If you are like me, when you think about slavery, you think of the movies like Roots and Twelve Years a Slave. You remember all the terrible things our country has been through to abolish slavery, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement to the race riots which still flare up today. To the American mentality, slavery would never be something we would want to experience.
However, in the Old Testament, the purchased slave stood in a much closer relationship to his lord than the hired servant, who was free to come and goes he might wish. A hired hand was treated like a stranger really, he could not eat the passover or participate in the holy ceremonies, whereas, a slave was treated like member of the family, he was held very close and sat at the table with the master. He ate the passover meal, experienced the wonders of the holiness of God, all because he belonged to his master.
The name God allowed the children of Israel to call Him was Adonai. The name Adonai makes a claim upon our obedience and our service. His name as Lord signifies ownership or mastership and indicates the truth that God is the owner each member of the human race and that He claims the unrestricted obedience of all.
Through Adonai’s eyes, the slave belonged to the master but the slave also had the right of the Master’s protection and help and direction. In fact, in the absence of an heir, the slave could become the heir! The slave was treated as a member of the family.
David writes about this relationship in Psalms 123:1-2.
I lift up my eyes to you,
to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he shows us his mercy. (NIV)
Throughout the Old Testament God spoke to prophets of old as Adonai. When they felt weak, unable, or incapable, He came and reassured them.
Have you ever felt weak, unable, or incapable? What about disqualified, or too young, too old, or you've missed too many opportunities? He comes to us, as He came to the prophets of old, saying,
"I am Adonai and I will empower you. As your master, it is my responsibility to put you to work where I see fit! Do not fear. You are under the shadow of my wings, safe, cared for, protected, I’ve got you, now go.”
That kind of slavery came with all the benefits of inheritance, provision, freedom from worry, and protection.
Who can forget Paul, using this same slavery analogy in the New Testament, “This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News." Romans 1:1 (NLT)
Paul understood that he was bought with a price, and he completely and totally belonged to his Master and as such, he was determined to obey God's every word, knowing that it was God who did the choosing, not himself. If God chose Him, then God would be responsible for the outcome!
The enemy's goal is always the same; to steal kill and destroy. It is the enemy who would want us to live in fear of every outcome of every risk we take for God, to feel lowly and ashamed for being a slave to Christ. It is his chief aim to separate us from the Master who loves us like His own children. If he can get us off course from our destiny that God, Himself chose for us, then he wins.
The truth is, to be slave is to be invested with heaven’s dignity, nobility, liberty, and joy. Look at the life of Jesus. He was full of confidence, strength, and purpose because He knew God had sent Him on the mission and He was therefore empowered to fulfill it. It is to the slave that God will say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Again, it is Paul who clarifies our position for us, "And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world." 1 Corinthians 7:22-23 (NLT)
To be the slave of Christ is to be the most free because He gives us complete liberty of obedience without fear of failure. He is responsible for the outcome of our obedience. He is faithful to His servants, His family, the ones He loves. That’s us!
We no longer have to be slaves to addictions, sin, shame, or to the pull of the world when we walk in complete obedience to our Master. Every provision will be ours, and our success is guaranteed because it is He would called us, He who empowers us, and He who will reward us.
Maybe today you need to bind yourself to the Master anew? Talk to Him. Submit to His authority, and commit to obedience whenever He speaks. Sit next to Him at the banqueting table of His word, partake of the holiness of God as you worship. He has made you His heir. You have become His child!