The Egyptians enslaved the Israelites. They made their lives miserable with hard labor, making mortar and bricks, doing field work, and by forcing them to do all kinds of other cruel work. – Exodus 1:13-14
The late theologian Marcus Borg said in a lecture, “There’s a ‘mental Pharaoh’ that each of us hears.”
“Mental Pharaoh.” How accurate. What inner voice do you hear that keeps you working, sweating, enslaved, worried? I’d guess each of us hears a different one.
“You’re not good enough!”
“You have to do things perfectly!”
“You don’t fit in!”
“There’s no hope.”
We hear different voices at different times. One thing they have in common: They make you think you’re all alone and it’s all up to you.
Little wonder that Jesus’ first sermon in Luke begins with him declaring, “The Lord has sent me…to liberate the oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)
Our job as disciples is to replace Pharoah’s voice with that of our Liberator.
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.” (Matthew 5:3-6, The Message)
“Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:29-30, The Message)
I’d much rather listen to one who blesses me than one who oppresses me.