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Trading Freedom For Bondage

 

In Genesis 47 we see how a nation of people handed over their freedom to the state in order to survive and keep any resemblance of affluence they were used to.     

 

Joseph was a shrewd businessman.  He made lots of money for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.  That's why Pharaoh liked him so much.  Joseph had stored up lots of food in advance of the famine God told him would come.  During the famine, he sold the food to Egyptians and other nations. The proceeds ended up in Pharaoh's pocket.  There's always somebody who profits from disaster.

 

The Egyptians soon ran out of money to buy food.  They accepted Joseph's deal to exchange their livestock for food.  Once that food ran out, the Egyptians had nothing left to buy food with, so they made a deal with Joseph.  Genesis 47:19 says, "buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we and our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh."  That's a sad statement.  Self preservation is a strong motivator, and so is the pursuit of affluence.  These people exchanged their freedom for bondage to obtain food from Pharaoh. 

 

I can't help quoting Francis Schaeffer again.  In his 1976 book entitled, "How Should We Then Live", on page 227 of the hard cover edition, he says the following: "I believe the majority of the silent majority, young and old, will sustain the loss of liberty without raising their voices, as long as their lifestyles are not threatened.  And since personal peace and affluence are so often the only values that count with the majority, politicians know that to be elected they must promise these things.  Politics has largely become not a matter of ideals increasingly men and women are not stirred by the values of liberty and truth but the supplying of a constituency with a frosting of personal peace and affluence.  They (politicians) know that voices will not be raised as long as people have these things, or at least an illusion of these things."      

 

In 1976 Schaeffer foretold that the day would come when people would freely hand over their freedoms and their understanding of truth to the state in order to maintain their personal peace and affluence.  Politicians know this, and they prey on this human frailty. 

 

Thirty four years after Schaeffer wrote those words, it's all coming true.  People everywhere, including those in western democracies, are beginning to emulate the Egyptians of old by selling themselves to the state in order to maintain a peaceful and affluent existence. 

 

This mentality to exchange freedom for bondage is being entrenched in our thinking as I write these words.  Nations around the world have recently bailed out corporations in financial trouble.  These bailouts have helped cement this mentality into our personal psyche.  The next step in the cementing process is now taking place with the bailout of Greece .  Other nations are now standing in line with hands open.  It's hard for me to imagine that we're now rescuing, not just corporations from bankruptcy, but entire nations.                              

 

Many Christians are falling prey to this mentality.  Many of us will hand over our freedom and the truths we claim to believe so we can maintain our peaceful and affluent existence.  Jesus was angry with the Laodicean church of Revelation for this very reason.  This church exchanged the truth of the gospel for affluence.  

 

This all ties in with the events that mark the end of this age.  A charismatic leader will rise in the midst of a world wide financial crisis, something we're now familiar with.  He will offer us personal peace and affluence in exchange for our freedom and our allegiance to religious truth, something else we're beginning to get familiar with.  His stimulus package and bailout program will have no rivals.  As Schaeffer said, the majority will gladly pay the price for these bailouts.  They will exchange their freedom for bondage because they love their personal peace and affluence, and that includes many so-called Christians.     

 

Whether Christians will be on earth when the anti-christ offers this exchange might be debatable.  Whatever the case, we're well on our way to this last great exchange.  The ground-work is being laid right now.  Christians are being confronted with issues that challenge our allegiance to Jesus and Biblical truth.  We're being asked to trade in our freedoms and our Biblical convictions in the name of tolerance and the good of the state.  That presents us with a problem, or at least with a decision to make.  Our allegiance is first to the Kingdom of God, not to the kingdoms of men.  Where do we stand on the countless confrontational issues that are making us decide between the two kingdoms?  It's time to stand firm on the side of Biblical truth.  We can't shrink back and retreat.  As Hebrews 10:39 says, "we are not those who shrink back," because, as Revelation 12:11 says, "we do not love our lives so much as to shrink from death."  That means we'll die before we compromise the Kingdom of God.  This is the conviction we now need.  I think that many of us don't have this conviction.  Many will shrink back and retreat because they have devalued the Bible to such a degree that they no longer hold to any Biblical convictions.   I believe the Bible calls this the "falling away" that we will see at the end of this age. (2 Thessalonians 2:3)   

 

"Jesus, help us not be those who shrink back and fall away."                       

 

 

 

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