To Free the Oppressed
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:7,8)
The phrase is not as well known as “Semper Fi!” nor is it as easy to translate from the Latin. But “De Oppresso Liber!” is filled with meaning for those who wear these words on their crest. Those in Special Forces understand the meaning of the words: “To Free the Oppressed!”
Moses could have adopted the motto as his own. Though raised in luxury amidst royalty, he identified himself with the people of his fathers, even as he worshipped the God of his fathers.
At a fiery impulse he struck a blow for the freedom of those oppressed as slaves in Egypt. But as that Egyptian blood seeped into the sand, the fate of brash Moses was being sealed. Hunted as a murderer, he fled to the wilderness of desert country. Scratching out a living taking care of sheep and goats, 40 years of his life slipped by.
Not realized at the time, the years of being groomed as a royal leader, and then the years spent in humble isolation were all part of his pre-deployment training.
His call-up came from a voice inside of a bush on fire—but did not burn up. The One sending him out was the Almighty God who defies all attempts to define him. His name, Moses was told, was: “I AM THAT I AM.” It was the great I AM who was going to free the oppressed, not Moses.
The New Testament reveals that this dramatic rescue of Israel from Egypt is a foreshadowing of a much greater liberation.
Once again the Holy One would intervene in human history. This time, the one sent out would be his Son. This time the oppressors would be all the Powers of Darkness streaming out from the pit of hell. This time the freedom would be won with holy blood.
“The land flowing with milk and honey” would be where the Holy One dwells in glory. Those freed from this oppression will be able to sing “Heaven is my home!” as they march along,
The Voice from the burning bush identified himself as, “The LORD, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” These men had already reached heavenly Canaan. The world may have considered them dead. But they still lived, and would live forever.
And so would Moses. Thousands of years after his body was buried in the earth, Moses appears on a mountain top to talk with the Special One sent from heaven to win freedom from sin, death, and the devil.
Moses died, yet still lives. Jesus died, yet still lives. And we will live with them—oppressed never more.
Jesus, at this time of year we give special thought to how you freed us from the slavery of sin and the oppression of guilt. We marvel at what you did. We thank you for leading us from death to life.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military