering of what happened the day after the Israelites received their freedom from Egypt. You can find this story in the book of Exodus in the Bible.
So, the Israelites were free – LIBERTY!
You would have thought that the Israelites would completely rely on their God through their life-journey, right? He was mighty to save them. He had performed signs and wonders when they were in Egypt. He had done it again, destroying a nation’s full army in the process.
Well… it was not so. The night before was a different story.
Their God had given the command, “Let my people go that they might serve me.” After ten plagues and the death of all the first-borns in Egypt, Pharaoh listened to them. The Israelites left Egypt. But Pharaoh rethought his decision and decided to pursue and recapture them – more like Great Britain coming back to recolonize Nigeria after independence. So He summoned his hosts and pursued hard.
When the Israelites turned back at the sound of stampeding horses and saw Pharaoh chasing them, they lost their minds.
“Moses! We told you to leave us alone that we might serve the Egyptians. There are graves in Egypt, we need not come to die in the wilderness!”
In this challenge posed to them, they saw only two options: Surrender to the enemy or die.
I can almost hear you say, “What were they thinking?”
If you have read the Israelite story before, you probably are wondering how quickly they forgot the signs and wonders performed by Moses before their very eyes. You ask why they did not choose to trust the same God who spoke to them through Moses and led them with a pillar of cloud and fire. Will He grow so powerless all of a sudden?
This God gave them a panoramic view of the promise land – flowing with milk and honey – and they had directions on what to do when they got there. They had proof that they served a greater-than-life God.
Yet, they saw two options: SURRENDER. OR. DIE.
They were afraid.
The same kind of fear that attacks our hearts when we face challenges in life; the fear that beclouds our judgement and forces us to respond the same way – surrender to the enemy or die.
We see the frying pan and the fire, and we are quick to return to the frying pan.
“With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been.”
Psalms 103:2 [CEV]
Spiritual amnesia robs our minds of the strength and courage that comes when we remember God’s word and how He has helped us surmount past challenges. We refuse to learn to trust Him for the bigger things.
You have seen God heal you in the past. Can He not do it now? He has provided for your parents in the past. Is he not able to pay your fees this session? He has given you directions before. Now, the stakes are higher… I know. But, is He limited by the urgency or the magnitude of what’s at stake in this decision?
When we face a seemingly greater challenge, we quickly lose our composure.
But God said to them:
See My salvation.
Hold your peace.
I will fight for you.
Do not cry.
Moses listened and believed. Then he led the people across the sea to true liberty. And we are able to read the beautiful victory of the next day. When you do the same, friends will hear your testimony tomorrow and be encouraged.
“Let my people go, that they may serve me.”
BACK TO 21st CENTURY
As we reflect on freedom this day, this is the statute of liberty: TRUST.
God is serious about liberty. He did not start you on a journey He is not willing to take you through. Jesus fought the battle and won for you freedom. And, if you have given your life to Jesus, you have become a part of the family of God! He has set you free from the oppression of the “Egyptians.”
You have freedom to live, freedom to serve.
He has called you to an adventure called an “Heir-Walk,” a journey of faith where you learn, grow and shine [John 15:1-11]! The Father by His spirit walks alongside you – in fact hand-in-hand – to help you surmount whatever challenge you face as you live according to His will.
“The person who is right with me will live by trusting in me. But if he turns back with fear, I will not be pleased with him.”
Hebrews 10:38 [NCV]
But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy. But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way. [The Message rendition of Hebrews 10 verse 38 and 39]
He needs your permission – your Trust – the statute. When challenges come, trust Him and hold your peace – He will fight for you!
Reference: Study the fourteenth chapter of the book of the Exodus
Cheers and Happy new month,
P.S.: learn more about “Donut” on http://www.eatyourdonut.wordpress.com