Meditations by John Dean

Monday, August 19, 2013

Free at Last

(Exodus 8:1 KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, 
and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they 
may serve me. 

I have read the story of Moses and the children of Israel many times over the years and I am still saddened by it. What started out as a blessing for them years earlier (the provision of food), ended up as the trap that eventually enslaved them.

Could this be a warning to each of us that our blessing for today is only seasonal (like manna) and if taken past that season has the potential of enslaving us?

It was bad enough when their bodies became the property of another, but when their minds were eventually bent in the same direction…that is unthinkable. The reason it is unthinkable is because when one’s mind is enslaved, then their whole body is subject to the new master. The body only follows commands…it does not give them.

It is possible to enslave one’s body, but not their mind. However, in this case the minds of the children of Israel had been warped to the point that they were actually turned off.  Even after they were delivered out of slavery, their minds still belonged to their captors. Many of them even wanted to go back into Egypt. It is a terrible thing to be walking around in a body that belongs to another…which is what slavery is.

I was recently in Lewiston, New York where I had the privilege of actually seeing the end of the Underground Railroad. In the early to mid-eighteen hundreds untold numbers of escaped slaves traveled from the South to this wonderful spot of hope. It was here in Lewiston where they actually crossed the river into Canada…and into freedom.

The only thing that kept them going over the hundreds of miles of treacherous trails was their hope to eventually reach Lewiston. Even though their faith was mixed with fear, they kept moving forward while dodging the slave-bounty-hunters every step of the way. Each mile they traveled was a mile of victory and every day without having to perform mule-type labor was worth the risk.

Even though they had to hide every day and night like a small animal hiding from a hawk...their taste of momentary freedom was what built their long range hope for permanent freedom.

As I stood silently that day in front of the monument in Lewiston, I tried to imagine what an escaped slave’s last thoughts might be. I thought…if it was me, what would I be thinking before getting into that small boat that would take me to freedom…to Canada?

Is this really real? Am I really going to be free? Can I live without having to hide from slave-bounty-hunters? Will I ever be able to sleep without the fear of being beaten?  Or…what if I find out that I really am only a second class human being…what then?

In the short time I stood in front of the monument I had a litany of emotions that still linger to this day.

I wondered what were they thinking as they pushed away from shore in the dark of night in that small boat that would take them across the river to freedom.

The children of Israel’s bodies were freed long before their minds. The spirit of Pharaoh is a terrible thing and can come in many forms. It can come as a dictator of a nation, a boss, a husband, a wife, a mother, a father, and yes…even a so called Christian leader.

Deliver us from Pharaoh-type people who have the ability to weaken and enslave our minds. We want to walk uprightly with our brothers…but we only want to yield our minds and wills to You. We also want to be freedom fighters like Harriet Tubman, William Still and Levi Coffin who helped set the slaves from the South free…but more especially Lord we want to be like You, the One who sets minds free from modern day Pharaohs.

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