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Choose This, Not That

Choose This, Not That! – Freedom or Slavery (Numbers 11:4-5)

Today’s Reading: Numbers 10-11

Today’s Reflection: Numbers 11:4-5

4) Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! 5)  We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.

After freeing the children of Israel from 400 years of harsh, back-breaking enslavement to Egypt, thereby answering generations worth of prayers (Exodus 3:7-8), God led them through the wilderness.  He guided them step by step with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22), instructed them in righteousness (Exodus 16:28), gave them laws to keep them close to Him and His ways (Exodus 20:1-17), and He provided food for them in the form of manna, bread from heaven (Exodus 16:4-8).

Israel was often not very appreciative of the deliverance and provision they received.

Israel eventually tired of the daily manna and their thoughts turned back to the rich foods they had once eaten in Egypt, the food they describe here as having cost nothing.

Nothing except for their freedom.

It’s amazing how the risk of hardship and the comfort of familiarity can shape the perspective of the human mind.  It can make freedom appear like a burden, and make slavery appear like a treasure.

Here’s the difference.

Freedom allows you to be you.  Who God made you to be.  God made Israel to worship Him, to occupy the promised land of milk and honey, to be the jewel of the earth, to proclaim the goodness of God to a world who didn’t know Him, to bring forth the Messiah, saviour of all mankind.  When you’re who God made you to be you fulfill the promise of what He has placed within you, as Israel did through Jesus.

Slavery robs you of you of the promise your life holds.  Instead of providing fulfillment, it employs your gifts in service of something that destroys you.  Though it distracts you with things that seem valuable—like the food that Israel desired—the cost it exacts far exceeds anything it gives in return.

Freedom is hard at times.  It’s uncomfortable.  It costs.  Winning our freedom cost Jesus His life.  And each of us must pick up our cross, die daily to selfishness , and live sacrificially (Matthew 16:24) to walk in freedom and grow in Christ.  But in freedom you find the most fulfilled expression of your life.  While slavery can be harsh, it’s actually much easier—it requires no growth, no change, there’s no pressure for improvement.  You can just continue the same behaviours, day in and day out and numb the monotony and pain with the distractions slavery offers.

Choose this: Accept the freedom Jesus offers, the freedom He died to give you.

Not that: The lies of slavery and the false promises and temporary comforts it offers.

Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

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