“In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me”. Psalm 71:2
In the book of Exodus, God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt and established them as His covenant community by giving them His Law. (Exodus 20:1-19). Over and over, they would remember and recite their story, refusing to forget the joy of rescue. Through every trial and test ever after, this story reminded them of what was possible through their compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love.
In this covenant, God outlines what it looks like to be His people. The covenant with Abraham was designed to be a blessing for the whole world and not only Abraham, and this covenant is designed as a ripple effect of redemption. By following these commands, Israel would become a powerful image of God‘s heart on display.
As beautiful as the 10 Commandments are, they are but a glimpse of the Great Commandment that Jesus will outline in His ministry to come. Jesus summarizes the covenant law given to Moses in one Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And love your neighbour as yourself.”
While the covenant law given to Moses shaped the daily life of the people of Israel, the story behind that covenant shaped their identity. The preface to the commands reminds them of where they have been and who brought them on the journey. It was core to their understanding of themselves and God. It shaped how they saw their past, present, and future.
Like the people of Israel who awaited another deliverer and liberator like Moses, we know that longing is satisfied by the arrival of Jesus. We must remember our story and how we were once enslaved. Not in Egypt with physical chains, under the brutality of Pharaoh. But we were once enslaved to sin. It was our exile, bound by its oppressive grip and strength. But Jesus faced down the empire of sin and proclaimed, “Let my people go!”
Jesus is the long-awaited arrival of liberation. He overthrew the power and plagues of sin and became the Passover lamb of sacrifice so that we could be set free! He is our New Exodus! Because of him, we can know the Joy of Rescue.
The people of Israel often retold their rescue stories.
What is yours?
What is your testimony of Joy and Rescue?
How and when did Jesus rescue you? How did that change your life?
Look for an opportunity to share that joy with at least one other person before you celebrate the Joy of Jesus’ birth.