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February 28 Today’s Reading — Deuteronomy 15-18
Today, in this portion of Holy Scripture, the Lord our God calls us to remembrance. Has God saved you by his almighty grace? Are you now numbered among his saints? If so, this is God’s word to you: “Thou shalt remember that thou was a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee.”
The bondage of sin, from which we have been redeemed, was typified by the bondage that the Jews experienced in Egypt. We were all “children of wrath” by nature. We were all the servants, the slaves of our lusts and of Satan by nature. Paul states it plainly, “Ye were the servants of sin” (Romans 6:17, 20). Before God saved us by his grace, we were enslaved by a power against which we were without strength. I do not suggest that we all behaved as wickedly as we could. I am simply declaring that we all walked in the path of sin and rebellion against God. Some were highhanded, openly profligate rebels. Others were sneaky, hypocritical rebels. Some were very immoral. Others were very moral, after the judgment of men. But all were the servants of sin. We had no will to righteousness.
Yet, even if we had had the will to escape the power of Satan and the slavery of our lusts, we were without strength to do so. Have you forgotten that time “when we were yet without strength”? We were without strength to keep God’s law, resist Satan’s temptations, or obey the gospel. And we were perfectly content in our bondage. Our bondage was such that we had no heart, desire, or even inclination to escape it.
I am a Southerner. I am so much a Southerner, that if I were not a Southerner, I would be ashamed. But the greatest blight upon our Southern heritage is that terrible inhumanity that many still try to defend — Slavery. It is one of those things I wish had never happened, or could somehow be erased from memory. But that cannot be. Slavery is one huge, ugly, oozing sore on the side of the South that will forever mar the beauty of the South. One of the worst aspects of slavery is the fact that it so degraded men that they frequently became content to be slaves. Such contentment is a moral castration of manhood. He is not truly a man who is content to be a slave. Yet, such was our spiritual condition by nature that we were content to be in bondage and slavery to sin and Satan. We hugged our chains and kissed our manacles, as if they were ornaments of beauty!
The redemption of our souls by Christ was pictured in the Jews deliverance out of Egypt. As the Jews were redeemed from Egypt by the blood of the paschal lamb and by the blood of the Egyptians themselves, so, too, we have been redeemed by blood, by the price of Christ’s precious, sin-atoning blood. Having sacrificed his darling Son to save us, the Lord God will not hesitate to sacrifice anything or anyone, even as he did the firstborn in Egypt, Pharaoh, and his armies, to save his elect (Isaiah 43:1-4). At God’s set time, we were redeemed by the power of his irresistible grace in effectual calling. In Bible terms “redemption” means deliverance as well as ransom. The word “redemption” implies far more than merely the paying of a ransom price. All for whom the ransom price of blood was paid at Calvary shall be delivered by grace!
In the Word of God we are constantly told to remember what we are by nature and what the Lord God has done for us by his almighty grace in Christ. The reason for this is both simple and clear. Everything in the kingdom of God is motivated by grace and redemption. That which motivates and governs the lives of God’s saints is their remembrance of redemption and grace
Great care was taken by God that the Jews never forget what he did for them in bringing them up out of the house of bondage. He intended for them to be reminded of it everywhere they turned and commanded them to remember it forever. The month of their deliverance was made the first month of the year to them (Exodus 12:2). A special ordinance was established to be kept by the children of Israel perpetually, throughout their generations, until the coming of Christ (Exodus 12:3-14). Even in the giving of their law, they were commanded to remember their redemption from Egyptian bondage by the hand of God (Exodus 20:1-3). The Jews were also required to instruct their children in the matter of redemption. The gospel was to be handed down orally, from father to son, generation after generation (Deuteronomy 6:20-21).
If this was the responsibility of parents in those days, how much more is it our responsibility to instruct our sons and daughters in the gospel of Christ. Seize every opportunity to do so. Explain to your sons and daughters why you worship where you do, the way you do, and why the cause of Christ’s glory and truth are so important to you. — We remember that we were bondmen in the land of Egypt, and the LORD our God redeemed us. Repeatedly, the Jews were commanded by God, “Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee.”
Something far Greater
They were carefully instructed to do so and how to do so. Yet, their deliverance and redemption was only typical. How much more shall we heed this word from our God! Our redemption by Christ and our experience of grace in him must always be held in the forefront, never cast into the background. In all our worship, in all our preaching, in all our teaching, in all our singing, in all our praying, in all our witnessing, in all our living, in all our thoughts, redemption must always be the primary matter of consideration. Redemption and grace by Jesus Christ is not the primary thing in gospel doctrine. — It is everything!
When Paul endeavors to promote peace between Jew and Gentile, he does so by reminding us of our redemption (Ephesians 2:11-14). When he challenges us to godliness and devotion, he does so by reminding us of our redemption (Romans 6:17-18). When he seeks to promote mercy, brotherly love, kindness, and forgiveness among saints, he reminds us of and motivates us by our experience of redemption and grace in Christ (Ephesians 4:32-5:1). — “Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee.”