Freedom’s Just Another Word. . .

Kris Kristofferson wrote and performed “Me and Bobby McGee.” I remember Janis Joplin’s beautiful, gritty voice singing the song, and especially the line “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” If you look up the lyrics, a lot of people have commented their understanding of the song, and of this particular verse. A number of people commented that total freedom means having no material goods that one can lose, of have taken. “True freedom comes from having nothing left to lose. As long as we have something to lose, our actions are constrained by our need to protect it. A more modern, anti-consumerism expression of this would be ‘Our things own us,’ ” wrote one person. I’m sure that a measure of freedom can be gained by putting aside material goods, by simply having nothing. But can we simply say that a homeless person is truly free? I equate freedom with independence, with the ability to determine one’s own future, having one’s own sovereignty. Freedom is also the ability to recognize the freedom of others, and to enter into an interdependence with other free persons. I am not free if I am dependent upon people or people governing. I am also not free if I have dependents, people depending upon me taking care of them because they are unwilling to care for themselves.

But for the people of Israel, having been in Egypt nearly four-hundred years, freedom was being out of the bondage to the Egyptian rulers. It seems to me that G-d had other ideas what freedom is for them—and is for us today. G-d allowed a band of brothers, along with their aging father, to live quite nicely in Egypt for a time. As the years became decades, as rulers changed, as the band of brothers grow into a small nation of people, they became a threat to Egypt. Also, Egypt didn’t know the G-d of the Hebrews, the sons and daughters of Israel. Bene Yisrael. Egypt became ‘master’ to the the people of Israel in order to contain them.

So G-d, Who took a band of squabbling brothers into Egypt in the first place, Who then turned them into a nation, wanted to be their only Master. As Y’shuaJesus taught, one can not have two masters. G-d called Moses out of his own exile to lead the people out out of Egypt. G-d would use Moses to led what by then had become a great nation out of Egypt so that G-d’s people could have one Master, the Master of the Universe, the Creator.

When Israel came out of Egypt. . .

Read Psalm 114. It can be seen as the “deliverance of Israel,” as it is titled in my online Bible. It can also be seen as much more. This Psalm describes. . .

“. . .the sea “fleeing,” the Jordan River “retreating,” and the mountains and hills “dancing” in the presence of God.  According to the Radak, these images refer to the events of the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, the splitting of the Jordan River, and Matan Torah (the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai).  The Sea of Reeds (Yam Suf) split to allow Bene Yisrael to escape from the pursuing Egyptian army (Shemot, chapter 14), and the Jordan River split when Bene Yisrael entered the Land of Israel under the leadership of Yehoshua (Yehoshua, chapter 4).  At Matan Torah, Mount Sinai as well as the surrounding hills trembled as the divine presence descended upon the mountain.

“This Psalm declares (verse 2) that when Bene Yisrael earned their freedom from bondage and left Egypt, they became God’s “sacred nation” (“Hayeta Yehuda Le’kodsho”) and His “governed people” (“Yisrael Mamshelotav”).  The event of the Exodus involved much more than simply an oppressed nation earning its freedom; it meant the transformation of Am Yisrael into God’s special nation, with all the privileges and responsibilities that this entails.  The miraculous events that followed – such as the splitting of the sea and the Jordan River, and the Revelation at Sinai – demonstrate the unique status as Am Yisrael, that their freedom from bondage was intended not merely for the sake of personal liberty, but rather to allow them to become the loyal subjects of the Almighty.”  —Daily Tehillim

As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

“We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus responded, “ I assure you:Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free

John 8:30-36 tells us the lack of freedom is more than attachment to material things; it is bondage to sin, which enslaves ones heart. We must be redeemed, says Y’shuaJesus, from our current bondage,and we must continue in Y’shuaJesus’s Word. Y’shuaJesus here speaks in the divine voice, representing the Father, to us on Earth. The Word we are to remain in, the Word that makes us Free, is Y’shuaJesus, the Word of G-d. And the Word is the Word spoken to us through Moses and the Prophets, and we’ve come to accept G-d’s Word spoken to us through His Apostles. It is the whole Word of G-d, we are told by Y’shuaJesus, in which we are to continue. The Bible contains the divine thoughts and words of our Lord, our G-d. Continue in Him, in His Word. Be free.

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