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Exodus 21:1-6 (KJV)1 Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. 2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. 3 If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. 5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: 6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

Israel had just come from terrible bondage in Egypt. The Israelite had experienced – nearly every Israelite including Moses – the terror of Chattel Slavery. Chattel Slavery is a horrible evil. There is no justification for Chattel Slavery! It takes people who are made in the image of God and turns them into property. The slave in Chattel Slavery is treated like a beast of burden rather than with the dignity due every human. The Chattel Slave had no choice.

God allowed slavery among the Jews, but not Chattel Slavery. A person could voluntarily sell themselves into slavery or servitude, and if that person did this they were not to be beaten or mistreated. Why would somebody do this? We do the same thing today.

How many of you have credit cards? If you aren’t careful with those things, you will sell yourself into slavery. I know. When Sherry and I were first married we were living on an Airman’s pay, which is next to nothing. We would see the fine things that others had and – and I put this on myself – I violated the Tenth Commandment many times. Do you remember this commandment?

Thou shalt not COVET or DESIRE what others have!

God knew that if we coveted what others had, we would get in trouble. I allowed our credit card debt to get too high because of coveting. When I advanced in rank and I made more money we still had no more money because I had allowed the credit card companies to enslave me. We lived paycheck to paycheck until one day God gave us a way to pay off these terrible little plastic handcuffs (thank You, Jesus). Otherwise we would still be enslaved today … and we did that to ourselves.

The Bond-Slave sells himself into slavery. He makes this choice. There are other ways we sell ourselves into slavery.

If you’re hooked on cigarettes, you are its slave.
There would be no alcoholics if the first sip of alcohol was never tasted.
The alcoholic was not forced to sup that first sip.
There would be no drug addicts if the pusher was told “no”.
The drug addict was not forced to take that first hit.
The person enslaved by HIV or AIDS made a choice to get there.
No one forced that person to that choice.

The Servant that we see in our text today made a choice.
That person chose to sell themselves into servitude.
Perhaps they were in debt.
Perhaps their family was hungry and they were jobless.

So they made a decision to sell themselves – to exchange their service for a set period of time – in order to come from debt. God established limits on this type of transaction. God told His people – the Hebrews –

Exodus 21:2 (KJV) …. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

If THOU (the Hebrew, for the Law was written to the Hebrews) buy an Hebrew servant then there is a limitation set on this. I wish there were limitations set on CREDIT CARDS (Father, how I hate them!). The Lord said six years shall he serve – and in the SEVENTH (the Number of God in Scripture. On the Seventh Day He rested) he shall GO OUT FREE FOR NOTHING. God did not want His people taking advantage of one another. In fact, God told His people in …

Leviticus 25:39-42 (KJV) And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a (SLAVE Hebrew ‘ebed): 40 But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee: 41 And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. 42 For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: they shall not be sold as bondmen.

God wanted none of His people enslaving one another, compelling one another to forced servitude. If your neighbor came to you in need and offered to sell themselves to you then you, as a Hebrew, were allowed to do so. However the person who became your bond slave was to be treated as a hired servant, and a sojourner or temporary member of your household. When the seventh year or the Year of Jubilee came that person was freed, both he and his children with him, and shall return to his own family and his own lands. God ended with these words:

For the Hebrews – The Ones I Redeemed – Are MY SERVANTS
Which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt.
They shall not be sold as SLAVES Hebrew ‘ebed

You could sell yourself to another as a bond-servant for six years, and then you went free. God did want His people enslaving one another because THE HEBREW ALREADY BELONGED TO GOD. The Hebrew could not be forced into slavery. The Hebrew was saved from slavery to serve God. What did God tell Moses to tell Pharaoh?

Exodus 7:16 (KJV)… The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.

God saved Israel to serve Him.
God saved YOU so that YOU might serve HIM.

No Hebrew should force his neighbor into slavery. To do so would be to mimic the Egyptian – the world – which is a terrible practice! But the Lord told His people this:

Exodus 21:5-6 (KJV) And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: 6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

If the bond-servant willingly chose to stay with his master – if he plainly said “I love my Master” – then a public pronouncement occurred. The Master took the bond-servant to the Judges who would verify that the servant wanted to do this. Once he said that he wanted to stay with his Master before the judges, then the servant was taken to the Master’s home. He would willingly lay his ear against the doorpost of the home, and the ear would be pierced with an awl. Once pierced, that person would serve the Master forever. Again, not as a slave, but as a hired servant, and a member of that household. From that moment on the Master was responsible for the care and feeding of the servant and his family. And the servant was to serve his Master faithfully for ever.

There Is A Spiritual Application To This Text

The Scriptures are not only historic, but they speak of Christ. Jesus said to the Pharisees who refused to believe in Him:

John 5:39, 45-47 (KJV)  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and THEY ARE THEY WHICH TESTIFY OF ME.   … [45]  Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.  [46]  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for HE WROTE OF ME.  [47]  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

The Word that Moses received from God on Sinai spoke of Christ. There are spiritual truths related to Christ and the Christian Way of life behind every sacrifice and every ordinance. The Apostle Paul in referencing the Old Testament said:

1 Corinthians 10:11 … all these things happened unto {Israel} for examples,
and they are written for our admonition
{nouthesia, to teach us}

Are there spiritual truths that we can learn from this Scripture? Absolutely! What are some of these truths?

We Have All Been In Bad Situations

The Hebrew who chose to sell himself into servitude didn’t do so just because.
He did so because he was in a bad situation.
He was in a hole he couldn’t crawl out of.
He had no resources to get better and, in the end, all he had was himself.

We have all been in trials and tribulations. We are told in …

Job 5:6-7 (KJV) Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; 7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

There are times in our lives when we are doing nothing wrong, but trouble seems to find us like an old hound dog. Things we need break. Our bodies break down. It is in times like these that we realize we need a Savior and Master Who will take care of us. The Scripture says:

Psalms 55:22 (KJV)  Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

When we come to God on bent knee in prayer, worshiping Him (for He is worthy) He can take our burden away. He can remove us from the helpless situation. Throughout the Scripture we see Jesus being approached by people in helpless and hopeless situations. We see a woman with an issue of blood …

Matthew 9:20-21 (KJV)  And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:  [21]  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

This dear lady had been afflicted twelve years. The Bible says that she had tried all manners of physicians and healers, but none could help (Luke 8:43-38). She had spent all of her money seeking solutions, but none were to be had. Then one day Jesus came to town. She thought “If I could just touch the hem of His garment … just a fringe … I know Jesus could heal me.” So she creeps into the crowd, eases close to the Lord, and with head bowed reached out to touch the hem. The Bible says:

Matthew 9:22 (KJV)  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Oh how Jesus loves you. Oh how He loves me. Oh how He loves to bless those who will come surrendered to Him. He is LORD! He is able.

Isaiah 41:13 (KJV)  For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Christ will help us and heal us if we would be submit to Him as Lord. He is LORD. He is not lord, but LORD. He is not our servant, but we are His if we wish His blessings. Two blind men came pursuing Jesus, tripping and stumbling in their eternal darkness, seeking the Master. They cried out …

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!

We are bound in darkness. Jesus, will you take us and make us see light? Jesus asked them (Matthew 9:28):

Do you believe I am able to do this?

What was their reply? “Yes, LORD”.

YES, YOU are my LORD! You are the Master. Take hold of my life. Make me see. Jesus told them “According to your faith, so it shall be”, and these men were given sight from that day forward. Oh, the Lord can heal you. Oh, the Lord can bless you.

But you must come to Him as Lord and Master.

Many Only Want A Temporary Master

In our text today a person came to a Master and sold himself for relief. He sold his services to pay his debt. Yet a time limit was placed on the selling. He sold himself for six years, a temporary amount of time. There are many who come to Jesus for what He can do for them, and Jesus is so gracious. How many times do we see in Scriptures people who Jesus healed who went away, and did not stay with Him. One such instance comes to my mind of the ten lepers who came to Jesus. Jesus had just passed through Samaria and Galilee when He came to a small village, an unnamed place. There were no famous landmarks here, no reason to visit it as a tourist attraction. The Bible says that

there stood far away ten lepers

Leprosy is a horrible disease because it not only destroys your life, but infects those you get around. It destroys families. Like sin, it harms communities. These men stood FAR AWAY from Jesus, but they cried out:

Luke 17:13 … Jesus, MASTER, have mercy on us

Oh Master, we come to you. We are in a hopeless and helpless situation. We don’t know what to do. Jesus, MASTER, have mercy on us. Take our lives and do something better with it. Jesus looked at these men, and said:

Luke 17:14 (KJV) …. Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

Did you notice the text? As they WENT (obeying their Master Jesus) they were CLEANSED. They surrendered their will to the Lord. They did as the Master said. And they were made whole. The Bible says:

Luke 17:15-19 (KJV)  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,  [16]  And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.  [17]  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?  [18]  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.  [19]  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Nine of the lepers went their way. Oh, they were healed just as the tenth was healed. But they served the Master only for a limited time. On the seventh year you shall go free. There are many who come to Jesus temporarily by their choice. They seek what Jesus not only can but will do. I believe that Jesus knew that nine would depart healed, but that only one would glorify Him. I believe Jesus knew this BEFORE He healed anyone. Yet our God is gracious. Our Jesus is loving. He is so loving.

I can think of another instance in the Gospel of John in Chapter 6. In this wonderful chapter we are told the story of the feeding of the five thousand men who followed Jesus. Taking five small barley loaves and two little fishes Jesus blessed them, and fed not only 5000 men, but women and children as well. Following this wonderful feast that Jesus gave the Bible says:

John 6:13 (KJV)  Therefore {the disciples} gathered {the leftovers} together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

What a wonderful story is in this. The Bible says

Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  [6]  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

When we trust God, God will will bless us. He must be LORD. He must be the MASTER, and we the SERVANT. Shortly after this incident Jesus moved to Capernaum, and the crowds that were fed the day before followed Him for FOOD. Jesus told them:

John 6:26-27 (KJV)  Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  [27]  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

When Jesus refused to feed these temporary disciples and rebuked them for what was in their hearts, the Bible says:

John 6:66 (KJV)  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

They chose a temporary walk with the Master. They used Jesus to get what they wanted, then they left the Master to return to where they came from. Of all the people Jesus blessed do you know that there were only 120 disciples in the Upper Room praying on the Day of Pentecost? So many come to the Lord temporarily to have their lives stabilized. And the Lord will bless, and release them if they so desire.

But Then There Is The Christian

The Christian often comes to the Lord because of bad stuff happening in the life. But the Christian comes to stay. The Christian indeed willingly choose to serve the Lord.

Exodus 21:5 (KJV) And IF the servant shall PLAINLY say

The Christian is not coerced nor forced to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. We hear His invitation. Jesus calls us:

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  [29]  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  [30]  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus calls out to those who are burdened. Take MY YOKE upon you. Let Me be your Master. My yoke is EASY and My BURDEN LIGHT. Jesus will love you, and bless you as you come to Him. But you do not come to Him on a temporary basis. You choose to surrender to Him. You choose to openly and publicly be in His service. The Bible says:

Romans 10:9-11 (KJV)  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  [10]  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  [11]  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

To believe on Him is to believe He is Lord and Savior BOTH PUBLICLY AND VOCALLY. No one is saved in secret. He is Lord, and others see that Lordship in you.

You shall PLAINLY – not SECRETLY but PLAINLY say!

Exodus 21:5 (KJV) And if the servant shall plainly say, I LOVE my MASTER

The Christian serves Jesus because he loves Jesus. He declares his love to both the Lord and the world. We love Him because He freed us. We love Him because He gave Himself for us. We love Him because He brings us into the Family of God, indwells us, and promises to never leave us not forsake us. Jesus promises to be with us in bad times and in good. He is MY MASTER, and responsible for my well being. When He says:

Romans 8:28 (KJV)  And we know that all things work together FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I trust Him because He is a good Master. He has been good to me – and will be good to you, if you let Him.

Exodus 21:5 (KJV) And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children;

I acknowledge my debt to Him. All the blessings I have, I have because my Lord has given them to me. Yes, I have had bad times. But Jesus has been there through it all. His Spirit has comforted me. My Father has held me.

Exodus 21:5 (KJV) … And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:

I am committed to serving Him with all my heart to the best of my ability. I will love Him and stay with Him. I am not using Him for a temporal blessing, but wish to remain with Him forever.

And I am not afraid to declare this before men.

Several years ago I got a call from someone – I forget their names – who once came to this Church. Don’t ask me who they were – I won’t tell you if I could remember. Anyway, this person wanted to be baptized on a Saturday in a private ceremony. It was just to be him and his parents. I told him NO, I will not do that. When you are saved, you PLAINLY DECLARE “I love my Master”. Then the Master takes you to the judges. You are to baptized. Why? BECAUSE JESUS SAID SO.


When we are saved it is not a private affair. We declare our willingness to be with the Lord by our very public BAPTISM. Jesus commanded:

Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  [20]  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The Christian yields his obedience to the Lord. You do what Jesus says. Finally, I want you to notice the last part of this text.

Exodus 21:6 (KJV){the Master} shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.

An awl – a sharp rod – is passed through the servants ear and into the doorpost of the Master’s home. The servant didn’t stay pinned to the doorpost. This was a symbolic ceremony. He pierced the servant’s EAR. We hear the commands of our Lord and obey them. We belong to Him, not to ourselves. Jesus said:

John 10:27-28 (KJV)  My sheep HEAR my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  [28]  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Luke 11:28 (KJV)  But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

The blessing of eternal life comes to those whose ears are crucified, nailed to the House of God. If you love Me, keep My Commandments (John 14:15)” is what Jesus said. People come to the Lord for a variety of things:

To escape hell
To be delivered from a trial
To gain healing
To fill their bellies

And the Lord will bless you. But if you want to be His forever then your ear must be crucified.

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

He was nailed to the Cross for you. He wants you to be nailed to that Cross with Him. He will save you, He will bless you, but to be blessed we must submit to Him as Master Forever.

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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