The story of the Israelites is one of God’s love and mercy for humanity. Many of us struggle with mental, emotional, and spiritual bondage. Enslavement wears a mask and is not easily recognized. It could be the job that steals our time, leaving us physically exhausted and too tired to worship God. The thought of a lifetime of loneliness causes us to embrace the unequally yoked relationships with unbelievers. Still, the strongest chains are found in loyalty to cultural traditions or pursuing worldly desires.
Please know that Satan uses the people, the places that produce excitement, and the secret things we desire to enslave us. And why not? He knows his fate, so he works harder on the believer who has behaviors comparable to his followers–all unbelievers. But God is aware of our fragile hearts and our tendency toward disobedience. And His power prevents Satan from breaking us to the point of despair and hopelessness.
Before we complain that our chains are not easily broken and it is too much for us to bear, the Apostle Paul tells us, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13
And who should know better than Saul converted to Paul? Saul had a thirst for the bloodshed of Christian believers–yes, premeditated murder. His mindset was so heinous that Jesus spoke to him personally on the road to Damascus. Saul was stricken with blindness to complete his spiritual transformation, and for three days and nights, he fasted without food or water. Our Omnipotent God transformed Saul into an Apostle who wrote books of the Bible and sent many letters to the churches while in prison. History tells us that prisoners were shackled with heavy chains, severely limiting their physical movement. Yet, he never lost his faith in God.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! Isaiah 65:24
Receiving deliverance from our shackles is a choice based on the willingness to faithfully obey God. Imagine receiving a shortened prison sentence for a crime you committed and when you receive the news that you will be released within 48 hours, you say, “No, I want to serve the remainder of my time.” It sounds foolish. But that is exactly what the community of Israel did. They were willing to be shackled with the chains of slavery in exchange for food.
“If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” Exodus 16:3
God has promised to deliver us from any situation that has enslaved us in the chains of a spiritual life or death struggle. His promises hold true: The Red Sea became a watery grave; the walls of Jericho fell with a shout; and, a young shepherd boy killed a giant with a slingshot and stone. There is no one greater than the ” I AM.”
God knows that many of us will look back and wish for former things when the journey becomes rugged. When we are suffering from mental, emotional and spiritual exhaustion that is when we are to fall on our knees and and ask for help from the “One and Only God.” El Shaddai is ready to reveal His love and power to maintain our freedom. We cannot waver! Either we accept His grace and mercy to live without our shackles or we choose to live with them. It is a walk of faith to accept our freedom and keep moving forward. Without faith it is impossible to please God…Hebrews 11:6.
Human Effort [Faith and Trust] + Divine Intervention = A Victorious Outcome!
Prayer: God, we have been enslaved by our circumstances for too long. We ask that you free us from chains of the jobs, relationships, and habits that prevent us from surrendering to You. Give us your strength as we faithfully and obediently serve you in spiritual freedom. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry