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July is the month that we celebrate freedom and liberty due to the Declaration of Independence signed on July 4, 1776. As Christians, we also reflect on the theme of liberty that is recorded in the Bible. Our forefathers drew from the book of Leviticus when they had these words inscribed on the bronze casting of the Liberty Bell, "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants there of." This caption was drawn from the Mosaic Law.
Then the prophets spoke of Israel's king Zedekiah proclaiming a covenant of liberty with the people of Israel. When this word filtered down to the power brokers, they reneged when they discovered that all the servants were going to be freed and would no longer be there to wait upon them hand and foot. They decided that they would not allow these servants to go free.
Jeremiah 34:8-11 (KJV)
8 This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them;
9 That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother.
10 Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go.
11 But afterward they turned,and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids.
Jeremiah 34:11-16 (KJV)
At this point God responded with these words from Jeremiah;
12 Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
13 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying,
14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear.
15 And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name:
16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.
Due to this decision, the northern kingdom became the ten lost tribes of Israel. They were overrun by other nations and scattered to the four winds of the earth.
America has been blessed with liberty as no other nation in the world. With this liberty comes responsibility as to how we deal with blessings from God and as we deal with our brothers and sisters.