The theme of Exodus is one that echoes throughout the entire Bible. It is one in which God releases His people Israel from the grip of slavery. In reading it, I am amazed at the facet of God that displays His gutsiness. He is no faint-hearted care-bear figure who flitters around in pastel colors or frolics in the clouds. He is a passionate, indomitable being whose word is all-powerful and whose plan is extraordinary.
God demonstrates this to us often in Exodus. He appears to Moses on Mount Horeb in the form of a blazing, burning bush. He transforms a simple staff into a hissing serpent. He rains down fire from heaven, and He dominates the Egyptian enemy army in the Red Sea, all in the pursuit of His first love – the hearts of the Israelite people. He longed to free them from the physical burden of slavery, but also from the spiritual bondage that their hearts were captive to. Slavery comes in many different forms – spiritual and physical - and even today, He is willing to do the same freeing work in our hearts.
The story of my own freedom from captivity starts long before my time. It begins when three little girls, the eldest of whom was my mother, sought to be loved and valued in a broken home. Fear gripped her heart as she scrambled to round up whatever would bring momentary peace. Shame and guilt formed the bars to her prison of never measuring up, and harsh memories formed the pictures on her cell walls. She grew up without the luxuries of a richly warm, loving and complete family. She did not know what such a family scenario would look like, but years later, when she married and started her own family, she longed to give her own children a better future than what her past handed to her; and maybe even more than that longing, there was a time when her heart cried out for spiritual truth.
She searched for it in all the wrong places before coming to know the Lord Jesus as her redeemer and friend. She found hope in Him. He accepted her. He renewed her. He gave her a fresh start and promised healing. As Psalm 103 says, he forgave all her sins, redeemed her life from the pit and renewed her youth like the eagle’s.
Her faith and commitment to the Lord Jesus made her surrender her parenting to Him. She had had no one in her past to look to for advice on parenting rightly; no one had shown her how to do it. She, many times, was terrified of continuing the cycle of bondage that her parents passed on to her. Yet, as she trusted God, He provided for her. He did it in obscure ways -- James Dobson would come on the radio with just the right topic at just the right moment or other events would occur that were too perfect to pass off as coincidences. The Lord Himself taught her how to be a good mom. She, in turn, taught us kids about Him. She showed me how to love and honor Him. She was also, and is now, a prayer warrior for our family, melting away the obstacles that loom over us in our spiritual journeys.
Because of my mom’s story, I have a story of freedom. I know what it is like to come home after school to a complete family. I know what it is like to be loved by my parents. I am free there!
The sequence of events that has led to my freedom is mind-boggling to me, because the sequence of nature is so often quite the opposite. Children wallow in the consequences of their parents’ bad decisions, and they learn there. They always learn. Then, when they get older, they know nothing besides mud. Their parents placed them there years ago just as their parents placed them there before that. They all grow up in it, and they all live in it generation after generation. But, because of the Lord Jesus’ work, I have not inherited that slavery from my mom! Instead of being given the heavy burden of fear and shame, I was given life and love!
He does that amazing work everyday in the lives of those He seeks to save. “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.” (Psalm 103:6-7)