Sharing Christ with Muskegon & the World

LET MY PEOPLE GO! A Meditation on Our Redemption in Christ

I love seeing how the patterns or “types” in the Old Testament point us forward to Christ. As Jesus taught us in the New Testament, all of scripture points to him in one way or another. The life and ministry of Moses is no different. Christ is portrayed as the new and greater Deliverer of God’s people in the New Testament, and it is illuminating to see how this theme works out. I know I have grown in my appreciation for who Jesus is and what he has accomplished for us through this comparison with him and Moses.

In the Exodus, God delivered his people Israel out of the land of Egypt, that land of the “Iron Furnace”. They were under Pharaoh’s thumb, slaves, mistreated, beaten, mocked and driven to despair.

They groaned.

They ached.

They waited.

400 years.

Waiting. Groaning. Aching.

Pharaoh afflicted them with more work than they could possibly get done.

But the time had come. God had heard their groans and had come down to rescue them out of their slavery.

Mysteriously, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so he would not let them go. This was so that God could show his signs and wonders in Egypt and get glory for himself. And Pharaoh also hardened his own heart. Pharaoh had his own bondage to his own sinful heart. He just could not be compelled to let the people of Israel go.

Water turned to blood. Frogs. Gnats everywhere. Flies. Dead livestock. Boils on the skin. Fierce hail. Locusts devouring food and crops. Creepy darkness that could be felt. And finally, the death of the firstborn sons of Egypt, and the passing over of the firstborn of Israel through the atoning blood of the lambs.

Over and over again, you can hear Moses thundering: “Let my people go!”

Finally, God compelled Pharaoh to let them go, and they are about to cross the Red Sea. Pharaoh does a last minute change of mind. “Why did I let them go?” Which ends with a lot of water crushing the Egyptian forces when they attempted to again destroy Israel.

Israel crosses on dry land. Israel is safe. Tambourines sound. The women lead the song. God is our deliverer, and Moses his servant has delivered us from Egyptian bondage! Hallelujah!

What does all of this mean to me and you?

To Christians living in the New Covenant era?

The exodus that God accomplished through his servant Moses is a wonderful picture of the greater exodus, the New Exodus that was later accomplished by the “New Moses”.

When Jesus died on the cross and rose three days later and sent his Spirit to come upon his people, he rescued us from dreaded slavery. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus compelled “Pharaoh” to let us go. His grip on us was broken.

What were we enslaved to?

Who were our taskmasters?

Who had us “under their thumb”?

Look at the “Pharaohs” listed in this passage of the New Testament:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:1-5 NIV

There was a time when I was a slave. In bondage. Held captive. Brutalized.

To my own nasty transgressions and sins.

When I followed the twisted ways of this world.

When, like a blind fool, I followed the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

When the cravings of my flesh ruled my life.

When I was mastered by the desires and thoughts of my Spirit-less life.

I was deserving of wrath. Did I really say that word? Wrath? Yes, God’s righteous wrath.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.

This is the New Exodus! The rescue that our great deliverer won for us. Jesus Christ our Redeemer and our Savior!

Jesus spoke into our depravity and our slavery to sin and called out with authority: “Let my people go!”

Satan had to let go.

The world’s ways could no longer keep us enthralled and bound.

Even our own fleshly passions and sinful desires could no longer hold us.

“Let my people go!”

And by his grace, we have fled from Egypt. We have crossed the Red Sea. We have encamped at Mount Sinai. We have left the land of the Iron Furnace. Pharaoh and his army are floating in the sea. We are free!

But it is easier to get Israel out of Egypt than it is to get Egypt out of Israel.

Many of the remnant of evil desires, fleshly passions, and Satan’s thought patterns are deeply ingrained in us.

How do I grow to be more like Christ? How do I leave the lifestyle and thoughts of Egypt behind? How do we become a thoroughly new person? How do you?

I still hear the words, “Let my people go!”

Jesus is still about the business of saving his people until Egypt, the ways of this twisted world, are completely removed from our hearts and we are free. . . . inside and out.

I still need a Savior.

Every day, I need the Savior.

Every day, I need to hear him say, “Let my people go!”

Although we have left Egypt, sometimes we can still hear the chariot wheels pounding after us, seeking to chase us down. Pharaoh doesn’t give up easily.

But little by little, over the months and years, we become progressively free from what had us in chains. Progressively, Egypt is further and further in our rear-view mirror. Egypt is shrinking in my memory. Harder to see. Falling beyond sight. Good riddance!

Christ has liberated us decisively on the cross. God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.

Already we are saved. Already we have left Egypt behind. Already we have crossed the Red Sea. It is by grace you have been saved.

Already we are on our way to the Promised Land. Already we can enjoy foretastes of the eternal joys of the land of milk and honey, where the pleasures of God will thrill our hearts forever and ever.

And yet.

Christ is still in the process of removing Egypt from our hearts.

May you do your work in our hearts, Lord. May you give us new hearts, hearts of flesh and not of stone.

May you set us progressively free. May you sanctify us by your truth. Your word is truth.

May we follow hard after you all the way to the promised land.

O come, O come, Immanuel.

And ransom captive Israel, who mourns in lonely exile here.

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice.

Rejoice!

Immanuel, shall come to thee, O Israel.

And we shall be home.

Egypt shall no longer live in our hearts.

Christ shall be all in all.

And we shall be finally, fully,

home.

Sincerely,

Pastor Tom