As we celebrate our nation’s freedom, we can’t help but give thanks for what it means to live in a free country.
We feel grateful for the men and women who laid down their lives and sacrificed in so many ways to fight for and protect that freedom. As Christians, it’s also a great time to pause and ponder, what does freedom really mean to us? Outwardly being able to worship and lift up the name of Jesus is freedom. To be able to pursue our potential to the fullest is freedom. True freedom, however, is an inside job. We can be very free on the outside and still not be free on the inside. And we can actually be free on the inside even when we aren’t free on the outside. It’s a paradox really – the freer we are the more options we often have to things that keep us from freedom.
Moses found this to be true with the Israelites. What a story that is! Here’s this precious little Israelite baby boy who was rescued in a basket in the Nile River by the princess of Egypt, raised in the palace, became a prince, grew into a learned man with privilege, and then forsook it all to free his own people. He saw God move with the ten plagues. He led the Israelites through the red sea, no doubt marveling at the walls of water that stood ominously divided — making a way for their escape. And then what should have been an eleven day journey (Deut. 1:2) took 40 years instead, because in their new found freedom from slavery, the people’s faith wavered again and again and they stumbled over themselves and their mistakes. In Moses’ last sermon to the people, he passionately poured forth a message of freedom; zealous to see them get to enter the land they so long journeyed toward; the very land that was promised to them for generations.
That message he spoke all those years ago is a message that applies to our nation even today. His first point is found in Deuteronomy 10:17, where he said, “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome.” He wanted to leave them with the key reminder that to live truly free; they must trust in God’s power. But there’s another side to the greatness of our God he wanted to leave them with as well. We see this in his second point found in Deuteronomy 2:21, which says, “The Lord your God the great and awesome God is among you.” There he reminded them to rely on God’s presence.
With Moses’ last breaths he implored his people to live free by tapping into the power of God and staying free by relying on the presence of God. He knew then what we still know to be true now – it’s impossible to live this Christian life on our own. We simply can’t do it. We can’t make choices that lead us to freedom and honor God without relying on His power and tapping into His presence. When we recognize this and apply it, we find what it means to live truly free!