Word for Wednesday

When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Psalm 126:1

On November 9, 1989, an official of the new government in East Germany was speaking with reporters about the laws that were to come into effect with the departure of communist hardline leader Erich Honecker, who had ruled with a brutal iron fist until the collapse of communist rule. The official was asked by reporters when the new travel laws were to come into effect. Caught by surprise, he answered, ‘Well, as far as I can see, … straightaway, immediately’. The people of East Germany took him at his word, and within a few hours flooded the border gates to West Germany, demanding to be allowed to cross. The gates opened, and thousands of noisy, smoky little Trabant cars filled with jubilant East Germans flowed into West Germany. Most simply drove around and had a good look before returning to their homes. But they were celebrating the reopening of a border that had been closed for decades and that many people had died attempting to cross. Like the Israelites in today’s text, they were no longer captives.

Although there were many differences, the repression of East Germany was similar to that of the Israelites held captive by Babylon. People in East Germany suffered the lack of liberty and chafed under the repressive rule of the communist dictator. We can understand why they rejoiced when the border was opened and eventually removed. But their oppression was not as bad as the poor sinner who is held captive by his fallen nature and faces a hard life here and a tragic eternity. Those of us who are liberated into God’s salvation have greater cause to rejoice than the freed captives in Babylon and the released population of East Germany. We have been delivered from a much greater oppression, brought into a much greater freedom, and enjoy much greater blessings.

The psalmist speaks of being like those that dream. Today, we would say ‘I can’t believe it!’ And truly, that is the response that we must feel when we consider our deliverance. If you should ever encounter a Christian who is not rejoicing in his salvation, you know that Christian has forgotten the slavery into which he was once immersed, and the delivery that he experienced at conversion. The more we dwell on what God has done for us, the more we rejoice and celebrate. Never will we tire of telling of it, not even in the Glory, where we will understand in fullest measure the wonder of God’s plan of salvation.

Do you feel like celebrating today because God has saved you? How can you feel otherwise? – Jim MacIntosh

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