A Short History of Liberty

  I was going through a file the other day and ran across a a very interesting article by Dean Russell reprinted from The Freeman dated January 1955 and entitled “A Short History of Liberty.” From Biblical times, such as during the period of the judges, and throughout history, we see a pattern that has been repeated over and over of disobedience, discipline, desperation and deliverance.  While the cycle of sin, servitude, supplication and salvation was experienced by God’s chosen people, Israel, we see a remarkably similar pattern among other people groups or nations in the history of the world.  Dean Russell in his article shares ten stages of progress from bondage to liberty. Since we have just completed maybe the most bizarre election campaign in the history of the United States of America and have finally arrived at election day, I thought it would be timely to share a summary (and edited version) of this article, because many of us, due to the spiritual decline of our nation, and the chaos in the world, and the hatred toward the nation of Israel,  have been contemplating the future of our nation and the seeming soon return of the Lord to fulfill the prophecies of Scripture which will conclude history and usher us into the Millennial Kingdom and eternity. 
1.  BONDAGE:  At some point in their histories, all peoples have ended up, due their rebellion against God’s will and Word, in some form of bondage at the hands of an oppressive nation or because their own domestic rulers. As the people recognize they were no longer free, they began to ask themselves “why?”, which leads to contemplation and soul searching, out of which comes…
2.  FAITH:    If people in bondage have no faith—either in a personal Creator or impersonal ideal—they will remain slaves and eventually die out or be absorbed by another culture. But an intelligent faith will almost always develop into …
3.  UNDERSTANDING: A person’s faith needs to be buttressed by an understanding of why it is evil to force any peaceful person to conform to the will and ideas of another person. Otherwise, he is apt to remain a faithful slave or attempt to become a slave owner. But the combination of faith and understanding results in the necessary… 
4.  COURAGE:   You may depend upon it, courageous men with faith and understanding will neither remain in bondage nor keep others in bondage. Even against great odds, this combination leads to…
5.  LIBERTY: Liberty is a relationship among persons wherein no person molests any other peaceful person in his ideas, possessions, or actions. Liberty may also be viewed as the responsibility one assumes for himself and recognizes in all others, for there can be no liberty where there is no responsibility. Liberty has never existed completely among any people at any time; but where it has existed to a high degree, the resulting freedom to work, trade, choose, win, lose, and bargain has always meant…
6. ABUNDANCE:  But if an abundance of material things is the primary aim of a person, his life is devoid of any real meaning (Eccl. 5:10; Lk. 12:15), for if the goal is abundance, its achievement logically results in…
7.  COMPLACENCY:  Complacency and self-satisfaction (the “full barns” of Jesus’ parable in Lk. 12:16-21 inevitably lead to…
8.  APATHY:  With apathy comes a dullness and a loss of interest—a “let George do it” philosophy and there will always be many political Georges around to accept this invitation to seize the reins and the whip. This always degenerates into… 
9.  DEPENDENCY:  For a time, it is possible for dependents to be unaware that they are dependents. As they continue to shed the personal responsibilities which are freedom, they also continue to delude themselves that they are still free people—“We never had it so good.” Or they may be deluded into believing that they are still free so long as they themselves are able to participate in the mechanical processes of selecting their rulers—“We can still vote, can’t we?”  But dependents are at the mercy of the persons or groups or parties upon whom they depend for their housing, or security in old age, or subsidies, or education, or medical care, or any of the other “aids” from political authority which cause persons to depend on others instead of themselves. Sooner or later, this dependency becomes known by its true nature…
10.  BONDAGE: Fortunately, the record shows that people can regain their faith, understand, and courage. They can again become persons and citizens who are responsible for their own welfare, rather than on subsidization (entitlements). The record shows that people can, by their own intelligent actions, regain their liberty any time they want.
     Quite an interesting article, especially since it was written some 61 years ago!  As Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). The key, of course to true freedom is God’s Word and the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32…And not just from knowing it, but from doing it (v. 31).  The Apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth, “But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Cor. 3:15-17).  No matter what the political climate, we can personally experience true freedom by inviting Christ into our life as Savior and Lord, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us through the Word of God (Gal. 5:16,18,22,23). And, as a nation, I believe God’s promise to Solomon concerning Israel is true for us as well: “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chr. 7:14).  Pray with me that we believers in this nation will awaken to our responsibility to live a separated life and be the salt and light to our nation to see a renewal take place. These may be disturbing days to live as Christians, but they are also very exciting, anticipating God’s building His Church and carrying out His purposes for mankind and soon bringing everything to a place of completion.
     I trust you have voted or will still be doing so today. In the previous presidential election, the current president was elected by a mere 5 million votes while some 25-30 million registered evangelical Christians failed to vote!  Just think about that! We have a great privilege and responsibility as citizens of both heaven and earth, to have a voice, voting no only for individuals but thinking of the consequences in terms of issues that affect our values  and the future of our nation. Pray for the salvation of our leaders (I Tim.2:1-4).  Pray for revival of the church. Pray that our nation will move from dependency and bondage to faith.
            Forever His,
                    Pastor Dave
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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