Slaves In The Bible

by pastortimfowler

My dear friend has been challenging me to blog about some really tough stuff. So now she asked me to blog about slaves in the Bible. I have been hoping I could do this one for a long time. (Sarcasm noted)
One thing my friend is experiencing is the ignorance of people when it comes to the Bible. Notice I did not say stupidity, although that can be a problem too from time to time, but you can’t fix stupid. Ignorance about the Bible comes from people who are not Christians and people who are Christians. Sadly, Christians form their opinions of the Bible when what they really need is to accept the truth of the Bible. We spend a lot of time picking out one or two things that sound like the point that we want to make and running with it as if it were fact. We take things out of context and the true meaning gets twisted. Any writing taken out of context can be dangerous and any writing that someone sets out to criticize can be condemned by those who want to find fault.
Let me give a brief overview of what the Bible is. It is God’s communication to man in the written form. It is not everything that God knows, but it is what He wants us to know. It is not an old writing that has no relevance for today, but rather a writing that when studied in context, including the context of the culture of the times that it was written, can be applied to any culture and time. Too often people get stuck in what is an event or teaching relevant to only to an era and fail to be able to take the principle of the teaching and apply it to present time. The Bible is the account of God creating the world for humans to occupy, giving them free will to make choices, including wrong choices, and loving us in spite of our flaws. In that love, He gives us a way to restore the flawed humans that He loves so much and gives guidelines for His will in our lives and how to deal with the times when we chose to go against His will and screw things up.
Bad choices have consequences and some of those last throughout generations. Cultures often dictate many of our choices, including ones that God’s people fall in to. Just because God permits something to happen does not mean that He approves of it. We do this with our own children as a teaching tool when they chose not to listen to wisdom, don’t we? In God’s perfect will, we would have no pain, sorrow, or death. Because we have freedom to choose and we chose to go against God, the consequences permeate culture and culture adopts those things that are contrary to God, but seem good to some people, especially those in positions of power.
Slavery was never an idea of God. When we think of slavery, we think of the evil of owning another person and often the mistreatment and abuse of those people. The most common word used in the Bible for slaves is the word servant. There were two types of servants, the person who served you in return for protection, housing, and food, and the other is the person used for forced labor. God gives very specific instructions on how to treat those servants that worked for you in the first capacity. They were to be treated properly and provided for and freed from their obligations to you at the end of seven years, and, even then, they were given the choice of staying with you because this was most similar to a job. God gave harsh penalties for mistreating these servants and never gave the command to own people. Society had made owning people acceptable, not God.
In the case of forced labor, slavery, God is best known for providing their freedom, commonly known as the Exodus, and the movie, The 10 Commandments. God sets people free from all sorts of bondage, especially sin. Sin puts us in the mindset of thinking we are right and God is wrong. Sin causes us to put self before others and is what led to slavery as we think about it in the worst of ways. Sin also makes us slaves to things like drugs, alcohol, sex, and money, to name a few. All of which have good and godly ways of being used, but perverted outside of that, in turn result in bondage. God cares about those who are oppressed and provides a way to set us free. He frees those who are slaves to people who pervert authority and those who are slaves to those who pervert the freedom of our own will.
For who the Son sets free, you are free indeed. Only God can provide true freedom, and because of that, I choose to serve Him.

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One Comment to “Slaves In The Bible”

  1. My favorite sentence: ” Just because God permits something to happen does not mean that He approves of it. “

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