Therefore tell the Israelites: “I am Yahweh, and I will deliver you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.” … Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor. Exodus 6:6-7, 9 HCSB
Redeem: 1. To buy back 2. To get back, recover, as by paying a fee …5. To set free by paying a ransom Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition
Moses told the Israelites God was about to set them free, and they ignored him. What slave would not want to be set free? What forced laborer, sweating in someone else’s fields, building someone else’s pyramids under the unforgiving Egyptian sun, would not welcome a Redeemer?
One who’d been whipped enough to think he deserved it, called a dog enough to believe it the truth. One who had given up hope. One with a broken spirit.
Has your spirit ever been utterly broken? I’ve had some despairing days, but I’m not sure that I’ve been broken the way these Israelites were. It was the kind of breaking that didn’t spring from a one-time tragedy, but from years upon years of misery.
I know some people who are living that sort of slavery. They are men and women addicted to drugs. They are abused wives, too afraid to leave and too afraid to stay. They are children living in homes crawling with rodents with parents zoned out on the couch, waiting for their next fix.
Broken. Often, they are too miserable to believe there is a Redeemer offering to pull them out of that pit.
And sometimes, the misery can stem from situations a bit less graphic, but none the less hope-numbing. An emotionally – but not physically – abusive childhood. A divorce. A lover being thrown away, after trying so hard to make it work. The drudgery of daily facing a hated job.
As Moses told the Israelites, we should proclaim to all those captives: “God says he is Yahweh, and He will deliver you from forced labor and free you from slavery. He will redeem you with His outstretched arm and take you to be his people, and He will be your God.”
And when we are mired in despair, when we, too are tempted to believe all is lost, we need to remember those Israelites. Their Redeemer came for them, even when they were too broken-hearted to believe he would.
Ours will too.