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Addicts and Slaves (and You)

The bible is ultimately a story about how God interacts with His creation, specifically with a group of people called the Israelites or Jews or Hebrews. As the story of the Exodus goes, the Jews find themselves in the middle of a painful existence: oppressed -- taken advantage of -- undervalued. Their heritage and identity had been stolen away from them. They were now considered foreigners and slaves in a land where they used to belong. They were beaten and a set of overbearing and impossible standards were placed on them. And in the middle of all of this they cry out to God saying, “Save us from this injustice!”

This is one of the most important stories in all of scripture because it so clearly and accurately parallels each of our lives – it’s a picture of the human condition. Some of us can completely relate with this story:

There are those who have felt the pain of injustice in the place you used to belong. Maybe your home is deeply fractured and you have broken relationships with the people you are supposed to trust the most. Maybe you come from an abusive home where your parents or siblings verbally, physically, or sexually abused you. You feel like a foreigner in your own skin because you are so ashamed of it.
Some have experienced the hold addiction can have – whether it’s been to ice cream or to alcohol, or to drugs or to smoking weed, or to sexual sin or to porn, or to Jersey Shore. You know what it’s like to feel like you’re all tied up, like you can’t move. You feel like a prisoner in your own body. You can’t sleep. You can hardly breathe. And you hate yourself for loving the things that are killing you.
There are lots of people that have fought against eating disorders; you are consumed by the feeling that you are never going to be good enough. You’ve spent years looking into the mirror only to see a person you’re not proud to be – you wish your body was different. You feel like you have to dress a certain way to get attention but it makes you feel cheap and desperate – and you hate every moment of it. Some of you talk about yourself like you’re worthless simply because the world has convinced you that you are.

There are those that have grown up in a house full of rules. You feel like your parents always expect you to be perfect and you fear that you’ll never be good enough – like it’s too difficult to be the person everyone else expects you to be. You wish you could escape into a world where you weren’t constantly under the microscope. You wish you could be free from your every move being evaluated.
And some are slaves to your social status. As you walk into every room, you immediately assess it to determine what you have to do to make the kind of impact you want to have. You waste your entire life away trying to be the person you think everyone else wants you to be. And in the middle of all of it, you know that no one really knows who you are. There isn’t any security in living a lie – true actors have no true friends.

Almost everyone who has seriously tried to come to grips with who they truly are can find themselves in the midst of this story.

As the story continues, God acts powerfully by sending a deliverer to rescue His people from slavery. It’s a beautiful picture of a loving God, looking with compassion on humanity, and intervening in order to restore them to the kind of life they were intended to have. And that is exactly what happened through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God rescued us from a life of pain and bondage and opened up a new pathway – a pathway whose end is life and whose journey brings healing. Our God is a God who restores – He makes all things new – He raises those things which are dead into life – He speaks hope into desperate situations – He means freedom for slaves – He is the end of injustice, oppression, and war. This is the story of how God interacts with His creation. And THIS is the Good News.

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