Exodus 21:5-6, Lamentations 3:38-40
By - Through the Bible On February 20, 2005
The Israelites had a very humane and self-respecting way of dealing with financial difficulty. If you could not make ends meet, you could sell yourself as a slave for a seven-year period. Very clear laws protected the way you were to be treated. During the seven years you would have food and shelter. At the end of the time, you were set free with money to begin again. If you had married another slave and had children, they may be ending their seven years at a later time. You had to make a choice when your period of service was up.
If you chose to stay with your master, if you found that place to be more suited to you than the outside world, you could give yourself as a life long slave to your master. Some slaves found their master to be kind and generous, and life in his service was much more secure and meaningful than struggling to make a way for themselves.
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When one decided to do this, his master would take him to the door of the home. His right ear would be pierced with an awl to the doorpost. He would then be a life long bondservant. Why pierce the right ear? The door represents the entrance and exit to the home. Now his ear is to be attentive to the needs in this home, attending to its needs alone.
Several of the writers of the New Testament refer to themselves as a love-servant of Jesus Christ. They had given themselves for life to have their ear attentive to the needs of the heavenly home. They would no longer consider a life outside in their own house but now turn all their attention to the directions given them for the care of this home.
Consider: Have you become a bondservant of Jesus? There is no better Master and no more meaningful service.
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? 39 Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? 40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. (Lamentations 3:38-40 NIV)
There are times when the innocent suffer because of the sins of others. We see that in the case of Job, Joseph, and most clearly in the cross. Yet, Jesus is the only one who can claim total innocence in life. The rest of us can only claim innocence in Him. There are no innocent natives in Africa, contrary to the old argument. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Whatever comes our way is not only deserved, it is far short of full justice. “The soul that sins shall die!”
It is an amazing thing, that our compassionate God can take all the calamity and good that He allows in our lives and use it to draw us to Himself. I often think of His modern day example in Joni Erickson Tada. She is a quadriplegic with an amazing ministry. I’m sure people have prayed for her healing many times, and yet, God has not seen fit to heal her body. Long ago He healed her spirit and now works through her to minister to handicapped and the rest of us (though we are all handicapped in some way). When we are weak we find our strength in Him. How can we complain when we know God is who He is? Even when He deals with us a Father who disciplines His children, He is doing so out of His great love. We get upset with our parents when they discipline us, and yet we know it is out of love and concern for us. It is only when we are so arrogant that we think we know better than our parents that we resent the discipline. Then we are asking for even more.
Consider: Is the LORD’s hand of discipline upon you? Has calamity struck? Don’t stop trusting! Now more than ever, examine your ways and test them. Return to the LORD with your whole heart. He will see you through like no one else can.