The Chains of the Past - Hope 103.2

The Chains of the Past

It may take time and external help and support but the chains which bind you to your past can be broken by the power of Jesus.

By Dr Eliezer GonzalezSunday 31 Jul 2022FaithReading Time: 4 minutes

The chains of the past can be the hardest chains to break.

In the fourth chapter of the book of Daniel in the Bible’s Old Testament, you find the dramatic story of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He persistently refused to abandon his pride and acknowledge the true God of heaven. As a result, God sent him a dream in which he sees himself as a mighty tree. Then a messenger from heaven announced the tree will be cut down, and the stump bound.

The iron and bronze that bound the stump represented Nebuchadnezzar’s past, his culture, and his traditions. All of these stopped this king from acknowledging God.

Many people today are bound in a very similar way. They are bound by the chains of the past.

The Bible refers to “… people … bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction.” (Job 36:8)

In Psalm 107:10, we also find people who sit “in darkness, in utter darkness, prisoners suffering in iron chains …”

Many of us know there are issues from our past which are profoundly holding us back. Others are not aware of this but it is still their reality.

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A person from the Bible who had to deal with the chains of the past was Moses. He had been adopted out at a young age, and his family circumstances were very dysfunctional. He lived in two separate worlds: the royal family in the palace in Egypt and with the despised Hebrew slaves. Moses’ identity would have been constantly questioned and in flux.

All of this culminated in Moses’ murder of an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-13), and his immediate flight and exile into the wilderness. Then, he herded sheep for forty years. That was when the Lord appeared to him.

Although Moses had made a new life for himself in the wilderness, he had a lot of chains from the past: chains of guilt, of loss and frustrated ambition. So when the Lord asks him to return to Egypt and free his people (see Exodus 3-4), Moses has a long list of excuses.

Moses presents his excuses to the Lord one after another, and the Lord patiently responds to each one.

Moses says, “I am a nobody. Why send me?” Then he says, “[God’s people] have been in slavery for so long that they don’t know who you are any more.” Then Moses says, “They won’t believe me,” and finally he says, “I’m no good at speaking.”

The chains of the past can be broken by the power of Jesus

What are the excuses you make to God and to others, because you are bound by the chains of your past? For every excuse that Moses gave him, God had an answer.

But as anyone who has been deeply wounded can tell you, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to escape from the chains of your past; not at all! It really isn’t something you can do yourself. It requires the healing grace of God to work slowly but surely, powerfully but methodically, deep within your soul.

The healing that God works in our lives is like when Jesus healed a blind man. Jesus could have done it right away, but he didn’t. After the first stage of healing, the man said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” (Mark 8:24)

It was only after Jesus touched him again, he was fully healed and was able to see clearly.

Why did Jesus work in this way in that blind man’s life – and why might he do similarly in our lives?

There may be many reasons that we cannot understand, but perhaps one of them is that he doesn’t only want our healing, but our growth through the process.

If we go back to the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 4, we see that for a time he literally went mad. It seemed that the chains that bound this king to the past could never be broken. However, in the end, we see Nebuchadnezzar healed and restored. In his right mind, he acknowledges and praises the God of heaven.

In Nebuchadnezzar’s story, we should see our own.

It may take time. You may need external help and support from caring professionals. But the chains that bind you to your past can be broken by the power of Jesus.


Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.

About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question. Sign up to his free online course “Becoming a Follower of Jesus” to learn about Jesus and his message.

Feature image: Photo by Arun Clarke on Unsplash