Reading: Psalm 135:8-14
He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
the firstborn of people and animals.
He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, Egypt,
against Pharaoh and all his servants.
He struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings—
Sihon king of the Amorites,
Og king of Bashan,
and all the kings of Canaan—
and he gave their land as an inheritance,
an inheritance to his people Israel.
Your name, LORD, endures forever,
your renown, LORD, through all generations.
For the LORD will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants (NIV).*
Psalm 135 began with a call for the LORD’s people to praise Him. For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession (v. 4).
In today’s reading, the psalmist continues by recounting how Israel came to be God’s treasured possession. It happened as the result of a great cosmic struggle. The descendants of the patriarch Israel (who was also called Jacob) were enslaved in Egypt. There they toiled under cruel taskmasters until by the hand of Moses the LORD sent his signs and wonders into their midst. After ten terrible plagues, Pharaoh finally relented and set God’s people free. Nevertheless, Pharaoh changed his mind and sent his army to pursue Israel. Again at the Red Sea, the LORD intervened. He parted the sea, for His chosen people, but brought it crashing down upon Egypt’s army.
Make no mistake; you too are part of a great cosmic struggle. You were born into a world that is under the control of Satan. Jesus called our adversary the ruler, or prince of this world (John 16:11). We were born under Satan’s authority and within his domain just as the Hebrew children were born into a state slavery in the land of Egypt. As we grow up, Satan has his taskmasters, who set us to work doing his bidding. It begins as we bow to peer pressure, but soon those things we choose begin to assert control. We can soon find ourselves in a downward spiral, imprisoned by sinful habits.
Only Jesus can liberate us from this bondage. At the cross he paid the full price for our redemption. Crossing the Red Sea foreshadows the New Testament sacrament of baptism. It signals our break with the old life—the old bondage. See 1 Corinthians 10:1-4. We have a new master now. His name is Jesus. He is the great liberator. He liberates us from the bondage of sin, and the taunts of the Accuser, who insists that we will never be good enough. But Jesus is our sufficiency. By his grace we are saved.
Response: Father God, I thank you for liberation. Through Jesus you freed me from the bondage of sin. I am eternally grateful. Fill me with the joy of your salvation. You saved me. Hallelujah! Amen.
Your Turn: Have you been liberated from the bondage of sin? What did that feel like?