Read: Proverbs 28:15; Proverbs 29:2; Mark 5:1-20; Isaiah 35
This morning, I was reminded, once again, about the sweetness of freedom. Is anything more precious than when wickedness and cruelty is replaced with freedom, Proverbs 28:15; Proverbs 29:2. The people of Kaif which is only 11 miles from Mosul, Iraq would say amen to that.
It was not long ago that Kaif was on the front lines of the battle with ISIS; However, since Kaif was liberated, half of its people have come back home. They face so much devastation that is all around them, but the good news is that the returnees are not alone. One group who wants to help is Mosaic of the Middle East, a Christian organization who helps restore hope where there has been so much pain. What a blessing they have brought. A bakery and ice cream shop is now open in Kaif, providing jobs and sweets for parties and weddings. Such celebrations are a rich part of Iraqi culture. Can you imagine the joy of celebrations where there has been so much oppression? A place for families to meet and enjoy time together with a sweet treat. Yes, there is a long way to go, but freedom's seeds are being sown, and surely there is great joy for not only those who have returned to Kaif, but those who live nearby.
No doubt, our love for freedom comes from God. Surely, He Who gave us free choice with the desire that we would choose Him, loves freedom. Even when He knew that Adam and Eve would make the choice to disobey Him, Genesis 3, He gave them that most precious gift of being free to choose. This freedom is given to people before they give their lives to the Savior and afterwards too.
1.God never struck Eve with lightning as she was about to take the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
2. The Father draws people, John 6:44. The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, John 16:8. Jesus bids people who carry the heavy burden of sin to come, Matthew 11:28-30 Yet, each one must choose how they will react to the Lord. In Mark 5:1-20, we read the account where Jesus set a demon-possessed man free. When he was set free, the man had such sweet peace that he who had broken chains and cut himself was seen clothed and sitting at Jesus' feet. Wouldn't you think that such a transformation would have everybody begging to know the One Who gave such freedom to a man? Instead, Jesus was asked to leave. What did the Savior do? He acquiesced to their request, and He left. He honored their choice.
3. The Lord leads His children by His Spirit, giving us the ability to obey Him, but again, He doesn't force us to do so. Rather, our disobedience grieves the Holy Spirit Who loves us and Who has sealed us, Ephesians 4:30.
Let's return for a moment to Kaif. Can you picture their joy as they laugh and celebrate together? Can you picture how precious the ordinary joys of life surely are to them? Let's not stop at Kaif. As encouraging as it is to see this foretaste of liberation and freedom, the Bible lets us know about a time when what we will enjoy will be far greater than this.
In Isaiah 35, God paints a picture for us of a kingdom where our joy will be unending and perfect. Imagine Jesus ruling over a world that has peace and freedom the likes of which we have never seen. There will be no physical inequities there, and no unrighteousness. There will be no ugliness or cruelty, and we will be truly free to enjoy God's unending love for us. It will be unfathomable as scripture says, 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Thank You Lord that You have given us free will. Help us use it wisely.