Slaves to sin: 10 ways we respond in bondage

sin slave
We are all slaves to something (Rom 6:17-18). We do thing because we want to, and that “want” is our slave master. At this very moment you are reading these words you are a slave to something. You are either a slave to your addictions, appetites, abuses, or apathies. You can either be a slave to something that is meaningful and liberating or something that is destructive and demeaning. I recently preached on Exodus and we explored this theme of slavery to sin. The Hebrews dealt with slavery in a more physical form. And Moses, the champion-redeemer was sent to save them from Egypt. He spoke to the Pharaoh, petitioning for their freedom, however, Pharaoh the ultimate slavemaster did not relent, and tormented his Hebrew slaves even tighter (Exodus 5:6,9). After this first failure, God tells Moses to remain steadfast, and promised yet again to save the Hebrews (Exodus 6:6). When Moses conveyed this message of deliverance to God’s people, they did not listen because their slavery was so hard. Moses to then gave up, seeing that others were not listening to him (Exodus 6:9-12). God declared a promise, yet the response of His people and His hero, Moses, was not joyful exultation,  but instead a whole array of responses that showed a dejected spirit.

10 WAYS WE REJECT GOD’S WORD

1. Have no hope that change is possible

The people did not listen to Moses because the tangible reality of their suffering sucked the hope out of their lungs (Exo 6:9). The heaviness of their pain removed their confidence in God’s promise. Pain and suffering are often so potent that their physical manifestations remove our ability to see beyond the physical.

2. Allows previous failures to dictate the future

They Hebrews received the news rather exuberantly, the first time (Exodus 4:31). They had truly believed, however, seeing their faith not result in an instant victory caused them grief without end. Previous failures often diminish our ability to believe or obey God’s word.

3. Remain in an addiction to the benefits/pleasures

Later on in the story, the Hebrews lament and remember about the benefits of Egyptian slavery, which included a colorful variety of food that was free (Num 11:5, Exo 16:3). Slavery to sin often has it benefits, they are emotional, physical, psychological highs and pleasures. So often the temporal pleasures of sin blind us from the utter misery of being a slave.

4. Remain out of a love for safety/comfort

While their plight was dire in Slavery, the Hebrews had a form of stability and safety that the desert did not provide. When nearly destroyed in the desert, they begin to complain and look back upon the safety of Egyptian slavery. (Exod 14:11-12). The comforts of a bed, though as a slave to the Pharaoh, outnumbered the discomfort and fear of a freedom in the desert.

5. Live in pain from what others have said

Moses was quite a coward when it came to speaking in front of people, it took God coming nearly face to face with him, and even a little Holy Anger to get him on his mission (Exodus 4:10). And so, when the Hebrews rejected Moses’ good news, he gave up, being hurt by what others had said. It is a pity that far too often the words of others have a greater effect on our life than the word of God.

6. Live in fear of what others will think

Moses had already once been rejected by Pharaoh, and so when God yet again gives him the responsibility to speak to Pharaoh, Moses gives up. He is afraid of Pharaoh, and perhaps scared of another future failure and what the Hebrews will think. So many of us are slaves to the opinions of people, many of which have never even been clearly stated.

7. Feel anxiety at our inability and weakness

Yet again, Moses begins to speak of his own ability, or rather, inability to speak well (Exo 6:12). He is not looking forward to another encounter with the Pharaoh, knowing that his own words cannot ever convince this Slavemaster. So too we repeatedly look to our abilities rather than our Savior.

8. Fear that what God wants isn’t all that good

Those that know this story, recall that the Hebrews spent forty years in a desert, spending more time complaining than traveling. It is likely that they imagined this dire desert trek even before leaving and were uncertain that this “Promised land” was any good. I too have often assumed that the riches of God’s table were not as sweet as I wanted.

9. Lack faith a God

The strength of the external forces of slavery, coupled with the weakness of the internal abilities, left all of the Hebrews, including their great champion, Moses, in a perpetual state of doubt. Even while speaking with God audibly, they did not have faith that He could do anything. If they, though seeing God’s manifest power, were able to doubt him, it is no wonder we are often left asking “God, do you exist?”

10. Assume that God doesn’t care

Perhaps no other pain is stronger than this: knowing that God is real, as the Hebrews witnessed (Exo 4:30-31) yet not believing that He cares enough to save or act in their lives. Knowing that God can do all things, yet not believing that He would do anything for you, this is the deepest pit of despair. How often we find ourselves in this gloom, dreading another day?

FOR TEN EXCUSES GOD HAS ONE ANSWER

God’s chosen people and God’s hero failed to obey, so strong was their discouragement and so harsh was their slavery (Exo 6:9-12). I am certain all of us have followed them in this failure to obey. The story should have rightly ended here. Yet this was only a beginning because there was another Chosen One and another Hero, that has never failed. Even as the Hebrews gave up, God did not. Even as they gave excuses and complained about their weakness, God ignored them, and continued his plan of salvation (Exo 6:13). Even now, as you find yourself in one or many of those responses, turn from them to Jesus. He led the Hebrews out of slavery, and He died to accomplish that in you.

For ten of our failures, God has only one answer: Jesus.

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