Deuteronomy 15:12-17- If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty handed. You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your wine press. As the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. But, if he says to you, “I will not go out from you,” because he loves you and your household, since he is well-off with you, then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your slave forever. And to your female slave you shall do the same…
Because of how wicked the world has been, when we hear the word “slave” we immediately think of someone suffering the worst of conditions. However, as you can tell by reading this chapter in Deuteronomy, God had a much different concept of how “slaves” were to be treated. They were paid, taken care of, loved, treated with respect, etc. They were “contracted out,” if you will, for a certain amount of time… like a business agreement, per se.
Picture this- the average American, required to work to survive in this world, limited “fun” time, getting up early, working late, rushing to get personal things accomplished during those precious evening hours, catch a few zzzz’s – only to repeat the same thing again the next day – until that dreamed of day you get to (or got to)… retire! No more schedules, deadlines, requirements, or restrictions. You’re free to come and go as you please. *Sighs* Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Seems hard to imagine anyone wanting to stay tied to an employer. If you’re given freedom, and you’re financially secure, why wouldn’t you take it? Could you really love someone you worked for that much?
Visualizing that scenario humbles my heart. There have been a few times throughout my life that I felt a gratitude toward someone that couldn’t satisfactorily be shown; an appreciation that couldn’t be expressed sufficiently; an admiration that remained inadequately conveyed. Still, there has never been one that I continuously fall short of demonstrating my affection for so much as that of Jesus Christ.
People that don’t know Him on a personal level look at Christians like we’re still “slaves” of some type. All they understand is “they don’t say that, do this, or go there.” To unbelievers, we only appear to follow a set of rules day in and day out, taking away from the pleasures of life. What they aren’t able to comprehend without experiencing it first, is that freedom that He gives. We accept Him as our Lord and Master. But then, He immediately bestows on us a grace that is undeserved. He transforms our lives. There’s a measure of mercy there to cover our mistakes and shortcomings, but when you encounter His love, you don’t abuse it or take it lightly. Instead, you march over to that door and lean your ear against that post.
I don’t run away with my freedom. No, I stay close to Him. I dwell daily with Him. I’m “well-off” with Him, and my love for Him is undying and unmatched. Trying to live in a way that I feel would please Him is that outward expression of that inner love and devotion… and it’s a lot less painful than that of earlier times!
The unconditional love He has for us is worth giving up everything for. There’s a special bond between us and our Savior that can’t be paralleled. There’s nothing more amazing than realizing a life of service and dedication to Christ provides more freedom than one can explain or even comprehend. There’s nothing anyone or anything could offer me that would make me want to leave Him. He’s been too good to me. That’s why I’m standing with “my ear to the door.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for loving us like You do, and providing us with a freedom that goes beyond our comprehension. There’s no way to repay You or express my appreciation for what You do in my life, but I’ll do what I can to bring glory to Your name. I love You, Lord. Help me live a life that makes you smile! In Your precious name, amen.