Freedom From Bondage

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 in Old Testament
Tags: , , , ,

Deuteronomy 15 (NLT) “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money. This is how it must be done. Everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites… There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession… But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them… If a fellow Hebrew sells himself or herself to be your servant and serves you for six years, in the seventh year you must set that servant free. When you release a male servant, do not send him away empty-handed. Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you… You must not consider it a hardship when you release your servants… You must set aside for the Lord your God all the firstborn males from your flocks and herds.”

One of the great criticisms the Christian faith receives is about its acceptance of slavery and in this chapter, God actually references it in detail. Does that mean God and His word support it?

This whole chapter can be simply divided into two laws. First is the laws about the poor in Israel. God certainly had no intention of seeing any Israelite poor and therefore provided them a way out of their situation. Every seventh year, those who were loaned money were released from their debt.

This was a big ask of those who lent and clearly favoured those who borrowed money who were needy. This ensured that there was no real long-term debt in Israel and therefore the poor were constantly provided for. The release of debt was the Lord’s favour upon them and was to be treated in such manner.

Endemic poverty was not an issue Israel would face with this law but it clearly favoured only the Israelites and not the foreigners living in the land. God showed special favour to His chosen people and we can see that even today when God’s chosen from among the nations are shown the greatest favour of all, freedom from sin – past, present and future!

When Israel would obey God joyfully, they would be blessed and be able to lend and not borrow, a sign of material prosperity that was conditional to their loving obedience to God. This release was not just for money but even for Israelite slaves. Those who were in dire poverty sold themselves to the rich Israelites as slaves and worked without wages to be shielded from death and they were the benefactors of this great gift of God’s release.

Better still, they would not just be released from their slavery but be blessed with a great gift from the riches of their master. How can God be criticized for slavery when clearly His will was to release slaves from bondage.

The culture of having slaves was man-made and widely accepted. God’s response was to use this broken system to bless those who were enslaved and offer them a way out where they would have hope beyond their shackles of bondage.

If however a slave chose to stay under His master’s authority, there was a provision made to declare the slave for life by piercing their ear lobes with an awl in front of the master’s door. This was a declaration by the slave of his total love and devotion to his master and was a free-will offering from the slave.

Jesus Himself was the great fulfillment of a willing slave when prophetically in Psalm 40:6 He declared His willingness to be the bond-slave of God the Father.

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.

In Isaiah 50:5-7, Jesus’ character as the willing slave is clearly displayed in His sufferings at the cross:

The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.
I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
“For the Lord God will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Similarly today, we as Christ followers call Jesus our Master and submit to His mastery over our lives. Paul declared himself to be a bond-servant to Jesus as stated in Galatians 6:17. That was a servant who carried the branding of their master!

From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

Jesus’ own brother James also declares himself as a bond-servant to Jesus in James 1:1 where he introduces his letter by stating,

James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ

The second law in this chapter is the law of the firstborn. The firstborn was to be set apart for the Lord because Israel was God’s firstborn (Exodus 4:22) and this honoured the fact. The firstborn was thought to be the best and therefore dedicated to God. Lastly it was a reminder to all generations of how God redeemed Israel, His firstborn.

This clearly was evidenced even in God’s own life when He sacrificed His own firstborn, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for His chosen people, you and I. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we don’t need to offer anymore sacrifices but we certainly are called to offer our first fruits, whether it be our money, time or resources to the glory of God.

If you have never known Jesus as your Lord and Master, I beg you to do invite Him in without delay because our time here is short and the offer is too great to miss. If you are born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8), I pray that today’s chapter would be a sound reminder of what Jesus calls us to do with our resources for His glory.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Debbie says:

    What a great word for us today! Loving how you showed that Jesus sets us free from the slavery of sin. Yay!! God bless you and yours as you live free for Him.

  2. Ann says:

    Thanks, Vineet

    “Jesus Himself was the great fulfillment of a willing slave when prophetically in Psalm 40:6 He declared His willingness to be the bond-slave of God the Father”
    So thankful He did this for us …

    Thank you Jesus!

    Blessings
    ann

  3. Ann says:

    Hello Vineet

    Popped by to say I hope all is well with you and yours. Praying…

    Blessings
    ann

    • ServantBoy says:

      Hi Ann,

      Thanks for the note and concern. All is well with me. I have been taking time to re-examine my motives and direction and waiting on God’s leading to do His calling. Sometimes our hearts need to be checked and I’m in front of the mechanic right now 🙂

      Praying God’s best in your life as you inspire and motivate!!!

      Blessings,
      Ann

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s