The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, “The Lord your God has brought this disaster on this land, just as he said he would. For these people have sinned against the Lord and disobeyed him. That is why it happened. But I am going to take off your chains and let you go…The whole land is before you—go wherever you like. – Jeremiah 40:2-4
Nebuzaradan was the chief official of the Babylonian king during the exile of the Jews. He was ordered by the king to find Jeremiah and release him and let him live in Judah. The captain of the guard found Jeremiah bound in chains and being exiled to Babylon. He freed the prophet and confirmed to him that all that had happened to his nation occurred because of the people’s sins and rebellion against God. However, Nebuzaradan allowed the prophet to go free and dwell wherever he desired. In the process of freeing Jeremiah, the captain told him that he would take off his chains and let him go. He was a free man.
I see here a picture of what happens to people in their lives when they walk in the flesh versus walking in the Spirit’s ways. When we decide to do our thing and sin against God, we enslave ourselves to our sin. We allow chains to be fastened to us and bind us to its will. The sin begins to become our master and coaxes us to do its bidding – to rebel against God.
On the other hand, when we do what God desires and follow the Spirit’s leading, we are set free from the bonds of sin and are at liberty in Christ. We no longer have the cravings and desires to indulge in sensual pleasures and all manners of evil that separate us from God’s fellowship. Instead, we become filled with God’s love and a desire to obey him and serve him and most importantly LOVE him above all else. That desire comes not out of coercion but out of respect, reverence and love for the One who set us free from the chains of sin that enslaved us.
Jeremiah was obedient to the LORD and loved him with all his heart, soul, and mind. There was no one or nothing that would or could come between this prophet and his God. Because of his continued obedience, the prophet was spared by God from going into exile. He was permitted to live in his homeland and go freely about it. God wants to do the same for us. He has given us this life to enjoy and experience, but he doesn’t want us to squander it on the sensual and sin. We must choose to walk according to the Spirit and not after our earthly desires. For if we do the latter, we will have a consequence to pay. The former brings life, an abundant life to the fullest.
Will you join me in loving our God with all that is in us? Above all else? For when we do, he sets us free from bondage and makes life worth the living. I don’t know about you, but I want to have as much freedom in Christ that I am allowed to have. To spend one day in the presence of our God is worth far more than the temporary pleasure we derive from this fleeting existence called humanity. For in Christ is freedom; in sin is death. Choose this day whom you will serve. The choice is yours for the making. Christ means freedom to live for God and worship him. A life of sin means eternal separation from God in torment. Again, the decision is yours for the making. You can choose God and be free, or you can choose your way and die.
Father, thank you for giving new life and great freedom in your Son, Jesus. He died and paid the price for my freedom, and I am very grateful that you chose to love me and save me from my certain doom of eternal death. When I answered your beckoning and received your gift of eternal life through Jesus, I never knew such freedom could be possible. There are times where I have willfully enslaved myself to the passions of sin and regretted it later, only to rue the day that I chose to go my way rather than follow the narrow path that leads to life. On the other hand, I know that your love and grace are more than enough for me and will empower me to live this life in the flesh through faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. That is freedom! Thank you!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.