To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?" Isaiah 58:6
"[Jesus took on flesh and blood like us] that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. ...He does give aid to the seed of Abraham." Hebrews 2:14-16
"Thou, O King, art a Helper, a Savior and a Shield. Praised be Thou, O Lord, Shield of Abraham. Thou art mighty forever, O Lord. Thou hast endowed us with immortal life. Great is Thy saving power." The Prayer Book. Translated and arranged by Ben Zion Bokser. Behrman House Publishers, Inc., 1983. page 52 (Audio of the first portion of this prayer can be found at this link: Shemoneh Esrei: First 3 Brachot)
"...For there the Lord commanded the blessing - life forevermore." Psalm 133:3
(*) Title: umatir asurim means "Thou...releasest those who are in bondage."
This also comes from a line in the Amidah prayer, found in the prayer book cited above.
I recently started learning the Amidah prayer and I've been surprised by how much it's helped me to understand both the Old and New Testaments. Like theology, creeds and prayers can help my mind grasp the important truths and themes of God's word. Each must be viewed in its proper context, though. None of these by themselves is "living" as God's word is living (Hebrews 4:12). All must be held against the standard of God's word. But if this is done, then they can be helpful teachers.
I've been wrestling a lot over the past two years or so with the "Good News." What is the good news? How do we know that our understanding is right? How do we celebrate the good news without turning theologies into nehushtan and loosing sight of the Living God? Where in Scripture do we find the good news? How does this relate to ancient Israel and God's earlier covenants? What does it look like to be a true believer in Messiah Yeshua in the New Covenant? I could easily print off a copy of someone's gospel outline or pick some verses that jump out at me...but my heart won't allow me. It challenges me - know His word! And I know the basic truths: "I believe in God the Father, Maker of all heaven and earth..." But something inside me tells me that I have just scratched the surface. Dig deeper. Who is this God, Maker of all heaven and earth? Do I submit myself to His rule? And what of His plan of salvation? Isn't it deeper than a simple desire to avoid harm or gain lots of blessing? What is the gospel?
Seek and you will find! O my soul, trust in the Lord! Lord, forgive me that I so often neglect Your word and remain in a place of selfish inaction. Teach me with the words of Your mouth and show me what is Your good news. Who is Your Messiah? And why did He visit us? What is Your plan for the end of this age? And what is your plan for me on Monday at 2 pm or any day, for that matter?
I'm still wrestling with these things, but these verses today are very helpful in gaining some footing on the climb.