Slavery of Sin
Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves.”
This is a sobering verse from the book of Nehemiah. This statement came after the people had finished rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. God had worked greatly in and through Nehemiah and the people of Israel to get them to restore the wall. However, at the completion they looked back to see how they had gotten to this point. They were in their homeland, yet they were slaves. They were not free in their own country. God had given them a land flowing with milk and honey.
And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness. Nehemiah 9:25
What happened to go from thriving in the land that God gave them, to becoming slaves in that very land?
Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. Nehemiah 9:26
They turned away from God and towards sin. They quickly forgot God and all that He had done for them. They began to live just like the people who inhabited the land before them lived. They took God’s gracious gift and squandered it. Instead of being thankful, they began to grow proud and conceited. As Ezra, Nehemiah and the people contemplated the word of the Lord they could clearly see the consequences of sin. They were in the heart of the land God had given them to enjoy, and instead of living in joy they were living in that very land as slaves.
Sin takes God’s good gifts and corrupts them. Sin promises that straying from God and His commands will be fun and for our good. However, it always leads to slavery and ruin. Sometimes we need the sobering reminder of what sin can and will do in our lives. We need to look at the pain and ruin that sin has caused within our own lives and relationships. Thankfully, that is not the end. We do not have to dwell on this alone, we serve a loving and merciful God. He forgives when we confess, repent, and turn back to Him. We have hope, we do not have to be enslaved by sin. We have victory in and through Jesus Christ.
Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. Nehemiah 9:31
God is indeed gracious and merciful! He will give victory over sin to those who turn to Him.