Friday, January 11, 2013

Bondage Breakers by Martin Wiles

Except for a few who were owned by compassionate masters, it was a wretched existence.

Around 12 million Africans were shipped to the Americas between the 16th and 19th centuries-the majority going to sugar plantations in the West Indies or Brazil and the remainder to what is presently the United States. The 1860 United States Census shows the slave population at four million with roughly one in four families in the slave states owning slaves.

House servants were in demand in the North and in southern cities, but the majority of slaves worked on large plantations and farms. Under chattel slavery, a person and his or descendants were owned. Life was miserable and freedom only attainable by running away-which was difficult and dangerous, or by manumission wherein the owner freed the slave.

God’s people knew a little about bondage. Disobedience put them in Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian captivity, but in all cases God reminded them why they were there and what was required for freedom. Therefore, say to the people of Israel: “I am the LORD. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm” (Exodus 6:6 NLT).

Though slavery has been almost universally abolished, bondage hasn’t. Addictions to substances, power, possessions, pornography, abuse, and popularity still abound, but the key to freedom remains the same. A relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ is still the bondage breaker. In itself, it won’t make all enslaving habits immediately disappear, but it will set us on a course toward healing. Disobedience-in whatever area, always enslaves, but obedience results in the greatest Emancipation Proclamation of all time. Let God free you from enslaving actions and attitudes. Admit your helplessness, and turn to him in faith.

Prayer: Father of liberty, we admit our frequent forays into areas that later enslave us to actions and attitudes better left alone. But we rejoice in the bondage breaking You offer upon our request for freedom.

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