Submission and Obedience

Be A Bond-servant

In several places in the Old and New Testaments we find the term 'bond-servant' or 'bond-slave.' The origin of the term describes the relationship between a master and his servant, pointing to our relationship with God. Let's delve a bit deeper into the picture:

Several books in the Old Testament narrate the way a man could become a bond-servant. Exodus 21:2-6 where it begins tells it like this:

A Hebrew man could buy another Hebrew to be his slave: he could purchase a kinsman! That servanthood would last for six years, during which the slave could pay his indebtedness to his master if he owed anything. Whether he did or not, when year seven arrived, the owner had to let the slave go free without debt. If the slave had come as a single man, he would leave as a single man. If he had brought a wife with him into slavery, both of them would leave scot-free.

However, if the master found and gave a woman to the single slave to be his wife, and he had children by her during the time of his slavery, only the man could leave slavery after six years. The master owned the woman and her children. So, the slave had to make a choice.

If the master was a kind and just man, the slave could choose NOT to leave. If he loved his wife and children, that tie to staying was even stronger. The slave could stay for the rest of his life as a slave to the master.

To seal that bond, the master would declare it before God. Then he took the slave to the door of his house and put the slave's ear against the doorpost. He marked forever that the slave was his by driving an awl through the ear into the doorpost! The slave bore a special scar that was identical to the hole in the master's doorpost. The slave was his love-slave!

It was a transaction made between two men without any pressure. The master did not force the slave to stay. It was the slave's decision. And it was forever!

When Jesus left heaven to become the Second Adam, Paul says in Philippians that Jesus was a bond-servant of God, the Father. On more than one occasion Jesus said He was totally dependent on the Father and spoke only what He heard the Father say. In Gethsemane He said, Not my will, but Yours be done! He was a love-slave!

The apostle Paul introduced three of his epistles by declaring he was a bond-servant to God and Jesus Christ. The books of Romans, Philippians and Titus bear witness to that union of Paul's heart with the Godhead. James, Peter and Jude also claimed to be God's slaves.

The joining of a bond-servant to his master went much deeper than merely observing a law ordained by God in Exodus. It was based on the slave's knowing his master well and loving him for his goodness. Drawn by love, the slave took the next step by cementing their relationship eternally. He chose to serve the master for the rest of his life. Once the vow was sealed by the piercing of his ear, the whole world knew that that slave was different: he was the property of the master and had chosen not to be 'free' again.

King David exposes the bond-servant's heart in Psalm 40:6-8:

Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; my ears You have opened (pierced); burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, "Behold, I come: in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart."

Is our perception of God so severe, so legalistic, so dogmatic that we fail to know Him as He really is? We talk about His love, but do not draw close to Him as His true love object. We stand at a distance when we talk with Him. We hesitate to trust Him with our most hidden secrets and desires.

What a treasured relationship it is to be God's bond-servant! When the baptism of the Holy Spirit writes God's law on our hearts, we LOVE the Word! We want to be God's bond-servant. There we are under His protection and provision. Forever He is our safety and security. Always He is our fortress and shadow from the heat of the day.

Come, taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8).

Give yourself to God to be His love-slave. It is completely your choice. It is a forever decision. But, as David said,

I delight to do Your will, O my God...

His will will be your deepest joy!

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®
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