Tyrant and Idol

I was recently listening to a discussion on the book of Exodus, and one of the key themes that emerged was tyranny, oppression, and slavery, and the willingness and need to stand up against it. Naturally, this is relevant today. The thought occurred to me as I was listening that throughout the biblical narrative tyranny is not the source of the problem. The book of Judges gives a concise picture of what I mean. As long as Joshua was alive, the people were faithful to Yahweh. When he and the elders died, the people turned away and served other gods, the gods of the surrounding nations. So, Yahweh gave them over to the service of those gods and the foreign kings, who oppressed them—and false gods always demand child sacrifice. After some time, the people called out to Yahweh and he sent them a deliverer who fought off the tyrant, freed them from slavery, and set things in order, judging the people rightly. This is the story of the exodus, of the Babylonian captivity, and of Christ’s life and mission on earth. The thing that struck me is that the oppression is the first part of the cure given by God to free us from the slavery of sin and idolatry. As long as things are going well, or at least not too uncomfortably, we will never give it up; we don’t even recognize it as slavery. But when the external oppression gets hard enough or goes on long enough, the people begin to turn. At that, even that first feeble crying out for help, He comes and brings deliverance. So, we are fighting the wrong thing. We are fighting the medicine rather than the illness. I do not say to go along with the vain plottings of the kings of the earth. That is simply more idolatry. I say that if we throw away the idols, the deliverance will come.



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