The Lord provided a deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram. So the Israelites lived in their own homes as they had before. (2 Kings 13:5)

Seven church members and I visited the rural areas around Prague to work on a new seminary (as in painting baseboards!). During our free time most afternoons, we left the grounds and went into the majestic city of Prague. The beauty and history of that place was overwhelming. Part of their history included the fall of Communism and their newfound freedom.

But in the rural areas, I watched the people going to and from work. They all wore dark colors, had dark knit caps on, carried their lunch boxes, and gazed at the ground as they walked. Their hunched shoulders gave witness to the years of oppression they had suffered. I wanted so badly to shout at them, “Don’t you know you’re free?”

Today’s passage tells of a much earlier deliverance—the Lord provided a deliverer for Israel. But it goes on to say they lived in their homes as they had before. That was not a good thing, for before they had ignored God, worshiped idols, and lived much like the Egyptians. They lived as if they didn’t know they had been set free.

Many years later, the Lord provided a final deliverer, the only one we would ever need, Jesus Christ. How much difference has that made in our everyday living? Could a visitor see us living out our freedom? Do our lifestyles shout, “We’re free!”?

Check your lifestyle this week. See if there are any signs of bondage to sin.

Dianne Swaim is a chaplain at the VA Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. Married to Gordon, she is the mother of three and grandmother of nine.