The story of God's people is a story of redemption. We constantly find ourselves in bad circumstances; not necessarily material poverty but often spiritual poverty. Noah lived among evil people, and by following God's instructions, was saved. Abram lived in a pagan culture, and knew that there had to be a better God. God found him, and began a plan that developed over thousands of years. Joseph was saved from slavery and imprisonment, and in turn saved his family--in spite of their having almost killed him. God redeemed their descendants through Moses--and a tough trip to a promised land. We see Rahab and Ruth, natives of wicked and idolatrous cultures, recognizing God, being redeemed because of their recognition and commitment to God's people, and being adopted into the bloodline of the Messiah.
We see repeated stories of His people getting off track. We see them rescued from their aggressive pagan neighbors time and time again. We see the southern kingdom of Judah being saved from the Assyrians, and even though conquered by Babylon, redeemed under the Persians. In Persia, we see Esther redeem her people from the evil plotting of Haman. In other Jewish records, we see God using the Maccabees to rescue His people from the attempts to force them into idolatry. We see them waiting for redemption from the Romans--not realizing that God was less concerned about politics than hearts. We see Jesus reaching out to people, offering each one of us redemption from the sin and cares of our lives.
The concept of "redemption" involves something that is owned or owed. Leviticus 25 tells the people that even though God led them to a promised land, they do not own it: it is God's. They can use it, but not sell it--all they can sell is the use, like the ground leases that some Native Americans offer on their tribal lands. His people could not be made slaves; they could be servants but there was always a right of redemption.
God owns us--when we recognize this, He will redeem us and adopt us into the family we were created for. We tend to put ourselves and each other into cages we cannot find our way out of--but He can open them up and bring us out into His freedom. However, one of the saddest stories in the Exodus is when the Israelites who had been raised in slavery looked back and yearned for the security of captivity. The freedom of the desert was harsh! They were like a caged animal who is afraid of the outside, and paces back and forth inside an open gate. Captivity is mental, as well as physical, and not always recognized. But the freedom God offers is not anarchy, the other extreme, but freedom within His safe boundaries.