Happy Slaves?

by | Feb 15, 2019 | Friday Messages

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Picture in your mind a woman out for her morning walk. Her husband is walking beside her. They are both holding umbrellas because they are in Florida where it is raining in February instead of snowing. Perhaps they are both silently thanking God that they no longer live in New England!

This man is reviewing in his mind the ordinary events of the previous day and thanking God for them. He is about to begin his daily prayers when a phrase flashes into his mind–”slaves of righteousness.” Oh yes, he read that in his sermon preparations the day before. He wonders how that phrase might work into his notes. This gets him to thinking about slavery in the Old Testament. He recalls that if a man became hopelessly in debt and could not pay it back, he could be compelled by the judges to serve his lien-holder for six years. On the seventh year he would be set free.

But suppose his master does not want to lose this man’s services when his legal time is up? He could find a good competent woman to be the slave’s wife in the hope that they would soon have several children. Why might he do this? Perhaps because he loves this slave, but maybe because he knows that if the slave leaves at the end of six years the law says that he cannot take his wife and children with him! He hopes the slave will realize that he is in a very good situation with his master providing housing, clothes, food, medical care, etc., and he has a good family. He may gladly have his ear pierced with an awl by the priest and remain a slave for the rest of his life, happy to obey all his master’s commands!

Couldn’t this be a picture of us as slaves of Jesus and “slaves of righteousness”? We love Jesus and love to obey Him. His commandments are “not burdensome” and don’t seem like hardships once we are accustomed to obeying them!

Now, think of a man today who is presented with the gospel and the call to serve Jesus, including the commandment to keep a weekly Sabbath. He may think, “I need the weekend to catch up on all the work I didn’t get to the rest of the week!”

However, if he does choose to live God’s way and surrender his weekly schedule to this biblical principle of weekly rest, he will soon discover the benefits of living in harmony with the Bible. Isn’t he then like the man choosing to give up his freedom by becoming a slave–even a “slave to righteousness”–doing the right thing in his master’s eyes?

When this new Christian became “born again,” God gave him a new heart that wants to serve and obey. He becomes an example of this promise in Ezekiel 36:26 and 27–” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you…I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and you will be careful to observe my ordinances.”

When you are acting out of love, the “causing power of the Spirit” is not like the harsh slave-owner with a whip who stands over you: it is the “causing power” of wanting to do the right thing because you love Jesus and appreciate what He has done to save you from the self-centered, mean-spirited person you would likely end up becoming without the grace of God working in your life.

So let’s serve our heavenly Master by keeping His special day holy and enjoying the benefits of a weekly day of rest. He loves us and knows what is best for us.

Shabbat shalom,

Pastor Joe

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