Slavery and segregation are only two of several derogatory terms that still arouse emotions when remembering the struggles of our people during a vile period in America’s history. Some people would like to forget this painful past, and others prefer to revive it. Consequently, these preferences pose the greatest threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of peace in our nation and the world.
Biblical history was misinterpreted and erroneously used to justify human degradation in America. However, reading Exodus 1:7-11, it is obvious that the mentality of slave practice and oppression derive from the selfish motives of man’s sin nature, fear, and ignorance of the true knowledge of God—His plan of salvation, His purpose, and the fulfillment of His promise.
(Exodus 1:7-11, “But descendants of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, and the land was full of them. Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, Behold, the Israelites are too many and too mighty for us [and they out-number us both in people and in strength]. Come; let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply more and, should war befall us, they join our enemies, fight against us, and escape out of the land. So they set over [the Israelites] taskmasters to afflict and oppress them with [increased] burdens”). -AMPLIFIED-
The most revealing and astounding truth in the biblical account of slavery, oppression and bondage, recorded in the book of Exodus chapters 1–11 is God’s command for freedom, and His sovereign acts that brought it to pass in response to the prayers of His people. The mass exodus from Egyptian bondage and slavery reveals God’s perspective on the oppression and affliction of His people—all people, both naturally and spiritually. God does not delight in slavery or bondage of any kind. The truth is, He delights in delivering people from bondage… He is a Deliverer!
Despite America’s scornful past, subliminal prejudices and injustices of the present, we hold to this truth—God created all men equal. Therefore, knowing this, and being motivated by a pure conscious rather than a bitter heart, we prefer not to forget.
If we forget, we have no definite measurement for progress.
If we forget, we dishonor those who sacrificed their lives in the fight for freedom and justice for all.
If we forget, we devalue the freedoms of today, and diminish the hope of a better tomorrow.
If we forget, we forfeit our inalienable rights from the Creator who made us in His image and His likeness.
Furthermore, if we forget, we denounce the gift of grace, by settling for less than what God predestined for all mankind.
Although these pains of the past pierce our soul upon remembrance, still we must not forget, lest we dismiss invaluable lessons from our ancestors—their character, their strength, and fortitude in the face of opposition and inhumane adversity. Therefore, let us continue to cherish the legacy of faith and inner strength that they received from the Lord, the Creator of the heavens and earth, who faints not nor grows weary; who gives power to the faint; and to him who has no might He increases strength.
Perhaps, remembering the plight of our ancestors will inspire us to wait patiently upon the Lord for renewed strength; to mount up as eagles, run and not become weary, walk and not faint. Perhaps, we will be able to sing with assurance, “we shall overcome”; and declare with authority we are more than conquerors, and no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Then, we could envision victory over present challenges, and passionately pursue the higher call to purpose as we go from faith to faith and glory to glory.
As Christians, we cannot forget this period in American history. Moreover, it is out of a pure conscious that we definitely must not allow the revitalization of dismal past. If we do, we demean our character as followers of the disciplines of Christ, and discredit the finished works of Christ on the Cross at Calvary, where He paid the price for our freedom so that we would no longer be slaves to sin, nor to men.
Therefore, we, the Church of Jesus Christ must shoulder the responsibility of advancing the Kingdom of God—move America and the world forward in pursuit of true freedom, life, liberty and the pursuit of peace and happiness by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. For the gospel alone has the power to bring total deliverance. It alone has power to expose the truth, and eradicate the desire to revive a past that was rooted in evil, governed by fear and sanctioned by hatred, that manifested in suppressing and oppressing others. Thanks unto God, because the Christ of Exodus still commands, “Let my people go!”
As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, let us remember to always give thanks to God because the Christ of Exodus commanded, “Let my people go!” And the process began in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation. It has been a long process and a tiresome fight for civil rights. We have come a long way; but we still have a ways to go because the fight now is to free souls—all souls.
Although the times have changed, the command is the same, “Let my people go that may serve me…”
Question is who will commit to carrying out the command and leading people out of spiritual bondage? Who will answer the call, go boldly into the enemy’s camp; stand in the face of opposition as God’s representative and declare to this generation the real need is spiritual emancipation. Will you?
©2010 Queen E. F. Phillips.