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Freedom is walking with God

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ELISA NORMAN

Living Word Jewish-Christian Congregation


Monday, Jan. 18, a celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was held at the library at 225 Cedar St. in Cedar Hill. Jimmy Pierre delivered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech, "I have a dream."

In his speech, he expresses his wish for a day when his children would "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Although technically emancipated, freedom was not fully realized.

In Nehemiah 9, as the Levites lead worship for the newly returned exiles, they say in verses 36-37, "but see, we are slaves . . . because of our sins."

They recount their cycles of rebellion, repentance, and restoration. Although back in the land, they are under the rule of the Persians, to whom they must pay tribute.

Freedom is only partial.

Throughout Nehemiah 9, the underlying message of freedom equates freedom with walking in God’s ways, Torah observance.

God is our creator, our redeemer, our lawgiver, our provider, and our guide.

Although God admonishes us through his spirit (vs 30), we often insist on rejecting his ways and following the ways of the world, resulting in a return to slavery (vs 17).

In rejecting God, we abandon the protection he provides.

We not only lose our own freedom, but we prevent others from enjoying the freedom God offers as well. Rejection of God’s laws resulted in slavery in the United States.

The Torah does not teach us to treat people that way.

God keeps his "covenant of love (vs 32);" our response should be like that of the people in verse 38, who make a "binding agreement" to return to God’s instructions, the Torah.

The Torah is the royal law of love that brings freedom (James 2:8-12).


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