Freedom means liberty, emancipation, independence or self-determination. It has to do with liberating or delivering people from slavery, oppression or foreign or colonial domination. In the Bible, God called Moses to liberate the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. In the time of Deborah, God called her and Barack to deliver the Israelites from the oppression of the Canaanites. In our own country: Nigeria, God called some of our patriots to liberate us from British colonial rule.

Other types of freedom: The freedom to which God called Moses to liberate the Israelites from bondage and oppression in Egypt; the deliverance of the Israelites from Canaanite bondage by Deborah; and the liberation of our country from colonial bondage is called political freedom. Apart from political freedom we have economic freedom where the nation grows more food to relieve the people from poverty and starvation. The nation frees itself from low standard of living through poverty alleviation programmes to raise the standard of living of her people. The nation also frees itself from over-dependence on one commodity for export (e.g. oil) by promoting the production of other cash crops and minerals for export.

There is also social freedom. This means freedom from ignorance and superstition through sound education; freedom from disease and unhealthy environment through proper medical care and environmental sanitation. There is in addition, freedom of association where the people are free to join any religious organization or political party and be allowed to worship or hold any political ideology, without any hindrance. We also have freedom of speech, where one can speak his mind out on any matter of public interest without persecution. All these kinds of freedom when put together make up our: Human Rights.

 

The birth of Moses in Egypt (Exodus 2:1-10)

The story of Moses’ liberation of the Israelites began with his birth. Moses was born at a time when a new Pharaoh ruled Egypt and did not remember all the good things that Joseph did for Egypt when he was made governor. He enslaved the Israelites and they lost their freedom.

The new Pharaoh said that the number of Israelites in Egypt was high and was growing, and that they could join their enemies to fight them in case of war. Therefore, he ordered the Israelite midwives, Puah and Shiprah to kill all the male children at birth. When they refused, he ordered that all the male children that were born should be thrown into the River Nile to die.

Moses was born when this wicked order was given to throw all the male Israelite children into the River Nile to die. His father was Amram and his mother, Jochabed. Moses’ mother hid him for three months. She then put him into a waterproof basket. She took the basket to that part of the Nile where Pharaoh’s daughter would see him, when she came to take her bath. The princess saw the child; and Miriam, Moses’ sister who was nearby, persuaded her to allow her find an Israelite woman to take care of the baby for her. The princess agreed, and Miriam took the baby (Moses) to her own mother. When the child (Moses) grew up, Moses’ mother brought her to the princess. The princess called him: ‘Moses,’ because she said:

“I drew him out of water.”

 

The call of Moses (Exodus 3:1-15)

The princess brought up Moses in the best of Egyptian civilization. But, Moses kept his Israelite background and identity. Consequently, he did not forget the plight of his people. He used to go out to see their terrible condition. God made him see their oppression. One day, Moses killed an Egyptian who was oppressing an Israelite slave. The next time, he went to separate two Israelites who were fighting. The guilty one asked Moses:

“Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”

Moses was now afraid that his killing of the Egyptian had become public knowledge. And, if Pharaoh got to know about it, he would kill him. Therefore, Moses escaped to the land of Midian. He stayed with Jethro, the priest of Midian. He married one of his daughters called Zipporah. They had a son whom he named Gershon, for he said:

“I have been a sojourner in a foreign land. ”

Moses worked as a shepherd for Jethro. One day, he took the flock to Mount Horeb (or Sinai). He saw a bush burning but was not consumed.

As he drew near to watch the strange sight, God warned him that it was a holy place and he should remove his sandals. Thus, God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush. God then appointed him as liberator to set His people free from slavery in Egypt. God said to Moses:

‘I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings; and I have come to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.’

Moses asked for the name to tell the Israelites if they asked for God’s identity. God told Moses to tell them that:

“I AM WHO I AM has sent me to you.”

The name means that God is to be known through His acts of salvation. Through His saving acts of liberating the Israelites from bondage, they would come to know who He is and what He is. God then told Moses to tell the people of Israel that He is the God of their fathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He had sent Moses to come and help deliver them from slavery in Egypt.

 

Deborah and Barak lead their people to freedom (Judges 4)

When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they promised not to worship another god except God. But when they reached the land of Canaan, they began to worship the gods of Canaan. God became angry, and punished them. As punishment, God would allow other nations to defeat and rule over them for many years.

Whenever the children of Israel suffered under any nation, they would cry to God to save them. God would have mercy on them and raise a Judge (military leader) to deliver them. After the death of the Judge, the people would worship other gods again. God would punish them and they would cry for help. God would show mercy and raise yet another Judge to deliver them. Two of the Judges were Deborah, and Barak.

The children of Israel worshipped other gods in the time of Deborah and Barak. In order to punish them, God allowed the king of Canaan, Jabin to defeat them and rule over them. The children of Israel suffered for twenty years. Then, they cried to God to save them. God had pity on them, and raised two Judges: Deborah and Barak, to save them.

Deborah was the wife of Lapidoth. She was a prophetess, who receives messages from God for her people. God told Deborah to tell Barak to raise an army of the children of Israel to fight the Canaanites. Barak agreed to fight if only Deborah would accompany him to battle. She agreed, but told him that the glory of the war would go to a woman.

Deborah and Barak led the army of the children of Israel against the Canaanites. The Canaanites’ army commander was Sisera. The children of Israel defeated the Canaanites and delivered them from oppression.

Then, Sisera ran away to escape being killed by Barak. He went and hid in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber, the Kenite. While he slept, Jael killed him. Later, she showed the dead body to Barak. Therefore the glory of the battle went to a woman as Deborah had prophesied.

 

Eminent Nigerians obtain freedom for their people

The success of Moses in gaining freedom for the Israelites through perseverance and help from God has inspired great men of all ages to struggle and achieve freedom for their people. The best example is our own country where, our great liberators and national leaders took the responsibility of achieving political freedom for our nation.

Our country was at first free; but the British people came and ruled over us and exploited our natural resources for their own use. Because of the profit they were making from exploiting us, they did not want us to be free from political bondage. They did not want us to be independent. But, God raised great leaders for us who struggled until the British government granted us freedom, and we became independent.

Our first great leader was Herbert Macaulay. He struggled to win independence for our country. The late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, continued the struggle for independence. These great leaders struggled till the British colonial government granted us independence on October 1, 1960.

Our great leaders struggled hard to achieve political freedom for us so that we will be free to determine the destiny of our country, by developing our human and natural resources for the benefit of all the people of this great country.

 

Religious Guidance and Counselling

  1. God wants you to help achieve true freedom: Some of you are always in the habit of praying to God to help you to be good Christian children. Therefore, you are free from laziness, disobedience and hatred. You are serious and hard working. You are obedient and respectful. You love people and you help them. You do not discriminate against people because of their religion, tribe or state of origin. This is very good. You are using your freedom to achieve something good for yourself, for others and for our country. Keep it up. But some of you are not in the habit of praying to God to help you do that. Therefore, you are not free from laziness, disobedience or hatred. You do not work hard. You are disobedient and disrespectful. You hate people, and you do not do good to them. You discriminate against people because of their religion, tribe or state of origin. This is not good. You are not helping to achieve true freedom for yourself, for others and for your country. God wants all of you to pray to Him to help you achieve true freedom by being free from laziness, disobedience and hatred to make our country great and prosperous.
  2. God wants you to help contribute to achieving freedom for our country: Our great leaders were able to achieve political freedom for our country. What our country needs now is freedom from lawlessness/indiscipline, ignorance, poverty, disease, ritual murder, tribalism, religious intolerance, backwardness, fraud (419), bribery and corruption in high places, and militancy. God wants you to continue with the struggle to achieve freedom for our country in all ramifications. To do this successfully, you must pray to Him through Jesus to give you the spiritual power that would help you to take your studies seriously so that you can become a God fearing, law-abiding, respectable, responsible and patriotic professional, who will contribute his or her best for the upliftment of our country to wipe out fraud, bribery and corruption, and all other vices in our society.

 

Religious and Moral Lessons

  1. God wants freedom for all, because freedom allows you to develop your human and natural resources for the benefit of all. You must learn to value freedom, and to protect and defend it at all times.
  2. Israel’s search for freedom teaches that God wants people everywhere to struggle to achieve freedom for themselves. You must learn to support any genuine movement that struggles to achieve freedom for the people.
  3. God called Moses to liberate His people from bondage. You must learn that God will one day call you to perform important duties for Him and our country.
  4. There are various types of freedom that you can help to achieve in the home; school and in the community. You must learn to pray to God through Jesus to give you spiritual power to co-operate with your parents, teachers and elders to achieve freedom in all aspects of human life.
  5. The responsibility for promoting freedom in the society rests upon all of us. You must learn to pray to God to help you take active part in any project designed to promote freedom and Human Rights in the society.
  6. Our independence as a nation is meaningless unless you work hard to promote freedom and Human Rights in all aspects of national life. You must learn to pray to God to help you make our independence meaningful by working hard to promote freedom and Human Rights in the home, school and community.

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