Every year we celebrate it – our independence. Wikipedia gives an accurate description of the importance of this celebration, “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.”
Freedom is worth celebrating. I remember a group of people who endured over 400 years of slavery – the children of Israel. They were in bondage to Pharaoh, and were responsible for making bricks to construct buildings throughout Egypt.
Imagine their joy when Pharaoh finally let them go! It didn’t happen overnight, in fact, the Lord sent ten horrific plagues that affected land and people alike. It took the death of Pharaoh’s son to convince him that the God of the Israelites was indeed a God to be feared.
The people were free. No more making bricks, no more taskmasters, no more beatings. They were free to worship the Lord in the manner that He showed them. But freedom didn’t come easy. There was hard work involved – travelling hundreds of miles on foot, setting up and taking down tents, getting along with everyone else who was on this pilgrimage from Egypt to the Promised Land.
On several occasions, the children of Israel became disenchanted with their freedom. When they came into the wilderness of Sin, they had reached their limit. Grumbling turned into complaints against Moses and Aaron, “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth in to this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger,” (Exodus 16:3; KJV). In a matter of months, the Israelites had shifted from celebrating their freedom, to longing for the land where they had been enslaved.
What silly people! Yet don’t I do the same thing? I was set free from the slavery of sin when I put my faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. What a reason to celebrate. But as I journey through life, difficulties trip me up and I forget the joy I originally experienced. Just like the children of Israel, I begin to take my freedom for granted and complaining soon follows. Once again I fall prey to the slavery of sin.
God’s Word provides the map I need to get back on course. He is gracious, “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust,” (Psalm 103:14). He reminds me I’m freed from sin and am able to serve Him, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life,” (Romans 6:22).
I have every reason to celebrate – I’m free from the grip of sin, and I live in a country where I am free to worship the God of heaven.
Have you experienced freedom from sin by accepting Christ as your Savior (Ephesians 2:8-9)? If so, are you living like the children of Israel, disenchanted with your freedom? What step will you take today to get back on course and celebrate your freedom?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to celebrate true freedom – freedom from the slavery of sin. Help me to realize what a precious gift you’ve given me. Help me not to take it for granted. Thank you for America, a country where I can worship you freely. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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