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House Of Bondage
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage" (Exo 20:2)
The phrase "House of Bondage" is considered, not only a description of Egypt, but a virtual synonym for it. Saying "house of bondage" is tantamount to saying the word Egypt. I fully understand the reasoning behind that, but the Lord quickened to me a couple days ago that each family, and each family member, was literally in a house of bondage. Yes, the whole nation was captive in Egypt, yet each citizen was captive. And, while there were plenty of implications on a national and cultural level because of the nation's captivity, people felt it personally.
Consider America's history and struggle with slavery. Legal prior to the Civil War, slavery was woven into the culture of the South. For the nation and for her leaders, it was that "peculiar institution". They debated it in macro terms. Yet, slaves lived on the ragged edge of it. They experienced slavery up close and personally. They would have talked about it anecdotally. They could show you their scars and wounds. They could name their children sold off to distant families.
Slavery is behind us today, or would be if some would stop picking its scars. Yet our nation is in fresh dire straits. Our culture is under attack. Again, people are experiencing this personally. Leaders speak of a global pandemic, but many a weeping spouse laments, "I couldn't go hold the hand of the love of my life as he or she suffered and died in the ICU alone." This pandemic is the unhappy collection of tens of thousands of awful stories. A wall of woe has been erected brick by brick.
Consider the North Atlantic in the fall: Each year, sea ice starts forming as individual pancakes of ice. One floating here, another drifting over there. The quantity of individual pancakes steadily increases as the cold deepens. They grow in size and grind into each other. Water that splashes on them freezes so that two become one. In a matter of several days, these pancakes of ice coalesce into a massive sheet, which continues to grow deeper and wider. Soon huge polar bears wander out and about on the ice just like they would on the land. But it all started as small, thin individual circles of ice. Our nation is in trouble in like manner: So many individuals are in trouble; too many households are in distress. Our schools are in trouble because millions of our children are each forced to wear a mask while each is forced to listen to relentless leftist propaganda. Thirty may do it together in one room, but the travesty is foisted on each one individually.
The Lord didn't just deliver Israel from Egypt. He delivered sons and daughters of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He rescued each from their house of bondage, each from their local Egyptian tormenter, with his particular whip, encrusted with their dried blood. Let's continue to pray for our nation, but never forget we reach people: a teenager here, a couple there, a crowd over there. Each one hears for himself, each one must be called. Singly, choices are made - to step forward or to turn away.
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God." (Gen 28:20-21) Jacob knew of his grandfather's God and his father's God. Now he wanted Him to be his God. He wanted his own encounters, his own relationship, with God.
It is possible we have arrived at a time when the nation will not be turned. I hope this is not so, but it is sad possibility. Yet, take heart! Let's steel our nerves! We can still save many individuals against the willful flow. We can rescue thousands out of the Titanic before it is swallowed by the churning sea. As it is written, "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (Jn 1:11-12).
The world was lost to Him, so God tapped a single man upon the shoulder. Even before approaching Him, the Lord knew that man would have descendants like the sand by the seashore and like the stars in the sky. He spent several generations as the God of a growing family, later as the God of a single nation. But He has shaken free from that hindrance, because the children of the man with the tapped shoulder have spread out around the world and throughout the nations. He is the God of the whole earth, but He remains my God and your God. He will be the God of Each and Every.
The waters cover the seabed - trillions of individual drops assembled as a massive whole. But they rained down one at a time and they evaporate, one at a time. We lose the tree for the forest but our God has numbered the hairs on each of our heads. Not even a single sparrow falls to the ground without Him being intimately aware of it. Such knowledge is too much for me to comprehend, but I will remember, that obnoxious obtuse cog in the Leftist blob annoying me? He or she is an individual - a person who came into this world alone, will depart alone, and then stand before God Almighty alone. Can I not help at least with that last position - the one that matters most? Can I help him or her stand there not alone, but with a wonderful Advocate?
© Matthew Schilling 2022
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