He Sets the Captive Free

Today’s Scripture: Exodus 1-3

In our chronological reading plan, we now come to the book of Exodus.  In the closing chapters of Genesis, the Bible tells us that Israel and his descendants had been relocated to the land of Egypt.  Providentially, God had brought Joseph into power in Egypt to provide for his brothers and their families.  These same brothers had sold him into slavery years before, yet Joseph acknowledged in the end that it was all part of the plan of God.  We learn from this that all things work together for the good of them who love God, who are called according to His purpose.  When things happen to us that are beyond our understanding, we can rest in the confidence that God understands.

Over the years, the descendants of Israel began to multiply and grow in number.  A new Pharaoh rose to power who was not sympathetic toward them and viewed them as a threat to Egyptian power.  So, we read in the first chapter of Exodus of how the Egyptians made slaves out of the Israelites and treated them harshly.  Their bondage had been predicted as early as Genesis 15:13-16.  It was not something that took God by surprise.  In truth, nothing ever takes Him by surprise.  He is sovereign and is always in complete control.  When we fail to understand this, we will often find ourselves worrying about our circumstances.  But such worrying is a waste of time because we serve a God who is enthroned in total power and perfect wisdom.  

The bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt is a picture of the sinner’s spiritual bondage to sin and Satan.  Those who are lost are held captive by sin.  In fact, the Bible tells us in Ephesians 2 that sinners are “dead in trespasses and sins.”  The chains of sin and death shackle and enslave the sinner.  Even the children who were born to those Hebrew slaves were born into captivity.  They were just as much slaves as their parents were.  Spiritually, the Bible says that every person who has ever been born is born into sin’s captivity.  Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”  Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Sin promises freedom and pleasure, but it brings only bondage and sorrow to the soul.

In the closing verses of Exodus 2, the Bible says that the children of Israel cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God.  God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Verse 25 says, “He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.”  He had a man in mind whom He would use to lead His people out of their Egyptian bondage–Moses.  God called Moses to be the leader who would rescue His people and set them free from their captivity.  Thus, we see the redemptive heart of God and the truth that God sets the captive free.  This, too, is a picture of the sinner’s salvation.  Jesus is our Redeemer, the One who rescues us from the captivity of sin.  It is He who leads us out of “Egypt.”  When I was lost in sin and helpless to save myself, Jesus came and rescued me from bondage.  In total grace, He came to where I was because of my complete inability.  No amount of good works or self-righteousness can ever free a sinner from the bondage of sin; only God’s grace can.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  No Israelite could have boasted about what he did to save himself from Egypt’s slavery.  Instead, he could only be grateful to God who used Moses!  Likewise, no person who has ever experienced salvation can take the credit.  All the glory and all the honor belongs to Jesus.  He is the One who paid the price through His death on the cross and resurrection.  He is the Living One who sets the captive free!  If you are shackled in sin, there is hope for you.  If you are held in sin’s bondage, there is grace and mercy and forgiveness to be found in Jesus Christ.  Turn from sin and trust in Him alone for your salvation.

“Father, we thank You for the gift of Your perfect Son.  Jesus is the One who sets the captive free.  We pray for those who are still held captive in their sins, those who have yet to be saved.  May we live our lives for the sole purpose of pointing others to salvation in Christ.  Amen.”   

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