OUT OF EGYPTIAN BONDAGE
How is the bondage of Israel in Egypt described?
"And the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage." Exodus 2:23. Compare with James 5:1-4.
Who heard their groaning?
"God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." Verse 24.
What did God say to Moses?
"Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto Me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt." Exodus 3:9, 10.
In giving Israel His law, how did God describe Himself?
"I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Exodus 20:2.
PROTECTION AGAINST PERMANENT BONDAGE
How did God protect Israel against slavery?
"And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in'the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floOr, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath bleSsed thee thou shalt give unto him. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day." Deuteronomy 15:12-15. "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangei-s in the land of Egypt." Exodus 22:21. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3,.4.)
What was one reason why Israel should keep the Sabbath?
"And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day." Deuteronomy 5:15.
NoTE.—This would suggest the idea that in their servitude and oppression in Egypt they had had difficulty regarding the observance of the Sabbath, which is a fact. From the accusation brought against Moses and Aaron by Pharaoh, as recorded in Exodus 5:5—"Ye make them rest [Heb., Shabbath] from their burdens"—it is plain that the Sabbath had been denied them, that they had been required to work on the Sabbath, and that Moses and Aaron were teaching them to keep it. Where individual rights and religious liberty are recognized, Sabbath observance is neither denied nor required by civil law.
What was to be proclaimed in Israel every fifty years?
"And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." Leviticus 25:10.
Because Israel failed to do this, became oppressive, and disre- garded and misused the Sabbath, what did God do?
"Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ye have not hearkened unto Me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and / will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." Jeremiah 34:17. (See also Jeremiah 17:24-27; 2 Chronicles 36:19-21.)
What fault did God find with Israel's fasts?
"Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness." Isaiah 58:3, 4.
What does God set forth as the acceptable fast to Him?
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen ? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?" Verses 6, 7.
NoTE.—All this shows that God loves liberty and hates bondage.
CHRIST'S MISSION OF DELIVERANCE
What was Christ's mission to this world?
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." Luke 4:18.
NOTE.—The Gospels show that a large part of Christ's time even on the Sabbath was devoted to relieving the oppressed and distressed. In what condition are those who commit sin? "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." John 8:34.
Why was Christ's name to be called Jesus?
"And thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21.
What lies at the root of all sin?
"When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin." James 1:15. "I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Romans 7:7.
Note.—Lust, covetousness, and unlawful desire are only different names for selfishness. Selfishness lies at the root of all sin; and selfishness is simply the love of self to the diregard of the equal rights of others.
By what scripture is the equality of rights clearly shown?
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Leviticus 19:18.
What rule has Christ laid down in harmony with this?
"Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Matthew 7:12.
NoTE.—Selfishness, then, must be uprooted from men's hearts before they will recognize the equal rights of their fellow men.
Who alone can cleanse men's hearts from selfishness?
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. (See also 1 John 1:9.)
Who alone, then, can give men real freedom?
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36.
TOLERANCE AND TRUE WORSHIP
What was Christ's attitude toward unbelievers?
"If any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." John 12:47.
What spirit did Christ say should control His disciples?
"But Jesus . . . saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." Mark 10:42-45.
What is present where the Spirit of the Lord is?
"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Corinthians 3:17.
What kind of worship only is acceptable to God?
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." John 4:23, 24.
"FREEDOM and and reason make brave men;
Take these away, what are they then?—
Mere groveling brutes, and just as well
The beasts may think of heaven or hell.
"Know, then, that every soul is free
To choose his life, and what he'll be;
For this eternal truth is given:
That God will force no man to heaven.
"He'll call, persuade, direct him right,
Bless him with wisdom, love, and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind."