The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:7-10 (NIV)
I am the Program Manager of Sonrise Adult & Teen Challenge a thirteen month recovery/discipleship program for men with life controlling problems like drugs and alcohol. Coming from a background of addiction myself I am grateful for the freedom God has granted me from the bondage of my past. As i see men coming through the doors of our program it is a constant reminder that God delivered me from my past full of addiction and all of the trouble that comes along with that slavery. We speak often at our program about the power of deliverance and where God has brought us from. I believe that this is a good thing because remembering where we came from makes us grateful for where we are going. But after the deliverance from our “Egypt” sometimes we get lost in the wilderness.
I am not trying over contextualize this story I understand that it is the story of the people of Israel and their exodus from Egypt, but I do believe that story has applicable value for us today. We must remember that God didn’t just bring us out of bondage from our past and our sin for us to make our own way and wander in the wilderness. God brought us of something to bring us in to something. God didn’t deliver me from addiction so that I could go my own way, he delivered me to bring me into Christ. The promise land we are seeking, the answers we are seeking are only found through salvation in the person of Jesus Christ.
Being a Christ follower isn’t just deliverance, its deliverance and direction to a destination.
Christ Is Our Deliverance
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
2 Timothy 1:9
There is no freedom from bondage outside of Christ. He is our deliverer and savior. He has saved us and set us free from the bondage of our past. In Christ we escape our rightful judgement from the debt of our sin, we escape hell and we escape a life of bondage to sin. Jesus came to set the captives free and that is why many come to Him for freedom. We follow Him out of the bondage of Egypt but this not the end, it is merely the beginning. If we only want comfort, healing, peace or freedom but don’t want Christ we will wander aimlessly in the wilderness and die outside of the promise land.
And if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Christ Is Our Direction
The call of discipleship isn’t go and chase your dreams or go and do you, it is pick up your cross and follow me. Wanting freedom from your past isn’t enough to take you all the way to promise land, Jesus didn’t give us directions to go somewhere, He said I am the way!
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life no one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Being freed from bondage is only the beginning of this life in Christ. If we think we will do fine on our own once we are out of Egypt we are mistaken. The Israelite's were freed from one yoke of slavery but quickly fell victim to idolatry and doubt because the promised land was not really in their hearts and they didn’t trust God enough to finish what He started. We will follow God out of desperation but the true test is what will we do with our freedom?
As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Mark 1:16-18
Being a Christian is about being a disciple and being a disciple is about following Jesus. We want the freedom the comes with the deliverance of Christ but we won’t stay free if we don’t stick with him. In fact Jesus clearly says that you can not be his disciple if you do not follow him.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24
Christ Is Our Destination
The most telling sign of a true convert, someone who is truly regenerate and in Christ is what their heart truly desires and the destination of their lives. Many people talk about Jesus like he is an avenue to success or that being a Christian brings prosperity or earthly rewards and although God does bless His children, people who know and love God understand that the greatest reward of the gospel is Christ himself. The only reason we look forward to heaven is because Jesus will be there. In Him we suffer, in Him we rejoice and to Him we look towards as the ultimate reward and destination of our salvation. Jesus is our deliverance, Jesus is our direction and Jesus is our destination. Christ is the promised land.