Independence Day

From Rev. John Odhner, Assistant to the Pastor
July 2, 2019

The Lord said to Israel through Moses, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Moses said these words when the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the edge of the promised land of Canaan. They had been freed from slavery and now they could use that freedom to daily choose to obey the Lord’s commandments and be blessed or to disobey and suffer. Literally, it seems that the Lord curses the disobedience, but a spiritual view of it shows that the threat of a curse is a warning about the suffering we bring on ourselves through our bad choices.
The story of being redeemed from slavery and tyranny so that we can have daily freedom is a reflection of the Lord’s work of redemption. The Lord came into the world to overcome the hells and so set us free from the overwhelming influence that hell’s evil had gained over the human mind. In the New Testament, we see the Lord casting out evil spirits who had taken possession of human minds. In His second coming, the Lord performed a similar judgment in 1757, creating a spiritual freedom that resulted in a wave of country after country throwing off the chains of tyranny and slavery. So today, we celebrate a religious freedom that allows us to daily choose between good and evil.
We can see our spiritual freedom in our ability to think about God and heaven whenever we choose, “70 times a day or 300 times a week,” (True Christian Religion 480) if we want. No pressure makes us decide whether to do this. If we daily choose to follow the Lord’s commandments, we will be blessed in many ways, inwardly if not outwardly, eternally if not temporally.
As we celebrate our freedom and independence, let us especially choose to use our freedom by turning our thoughts away from any desire to control others, and thinking about God and heaven 70 times a day 300 times a week.

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