What does it mean to be a slave? What does it mean to be free?
In the Bible there are many stories about being a slave. Do you know what a slave is? A slave is someone who does not have freedom. A slave was owned and controlled by another person, and had to do whatever they said. Even though they were a person, a slave was treated like they were just a thing, like they were a piece of property.
God never wanted people to turn each other into slaves. When Joseph was made a slave by his brothers, God turned him from a slave into a ruler of Egypt. And when the Israelites were made into slaves in Egypt, God rescued them from that slavery and turned them into his chosen people.
But sometimes God would let his people be enslaved when they sinned. Why? Because God wants us to see that we are all born enslaved BY SIN. And so when his chosen people were enslaved by other nations, what God was really trying to show us was that we are enslaved by our own sin and selfishness.
Hundreds of years after God rescued his people from Egyptian slavery, another wicked nation came and threatened to make the Hebrews into slaves – the Assyrians. Then along came the prophet Nahum. Can you find Nahum in your Bible?
The prophet Nahum spoke to the Hebrew people and told them that God would once again free them from slavery. The wicked Assyrian king, King Ashurbanipal, wanted to make the Jews into his slaves, but listen to what God said through the prophet Nahum:
Nahum 1:13. And now I will break [the king’s] yoke from off you
and will burst your bonds apart.”
And, as always, God kept his promises. God didn’t let the Assyrians or King Ashurbanipal make slaves of the Jews. He “broke their yoke,” and “burst their bonds apart.”
But what’s even more important is that, through Jesus, God has freed us from being enslaved to our own sin and our own selfishness. God never wants us to be slaves to each other, and he never wants us to be slaves to ourselves. God knows that when we just do whatever we want to do, we will actually become less and less loving and kind. And we will become more and more self-centered and mean.
Instead God wants us to be slaves to him. Jesus came and said these words:
Matthew 11:28-30. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
It might sound strange, but Jesus wants us to be slaves to him and to his love. And that is how we find real freedom. Being a slave to Jesus means being his best friend. Being a slave to Jesus and letting him control you, means that you are like him – both loved by God and able to love others.
And when we learn that we are loved by God no matter what, and that we can learn to love like Jesus, then we won’t be slaves to what others say and think about us, and we won’t be slaves to our own sin and selfishness.
Because of Jesus we can be free from our sin and selfishness.
With Jesus we are his servants who are free to be loved and love others.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Watch Finding Nemo or watch this trailer for the movie. Talk about how Nemo father wouldn’t let him stay captive in a fish tank. Instead he came to rescue Nemo. In the same way God wouldn’t let us stay captive in our sin, so he came to rescue us through his Son, Jesus.
You have set me free. Now I don’t have to always want my own way. Instead I can care about others and help them instead of only helping myself.
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