Question: "What can we learn from God redeeming Israel from the house of bondage (Deuteronomy 13:5)?"
Answer: The term house of bondage (NKJV) or house of slavery (NIV) is used often in the Old Testament to refer to Israel’s time of slavery in Egypt at the hand of Pharoah (Exodus 20:2; Jeremiah 34:13; Micah 6:4). When we explore passages about God redeeming Israel from the house of bondage, a few key points about the nature of God and His love for His people jump out: “Because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:8).
In Deuteronomy 7, Israel is on the brink of entering the Promised Land. Moses explains that God’s people are meant to be “a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6). God did not choose Israel because they were mighty in numbers (Deuteronomy 7:7), but simply because He loved them. His decision was not based on any quality or distinction of the people but entirely on His own will.
The same is true in our relationship with God, which is not dependent on what we do or deserve, but on God’s love and grace alone: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (Ephesians 1:4–6; see also Ephesians 2:8).
God’s nature is love (1 John 4:7–21). God set His love on Israel, and because He loved them, He delivered them out of Egypt, redeeming them from a life of slavery “with a mighty hand” (Deuteronomy 26:8). When God saves us, He powerfully delivers us from a life of bondage to sin (Romans 6:6, 18; John 8:36).
God wants us to remember that, although we were once slaves to sin, He has set us free: “Beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deuteronomy 6:12, NKJV). Israel was not to forget that the Lord had redeemed them, and neither should we. We are now free, but that freedom came at a high price—the sacrifice of Christ’s life on the cross (Mark 10:45).
Just as the blood of the first Passover lamb saved Israel from the Destroyer (Exodus 12:12–13), Jesus Christ became our consummate Passover Lamb: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18–19; see also 1 Corinthians 5:7).
God’s love is tied to His oath. He is faithful to love us to the end, and He desires that we love Him in the same way, keeping His commands (Deuteronomy 7:9) and purging evil from among us (Deuteronomy 13:5). The apostle Paul explained, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Peter urged Christians, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:1–3).
The Lord redeemed Israel from “the house of bondage” just as He frees believers today from the sin and darkness of their past (Ephesians 5:1–27; 1 Peter 1:13–23). We are His “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” Propelled by love, God rescues us for His good purpose and sets us apart to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9–10). Being redeemed from the house of bondage, we “keep away from worldly desires that wage war against [our] very souls” (1 Peter 2:11–12, NLT).