The Look of Freedom

Sunday’s Scripture – October 11, 2020

Deuteronomy 15:1-11

 

Reflection

The biggest obstacle to freedom is how we think. Getting out of Egypt is one thing; getting Egypt out of us is another. What good is it to be physically free if we still think like slaves?

It seems we no more get free from one thing to become enslaved by another. We finally kick that habit of smoking only to discover sugar. We give up Facebook but replace it with Pinterest. We may be justified in a moment, but sanctification takes a lifetime.

In Exodus, God delivers God’s people from slavery. In Deuteronomy, God lays out what freedom actually looks like.

In a word, it looks like Sabbath.

Not only were the Israelites to rest every seventh day, they were to rest in other ways every Sabbatical, or seventh, Year. (Seven is the biblical number for wholeness, completion.). There was even a Year of Jubilee, which was every 50 years, or the year in between seven groups of Sabbatical years. It was a real party.

Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be commanded to rest when you hadn’t had a day off in over 400 years? Sabbath feels good and we should practice it.

But Sabbath is hard because it means a release.

You can read about one kind of release in Deuteronomy 15:1-11. Every Sabbatical Year, the people were commanded to cancel all debts. This was one way God ensured no one wound up a slave again.

It’s easy to dismiss this commandment as irrelevant. After all, when was the last time you borrowed money from a fellow congregant? But, there aren’t just financial debts; there are relational ones as well.

That’s why, years later, Jesus would put it like this: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

In other words, release each other because God has released you. The alternative is to return to bondage, just of another kind yet again.

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

 

Questions

  • Can you identify different ways you’ve gone from slavery to slavery? How do we “stand firm, and not submit again to a yoke of slavery?”
  • What are some ways we can practice release today? What/who do you need to release?
  • Do you practice Sabbath? What does it look like for you?

 

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