As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, “Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians”? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’ But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’ Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.’
"The Egyptians who you see today, you will never see again."
Not only will the Hebrew people be free from slavery, they will never have to face their oppressors again. Never see them on the way to the market. Never deal with them at PTA meetings. Never hear of them in the news. Never have them move into their new neighborhood in the promised land. The liberated people of God never have to see their oppressors again.
My husband and I have embarked on some radical life changes lately. After a summer spent recovering from major surgery, I realized that I no longer want to be enslaved to sugar. Is slavery to sugar the same thing as slavery to the Egyptians. Of course not; it's not the same thing. But slavery is slavery. And the primary story of the scriptures is nothing if not a story of a liberating God and a liberated people. And if I can underline my point once more, I turn to the apostle Paul who says it is for freedom that Christ set us free. (Galatians 5:1) Freedom, liberation, salvation - this is what our story is all about.
And so back to my sugar addiction.
I asked my husband if he wouldn't try (once again) to rid our diet of things that I believe are not adding to our health, physical and mental and perhaps spiritual too. Starting August 3, we systematically went off sugar, gluten, dairy and caffeine. By August 18, all of those products were out of our house. We haven't eaten processed food since then. I have spent close to 2 hours in the kitchen each day preparing, cooking and cleaning. My first complaint was that I was used to thinking about dinner but now I had to think about breakfast and lunch too. It takes a lot of work to be healthy.
The other thing it takes is to not see the unhealthy things we can't eat. There are a few foods that aren't necessarily bad for me that I still do not let in the house. Why? Because if I purchased peanut butter, I may cuddle with it and a spoon while I watch tv at night. I don't buy gluten free cookies or other snacks from the gluten free aisle because I don't want to eat it. If I have it in the house, I will eat it.
Instead I have fruit. I have coconut milk for smoothies. I've learned how to make pudding with chia seeds. And because I can name for you my go to food for when I simply must eat something, I am reminded that I am still quite enslaved to food. Yes, I used the word enslaved.
Addiction is slavery. Addiction to anything, alcohol, drugs, attention, facebook, my smartphone, food and work. Addiction is slavery. And this foundational story from the scriptures reveals to us God's ultimate hope for us - liberation. The people were not partially liberated. They were wholly liberated - so that they would never see their oppressors again. When the oppressor is completely gone from the picture, then the oppressed are no longer running away from slavery. When the oppressor is no longer in the review mirror, the liberated are free to live.
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