August 20, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I have often wondered why after the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, the very next chapter deals with the subject of servants and their masters. A Hebrew man could be in debt to another in Israel, and so become his servant. But at the end of six years, he was to be released – his debt paid. The seventh year was the year of freedom!
Alright, servitude was an issue in Israel in Bible times. But the Ten Commandments given by God Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai was the highlight of all that was to govern the life of every Jew! It seems to me at first thought that there were other, more important subjects with which to be dealt right after Exodus 20! There was the detailed description of the place of worship – the tabernacle and its furnishings. There were instructions of how to live, how to war, how to worship, once Israel entered the Promised Land. What’s so important about a Hebrew servant and his master? Let’s look at Exodus 21:2 through 6:
If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he
shall go out free and pay nothing. If he comes in by himself, he shall go out
by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If
his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters,
the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by him-
self. But if the servant plainly says, “I love my master, my wife, and my
children; I will not go out free,” his master shall bring him to the judges.
He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost; and his master shall
pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
I must admit that this study of the above passage is not original with me. Pastor Wayne Ayer was our dynamic evangelist during the last week of camp meeting at Patterson Grove in northeast Pennsylvania. He shed new light on this subject, and opened it up to me in a wonderful way – applying it all to our relationship with Jesus Christ, our Master!
First of all, we are in debt to God! It is an enormous debt of sin that we can never pay! Jesus likened our debt in Matthew 18:23 through 35 – the Parable of the Two Debtors – to owing ten thousand talents (about one million pounds) – the equivalent today (spot prices of gold and silver):
If it was 10,000 talents of gold – almost 21 billion dollars!
If it was 10,000 talents of silver – almost 320 million dollars!
…an impossible sum for the common man to pay!!!!
No wonder the psalmist says in Psalm 49:6 through 8:
Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches,
none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ran-
som for him — for the redemption of their souls is costly….
Only One could afford to pay for our redemption from sin, death and hell – God Himself! And what did it cost Him? The life if His own dear Son – the perfect Lamb of God – the Lord Jesus Christ! He took our sins upon Himself on the cross – all our sins, past, present and future – and paid for them fully with His own precious blood! He did it because He loves us, and wants us to have eternal life with Him and abundant life in Him here and now! This truth is beautifully summed up in I Peter 1:18 and 19:
…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or
gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but
with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without
Have you realized how much you owe? Do you at all fathom the enormous debt of sin before God for which you are responsible? One sin makes you a sinner! And because you are a sinner by your very nature, you have committed a multitude of sins! Are you vainly trying to pay off your impossible debt by your good works? Isaiah 64:6 (The Amplified Bible) says, “…all our righteousness — our best deeds of rightness and justice — are as filthy rags or a polluted garment [before God].” Whatever good you might try to do is so tainted by sin that it simply adds more sin to your debt!
The only way is by trusting God that Jesus Christ fully paid your sin debt when He died on Calvary. That He raised from death means the payment is accepted by the Father in full! Paul says in Romans 10:9, “…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Start here! In Friday’s blog, we will continue to explore Why You Should Love Your Master.