Releasing Our Lives From Bondage
Satan, the new taskmaster, is breaking people and families down. He has put in our minds that we can't stop using drugs, that we can't stop being sexually immoral, that we can't stop gambling, that we can't get out of debt, that we can't succeed. The key to overcoming the slave mentality is faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
by Dr. Henry Johnson
Slavery dates back to the early days of the Bible. A slave was
considered a person bound in servitude to another human being,
an instrument of labor, one who had lost his liberty and had no
rights. The ancient practice of slavery existed in several
different forms in biblical times. Household and domestic slaves
were the most common slaves. There were also Temple Slaves
assigned to the Levites for temple services.
In the Bible, a person could be purchased as a slave, as in the case of Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers for 20 shekels of silver (a shekel is worth about 88 cents, so 20 shekels is worth about $17.60). The children of Israel could buy foreign slaves. People captured in war frequently became slaves. Occasionally those who wanted slaves might kidnap them, but this practice was forbidden by the Jewish law. People could become slaves in several ways. The poor who were unable to pay their debts could offer themselves as slaves. A thief who could not repay what he had stolen could also be sold as a slave. Children born of slave parents became “house-born slaves.” Sometimes, children would be taken as slaves in payment for debts.
The Bible certainly shows us that slavery is an old practice. With this old practice of slavery, there comes a mindset or mentality that is found in a person or a people that have experienced slavery. We want to look at this slave mentality today and discover how to overcome it.
As the Book of Exodus opens, it lets us know that a new pharaoh is on the scene. He was not familiar with the blessing that came from God as He used Joseph. This pharaoh saw the Children of Israel as a threat rather than a benefit because they had been fruitful and multiplied. The children of Israel had grown in great numbers, so Pharaoh was afraid of what might happen if they turned against him or joined with another nation.
Pharaoh had them put into slavery. The burdens of slavery were great because the Egyptian taskmasters were mean. The children of Israel began to cry out to God, asking to be rescued from the bonds of slavery. God sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt. After the final plague— the death of the first born— Pharaoh let them go. Exodus 12:41 lets us know that at the end of 430 years the children of Israel physically left the bonds of slavery. Scripture says they went up out of Egypt that same day, but notice I said they physically left their bonds of slavery because they still had a slave mentality.
In our text, we find the children of Israel free but experiencing their first problem since being set free. Their backs were against the Red Sea and Pharaoh was chasing them. Notice the text, it says And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
This demonstrates their slave mentality
In their 430 years of slavery, the children of Israel knew what
was expected of them. They knew their job and their social
position. They simply had to do the what they were told by the
taskmaster and stay in their place. This certainly didn't take
any thinking and caused them to be crippled mentally. This
people of God had seen the power of God in the plagues and their
deliverance, but when they are faced with a problem they were
ready to go back into slavery. They were ready to go back into
slavery because they had a slave mentality. This mentality told
them that it would be better to be a slave than be free. They
were ready to go back because they lacked faith in God even
though they saw His power. They were ready to go back because
Egypt was their comfort zone. After all, they knew what to
expect and what their place was as slaves.
I tell you the slave mentality makes you think that you can only make it under the bonds of slavery. They were free and had experienced the power of God, but yet they doubted Him. The slave mentality made them see the obstacles rather than the possibilities. It made them think they could not trust the very one who brought them out of slavery to keep them safe. When you follow the wilderness journey of the children of Israel, you find that each time they experienced a problem, they were ready to go back to Egypt— back to slavery. The slave mentality had severely crippled them. It was God's divine purpose to let them wander in the wilderness to develop their faith. When they finally placed their faith in God, they were able to overcome the slave mentality. When they began to walk by faith, they went in and possessed a land flowing with milk and honey.
My dear friends, here we are in the year 2003 and many are still crippled by the slave mentality. Just look around and you see people still in bondage. Some of the forms of slavery we see today are drugs, sex, gambling, finances, lack of ambition, and lack of education. Our society is experiencing a plague as Satan, the new taskmaster, is breaking people down and families down. He has oppressed them and put in their minds that they can't stop using drugs, that they can't stop being sexually immoral, that they can't stop gambling, that they can't get out of debt, that they can't make it through school, and that they can't succeed.
Just look around and you will see those who are bound by the slave mentality. They will tell you that they can't break free. They will even tell you that they don't have enough strength to overcome their situation. They just don't feel they can break away from these things, so they are stuck thinking there is no hope. Look around a little more— you see children dropping out of school, children having babies, children being treated like something you throw away. You see a generation coming up that doesn't want to work but yet they want to live large and in charge: that is a new type of slavery.
I am certainly concerned today because the future is not looking good if we continue in the direction we are going. Somewhere along the road we have lost our direction. Our history is one of great family ties, a high moral standard, and a strong faith. Listen to some of the words of Lift Every Voice and Sing:
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way
Thou who hast by Thy might, Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, May we forever stand
True to our God, True to our native land
This song tells of our journey as a people and as Christians. There is no doubt that it is God who helps us overcome. There is no doubt that there is hope.
If things are going to get better, we must do something. Those of us who have overcome through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ must reach out in love and help others overcome the slave mentality. We must tell them that they were set free a long time ago. We must tell them that they were set free by the precious blood of Jesus.
We must tell them how Jesus cried out It Is Finished and that He cried this out to let the world know that sin no longer can hold us back and that Satan no longer has any power. We must tell them that if they will, by faith, accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, that they will receive power from the Holy Spirit. This power will make them strong enough to overcome the grip of Satan. They will be able to stand and know that they can do all things though Christ who will give them strength. We have to tell them so they can overcome the slave mentality.
The key to overcoming the slave mentality is faith in God, faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, and walking in this faith and not our own strength but in the strength of the Lord.
Just Keeping It Real!
No. 363 Nov 6, 2011
And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. —Eph 4:11-16
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Henry Johnson Ministries.
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