“I AM the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I AM the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
(Exodus 6:6-7, NASB)
What Does it Say?
“I AM the LORD and WILL bring YOU out from burdens of Egyptians. I WILL deliver YOU from bondage, I WILL redeem YOU with outstretched arm. I WILL take YOU for MY people. I WILL be YOUR God. YOU shall KNOW I AM, who brought YOU out.”
What Does it Mean?
There is a powerful message of freedom in the new movie, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.” The main character in the film, Olympic champion and World War II hero Louis Zamperini is a man burdened by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his wartime experiences. After Louie’s plane crashed, he survived 47 days at sea on a raft in the South Pacific—only to be captured by the Japanese and specifically targeted and tortured by Mutsuhiro Watanabe, known to prisoners as “The Bird.”
Louis was plagued by nightmares which kept him in bondage and drove him to alcohol, enabling him to forget his misery, if only for a few hours. On this dark and dangerous path of destruction, Louis’ marriage was being destroyed and his relationship with his daughter threatened. His very life was destined to come to an abrupt end if Louis continued in the direction he was headed.
In a key scene (without giving the entire movie away), Louis finds himself at a point requiring him to choose who he will bend his knee to. The image of “The Bird” is mocking him, telling him, “You will NEVER be free from me!” “The Bird” is saying in not so many words, “BEND YOUR KNEE TO ME!” Louis walks towards him, drawn to destruction…. drawn to bend his knee forever to the very thing that will kill him. But…there is hope. Behind Louis’ right shoulder there’s another image—a different choice: a preacher, with an outstretched arm, preaching the Word of God. It’s a choice that offers FREEDOM from all that has burdened him. In this moment of great struggle, Louis does bend his knee. (You’ll have to watch the movie to see to whom.)
Here is where the choice lies, for each one of us. We will bend our knee to the slavery Egypt offers or to the freedom the living God offers. The misery of bondage beckons us, reminding us that we’re broken—useless and left alone by a God who has forgotten us and cannot hear our cries. The TRUTH of God’s Word reminds us that we are loved—that we were created on purpose, with purpose. There is a battle raging over your very soul. Your choice matters. Your knee will bend, but to whom is what lies in the balance.
The truth is that God, with His outstretched arm, has broken the chains of bondage that have kept us enslaved to the world and all its misery. Here in Exodus, God declares what He is going to do for His people; then the story continues and HE finishes it. I love what Pharaoh’s magicians say about what is happening in Exodus 9, “It is the finger of God.” Forget all the power of God’s outstretched arm to save His people: God is doing it with just a finger (I bet it was the pinky finger)!
God saved His people. But, why? Did He save them just to put a feather in His cap? Just to impress the superpower of the day? It was more than just saving… God saved His people so that they could know “I AM,” personally.
God created us to know Him. He led His people into the wilderness not to torture them, but to teach them. God saved them from horrific misery and bondage; but it was more than that, and God continues to be more than that today.
Through Jesus Christ, God came personally in the form of man. He came for one reason: to free us from the bondage and misery the world has to offer. Jesus, by the power of His out-stretched arms on the cross, conquered the power sin has over our lives. Three days later, He conquered death and the grave when He rose from the dead in power. The chains of sin and death are broken forever, not just so we can be saved, but so that for the rest of our lives we can experience the power of that freedom and know its author personally. His name is Jesus.
We are not forced into freedom, it is a choice. Freedom—the path to redemption—is an incredibly difficult choice. As you watch the movie, you’ll see it played out. In Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken, Louis himself states just how hard the struggle was to walk away from “The Bird,” when he says, “It is actually hard to walk away from everything that is killing you.”
God severed the chains of bondage that had gripped Louis Zamperini’s life, and He can do the same for us today, if only we will walk away from our bondage and walk towards God, accepting the freedom He has bought for us with His own blood.
The very same choice the Hebrews faced so long ago is the choice you have before you today: Bend your knee to Egypt, or bend your knee to the LORD GOD who has delivered you with His outstretched arm. (Or finger!) You cannot live on both sides of the Red Sea; you must choose. Egypt will kill you in the end. The Bible tells us “the enemy “has come to steal, kill and destroy,” but Jesus has come to give LIFE and LIFE abundantly (see John 10:10).
What Does it Mean to Me?
- What kind of life are you holding on to? Are you living a life with your knee bent in bondage to the past—toward bondage to guilt and shame? Toward enslavement to the rat race and a life defined by the power and influence of Egypt (the world and its culture)?
- Why do we choose to live in bondage instead of freedom?
- Why is it so hard to leave Egypt and all that it has to offer?
LIVE IT OUT
LORD, open my eyes to see You, and open my heart to follow You. Take away the struggle of chasing Egypt, and place within me a new heart to hear and follow You. Oh, that I may know the One who freed me!
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