One of the most precious gifts from God is freedom. Just as America celebrates its freedom each July 4th, most nations, cultures or races that had one time been oppressed in some form stop to celebrate their independence.
In the book of Joshua , after God established Israel as a nation. we read what will be a common phrase in the bible established Israel in the promised land…
Joshua 21:44New King James Version (NKJV)
44 The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.
King Solomon also recognizes that God has given him and the nation rest from all enemies or adversaries…
1 Kings 5:4New King James Version (NKJV)
4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence.
But unfortunately, each time that Israel was granted peace and freedom from adversaries, that rather than growing closer to God, they eventually used that peace and freedom to begin compromising their relationship with God and began serving other God’s, allowing their leisure to become a distraction…
Judges 2:11-12 (NKJV)
11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger.
Even though King Solomon initially used God’s rest from enemies to build the temple, he eventually began using his peace and freedom from calamity to marry many unbelieving wives who led him to compromise his relationship with God to please his wives…
1 Kings 11 (NKJV)
11 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— 2 from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. 8 And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
These are just two examples of how Israel and Solomon squandered their ‘rest’ from enemies…they squandered their freedom.
When Israel allowed their freedom to become a distraction, God always allowed them to become oppressed to bring their hearts back to Him.
I just want to use this as a quick reminder that freedom is a gift of God. And that we should never take it for granted.
I also want to remind us, that just as Solomon initially used his rest to build the temple and write numerous Proverbs, that we should use our freedom to honor God, build His Kingdom and share His truth.
We should not use our freedom as an opportunity to…
Become disobedient to God’s word.
Live or endorse lifestyles contrary to His word.
Become negligent in or totally abandoning His worship.
Or totally turn to other Gods.
It’s God’s will that we enjoy our freedom.
It’s God’s will that we use our freedom to glorify Him.
It’s God’s will that we use our freedom to grow closer to one another.
It’s His will that we use our freedom and peace to make our lives and the lives of others better.
Use your freedom to grow stronger and not weaker…
Don’t squander your freedom.