Several centuries ago, a people were oppressed by a wicked tyrant, and when they called upon the triune God, He heard their cry, and He delivered them. The tyranny they fought was the greatest military power on the face of the earth at that time, and yet they prevailed. The tales of that war were told for many generations, and for most of that time, the glory was given to God.
After the conclusion of the war, the leaders of this people established a new government, a new constitution. As one of these men was coming out of their meeting, someone in the crowd asked him what form of government they had given the new nation. “A republic,” came the answer. “If you can keep it.”
It was kept for a time. But as the years wore on, the ancient battles were first reversed in conquest, and then reinterpreted, and then forgotten. The only thing that was left were the fireworks.
And it came about, that the rulers of this people became far more grasping and tyrannical than the original tyrant had ever dreamt of being. And because the people had forgotten their God, and because they richly deserved all such judgments, they continued to drift into slavery, all the while complimenting themselves on how free they were. But for the most part, they now thought that freedom meant the right to live sinfully, that is, to live in slavery to sin. They arrived at Orwell’s tragic reversals, and thought that their slavery was freedom.
But the handful of citizens who saw what was going on resorted to tactics which did not amount to a genuine, efficacious repentance, and tended to responses which allowed them to be dismissed as cranks, or as individuals who were motivated by personal selfishness. They tended to fight the costs of tyranny, but not the benefits. But worst of all, they took unilateral action apart from the Church.
We cannot finish the story of this particular parable because it is not yet done. We do not know if this people will humble themselves and pray, and seek the God of Israel, assembled together as the saints of God. Worship of the triune God is liberty, and nothing else can be.