Friday, February 20, 2015

The Ear of the Servant

If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,' then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.
Exodus 21:1-6

This week, I fell in love with this chapter of the is a wonderful example of the importance of followers of Jesus seeking out and executing the spirit of the law in their lives by looking deeply into letter of the law.

I know, it seems kindof outdated, right? It's definitely a difficult passage. Slaves? Ear piercing? What could this possibly have to do with us? But take a step back and look at the words, and I think you'll see it has the utmost relevance to us as believers.

First, we're talking about a bondservant here, one who serves by choice to pay a debt. (Remember, Paul refers to himself as a bondservant in his writing, and we also are called the same.) Next, we see that out of love and loyalty to a bondservant's bride and his master, he can choose to remain indebted forever, though freedom is available for him. And... here's the giveaway...we see a piercing as a sign of that love and loyalty.

By now you may have picked up on the fact that this embodies the life of our Messiah, who came to pay a debt - not his own, but yours, and mine. He served faithfully, dutifully, and in the course of doing so, He took a bride - you and me and the whole assembly of those who have trusted Him as Lord. That fateful night when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He had legions of angels at His disposal. He had the whole world in His hands. But he chose us over freedom. He chose to be pierced, His sacrifice completely fulfilling what was owed. One of the few places we see the word "door post" in the rest of the Scriptures is where we see the blood of the Passover lamb applied. Just more indication that there is a connection between this servant and our Messiah, Jesus. Last, this is the role He has chosen for Himself for all time - Scripture tells us that He is the lamb who was slain "from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8)."

Now that we understand that this set of instructions reveals something deeply spiritual, what is the appropriate application for us as His bride? According to Luke's gospel, Jesus said, "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher." John echoes the sentiment: "the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." This tells me that what is required of us is not a lifeless and passionless obedience to commands. It's not about what's on the outside, about appearances, at all:

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire
but my ears you have opened (literally PIERCED!)
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come
it is written about me in the scroll
I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
Psalm 40

What a beautiful revelation of what God wants from you and me - the simple and sincere offering of our hearts. He wants the love and loyalty that come with giving Him our ear - listening to His words, by heeding and honoring His heart as revealed in the Bible. You see, if God has our ear, truly, he has our whole body. He works from the inside out, not the outside in. Maybe you find total commitment a little overwhelming...friend, can you just begin by giving Him your faithful attention each day? The rest, I trust, will fall in to place.

Oh, that we would want YOU, oh God, and give ourselves to You in service, in the way that You want us and gave Yourself for us...that is my prayer for us, Your body today...


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