No Longer Slaves

Every one of us at some point in our lives have found ourselves caught “between a rock and a hard place”. We didn’t expect to be caught there. We were just walking along on our “merry way”, doing what we thought we were supposed to be doing… and wham – we were diagnosed with a fatal or debilitating illness – or unexpectedly we just lost our job – or we’ve just experienced the loss of a loved one – or some other traumatic or tragic event has taken place in our lives. And in addition to the severe loss we have experienced, we have no idea where or how we are supposed to go forward from here. Then, sometime after the grief and the pain have settled in, fear begins to take over. 

The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years, and for most of that time they had been slaves to their Egyptian masters. God had heard their cry and freed them from their bondage and oppression. In the middle of that first Passover night, they began their exodus out of Egypt toward the Promised Land. i don’t think we can fully appreciate the joy, relief, excitement and anticipation that they felt as they began that journey. They had heard from God and seen His hand leading them and guiding them. There was no question that He had made the way. There was no question that He had ordered their steps. As they approached the Red Sea, it appeared to be a good place to rest and be refreshed; a place to stop and enjoy the cool breeze and the green grasses – an oasis. There they could contemplate the blessings of freedom and the further blessings that awaited them in the Promised Land. There they could rest from the weariness of their generations of bondage as slaves, and watch to see how God was going to lead them to the other side. 

But quickly, and unexpectedly, that all changed. In the distance, the Egyptian army was rapidly approaching. Their oasis had now become a giant obstacle. They had nowhere to turn, and their world was crashing down upon them.

Did anyone ever say to you – “Don’t just stand there, do something”? We are raised with that admonition from childhood – that as long as we remain in motion, everything will work out. We’ve even spiritualized it with the statement – “God helps those who help themselves.” (i venture to guess that many of us actually believe that is a verse in the Bible.) And yet, throughout time, God has said to His people, stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord.

Imagine the scene. Men, women and children; young and old; raised to be slaves – field workers, domestics and construction workers – they had never received any training in combat - and pursuing them was the fiercest and mightiest army in the world – the best of the best. As the Israelites took inventory of their weapons, they paled in comparison with the weapons of warfare being wielded by their opposing force. Their carts drawn by their weary oxen were no match for the rapidly-approaching chariots drawn by horses that had been bred for war. They were quickly overtaken by fear – a paralyzing fear.

But the reality was that they were no longer slaves. They were no longer slaves to the Egyptians, and they were no longer to be slaves to their fear. The same God who had led them this far would overcome the enemy coming from behind and overcome the obstacles ahead. Yes, the obstacles and the enemy were greater than anything that they could overcome – because God intended to use it for His glory – glory through the faith that would be grown in their lives as they witnessed His deliverance, and glory through the eyes of a watching world. 

As God parted the Red Sea to make their way of escape, He held back the Egyptians. And after they were on the other side, He used the sea to utterly defeat their enemy. That day, God wrote a melody in their hearts (Genesis 15) and surrounded them with a song. They truly were no longer slaves. He had delivered them from their enemies. He had removed their fear. Regrettably, it didn’t take long for fear to return. They quickly forgot their deliverance at the Red Sea.

And we forget as well. If we have surrendered our lives to Jesus, He tells us “I no longer call you slaves…” (John 15:15). We are no longer slaves to sin… and we are no longer slaves to fear. We are children of the Most High God. Whatever the situation or circumstance – no matter how tragic – He has promised to shepherd us through it (Psalm 23), deliver us from it (Job 38-42), and enable us to walk in His glorious victory (Genesis 15).

Jonathan David Helser, Brian Mark Johnson and Joel Case wrote a song that encapsulates that reality. We would do well to remember – no matter what we are encountering today – that we are “No Longer Slaves”. We have been liberated. We have been delivered. And we are surrounded by His arms.

Excerpts fromThe Journey Begins.

No Longer Slaves

You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
‘Til all my fears are gone

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God (repeat)

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into a family
Your blood flows through my veins

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God (repeat 3x)

I am surrounded
By the arms of the Father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We've been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
You drowned my fears in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am a child of God (repeat)

Yes, I am a child of God (repeat 4x)

I’m no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God (repeat)

Songwriters: Jonathan David Helser / Brian Mark Johnson / Joel Case

No Longer Slaveslyrics © 2014 Bethel Music Publishing