“Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his Help, whose Hope is in the Lord his God.”

Psalm 146:5

True freedom is never found in an absence of one’s enemies or problems, it’s experienced in the midst of them and only comes from Christ, the true Prince of Peace.

We all have them—those “markers” or mileposts in our nation’s history that remind us of a time when freedom reigned. For the Jews, it’s their deliverance from 430 years of slavery in Egypt, which is still celebrated by their annual Passover until today. For the United States, it’s today, which marks their Declaration of Independence from English oppression and control. For Filipinos, it’s MacArthur’s famous “I shall return” landing near Tacloban City, Leyte, on October 20, 1944, when he helped liberate the island from Japanese control.

But, again, these are only “moments in time” that remind us of “what happened back then.”

In reality, our whole world “groans and travails” (Rom. 8:22) even today like a woman in childbirth pangs. Israel yearns to be free of continual, deadly persecution from the Arab nations, while they long to be free of Israel’s existence. Numerous nations around the world long to be free of the threat of terrorism and jihad, while the Islamic extremists long to be free of “infidels.”

Abused spouses long to be free of those who abuse them. Those ravaged by strongholds of drugs, drink, sexual immorality, etc., long to be freed from these “demons’” grasps. Yet, it seems nothing or no one can help them.

That’s why today’s Manna reminds us of the “secret” of true Joy: The God of Jacob. The Lord God. Jesus, the Christ.

In vv.7-9 we read of His great “Liberation Ministry:”

“He executes judgment for the oppressed (Heb. ‘ashaq’—‘those violated, deprauded, pressed down upon, used up, etc.’)”—those who have been trampled on or taken advantage of by others (v.7a). But do not lose hope; God is a Just God Who will one day make things right.

“He gives food to the hungry” (v.7b)—both literally and figuratively; if He feeds the sparrows, He’ll feed you, Pilgrim (Mt. 6:26; Ps. 37:25). He’s a faithful Supplier (Phil. 4:19).

“He looses the prisoners” (v.7c)—again, both literally and figuratively. Even if we’re in a prison of our own making, He still loves us and delights in “soul-liberation.”

“He opens the eyes of the blind” (v.8a)—whether physically or spiritually, ours is a Miracle-working God, Who specializes in doing that which seems impossible.

“He raises them that are bowed down” (v.8b)—regardless of what weighs us down, He still invites us to come rest with Him as we “cast on Him all of our burdens” (Mt. 11:28-30; I Pet. 5:7).

“He preserves (Heb. ‘shamar’—‘to hedge about with thorns, protect, guard, watch over, etc.’) the strangers” (v.9a)—no matter where we are as pilgrims or sojourners, He’s also there.

“He relieves (Heb. ‘uwd’—‘to restore, encompass, lift up, stand upright, etc.’) the fatherless and the widow” (v.9b)—how precious these suffering saints are to Him (James 1:27).

“But the way of the wicked He turns upside down” (v.9c)—for now it may seem like evil is victorious; but, never forget: There is a Day of Reckoning. Amen and amen. Trust Him.

July 4, 2011