Often we are trapped in frustrating situations—a job, a relationship, debt, or school. What started out as exciting and fresh, becomes a burden and keeps us from pursuing new opportunities. You might think this problem is new, brought on by the stress of the 21st century lifestyle. But throughout scripture individuals and entire nations find themselves needing to move in a new direction only to be trapped.

In the book of Exodus, God puts a plan in motion that will bring the Israelites out of Egypt and into the wilderness where they can freely worship and build their nation. What is cool about the story is how God acknowledges the people’s trapped situation but quickly moves to describe future freedom. In Exodus 3:16–17, God tells Moses to share the plan with the Israelites:

“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’”

The Israelites had been slaves for years. Some of them knew no other life. Yet God speaks a new reality into existence, one of freedom and opportunity.

He does not just tell them they are free though. He describes the promise of freedom. He labels what traps them because freedom cannot come unless we know what we need to be freed from. Let me say that again. Freedom cannot come unless we know what we need to be freed from.

What is the future God has for you? What do you need to be freed from to have freedom?

-Mat Hotho