“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.”
― Corrie ten Boom
What does it mean to be a captive? What does it mean to be free?
In the ongoing COVID season this isn’t quite straightforward. Many people feel captive in their homes (voluntary or not) and captive to government. In response, many are proclaiming their freedom (in the US, at least) and acting out some sort of resistance.
One of the things though about both captivity and freedom is that often what is captivity to one is freedom to another. Take the opening quote from Corrie ten Boom. Certain people live their life believe that they are free to hate. Others feel free after they have relieved the hate.
Which person is correct? Both versions are correct…from a certain point of view.
Take the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They felt themselves to be free after they had, effectively, made an agreement (so-to-speak) with the god Mot, the Canaanite god of death. What is particularly interesting is that Mot was the adversary of Baal, the Canaanite god of life and fertility.
Baal had long been a god the Israelites then the Jews kept returning to in lieu of God. That in the face of the pending Assyrian regional dominance they chose the antithesis of Baal is truly strange. However, being allied with the god of death was thought to be a shield from surrounding enemies.
The Jews seemed to view God as their captor. They chose the “freedom” of other gods. As they learned to their dismay, God freed them from…his protection. They learned that the freedom they longed for was actually the chains of captivity.
Without question, in the middle of these verses from Isaiah the tested stone, precious cornerstone, sure foundation is Jesus, at least from a Christ-centered point of view. Jesus is the sure foundation.
While the Jews are making their alliance with death, God is setting the groundwork for True life…the Messiah.
When we read the Gospels, we often infer that Jesus is setting all the Jews free from religious trappings and false teachings. He is. However, we should primarily be looking at ourselves to see what Jesus wants to free us from.
We each have burdens we bear. We each have scars that we have hidden (some well, some not). We also have many things that we believe are freeing but have really become burdens and chains. The problem often is that we view so much from the human perspective, and not God’s.
It’s not that we are God. We do have the Scriptures to guide us. As we hear the word freedom, let us recall that what we view as right or as a right may not be what God seeks for or from us. It may lead us away from God and into chains.
Lord, open our eyes to your freedom. Amen.
1) What is a freedom you appreciate? How could it also be a chain of captivity?
2) What is a cornerstone? How does that apply to Jesus?