And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
Did their time in captivity remind them at all of Egypt? Surely they had heard the stories of the history of their nation. Surely they’d rehearsed the stories of Pharaoh’s great oppression and God’s great deliverance of Israel. How often they’d longed to return to the land of their bondage. How many times they sought out Egypt instead of God’s best for them. And now they find themselves, in a sense, right back where they started, once again in bondage and oppression, once again serving some master, no longer free and thriving in their own land.
God had once delivered them in a truly miraculous and wondrous way. He had shown Himself mighty in bringing them out of Egypt, destroying their enemies, leading them out to something much better than what they had known. But we forfeit the freedom that He has given us when we forsake Him and His ways and sin against Him. Our wrong choices put us right back into bondage after He has saved us. Destruction can come quickly upon us when we turn our backs on God.
Do we ever end up right back where we started by falling into sin in our lives? After experiencing the gracious salvation of our Lord, do we return to the captivity of our past by disobeying God and indulging in iniquity? Have we forfeited the freedom we’d gained in Christ by submitting once again to the authority of sin? It’s not that we lose our salvation, but we lose that fruitful land, that special place of blessing and favor from God. We lose fellowship with Him. We lose the joy that comes and the fullness that is part of being in a right relationship with God.
Let’s not get to a place in our lives where we’re re-entering captivity because we’ve forsaken God and His ways. Let’s not sacrifice a life of freedom in Christ by choosing sin over obedience. Let’s not take advantage of the mercy and grace of our loving God and allow our great enemy to oppress us and rule over us. We were once in bondage. We were once delivered from that. And if we’re not careful, we may just end up right back where we never wanted to be.