When God delivered the Jews from Egyptian slavery, the first thing He gave the sons of Israel was spiritual freedom from the power of the Egyptian gods. Freedom is found only in worship and service to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Next, God granted Israel freedom in all the main spheres of life. The Israelites received political freedom from the tyrannical rule of the Egyptian Pharaoh. Having delivered Israel from slavery, the Lord showed that no form of political dictate or tyranny is accepted by Him. He is against oppression and social injustice. He granted the Jews the right to choose their own leaders. He also revealed His principles for government and the moral requirements for all leaders.
The Israelites gained economic freedom from unbearably cruel forced slave labor. After being slaves, every Jew was given the opportunity to have a piece of land, work for his own good, and be a blessing to his fellow Jewish brother. God’s law also protected the rights of workers and encouraged employers to provide good working conditions for their paid workers.
The Israelites also received social freedom. The Egyptians tried to control the growing Israelite population when Pharaoh commanded every boy born of the Jews to be killed (Exodus 1:16). Obviously, according to God’s principles, no one government has the right to take the life of a child. Every human being is precious in the eyes of God.
To deliver the descendants of Abraham from Egypt and bring them into the Promised Land was not God’s final plan. His plan was for them to build a society that functioned on His values and principles.
These former slaves needed to learn how to choose their leaders, and the leaders needed to learn how to govern the people. They needed to learn how to live together as one nation under the one true God because they had never lived as a unified society with one religion. The Jews needed to learn how to live in God’s Promised Land and cultivate it. They also needed to understand the value of education, work ethics, family responsibilities, how to care for the poor, widows, and strangers, and many other vital truths necessary for a healthy community. All these things were outlined in God’s law.
The priesthood had a unique role chosen by God. God appointed the tribe of Levi to serve Him more closely than the other tribes of Israel. Levites were called to know and instruct the people in God’s Word. Interestingly, they were the first doctors and responsible for the medical care of the people.
Most of the Old Testament is an account of God and His nation, Israel. As a society, they were to be living examples of God’s Kingdom.
This article is an excerpt from “Influence. Responding to the Call of God”