Think About It: A Slave to Whom?

handsboundWhen you mention the word “slave” people get tense. Why? The word slave has become a word that uncovers and places a spotlight on the past and the present. What do you think about when a person uses the word “slave”? Is it the slavery of Africans brought to America? Maybe it is the bible’s stories of the Hebrew (Jewish) people? As Leslie and I discussed the Daily Bread we talked through some slave issues. When I think of the word slavery I have a picture of someone who is forced to serve another person because of his or her influence over them. That influence being the threat of punishment and or death for not obeying the person of influence (master). When I look at the Bible I see another picture of slavery. One is full of trickery and manipulation while the other is a choice of love because of shown mercy and grace. Yeah, I know the choice of love and slavery seems not to mix well but give me a little time to explain my thoughts.

First you have the trickery and manipulation of slavery. When I look at the Bible the first picture I have is that of Satan and his trickery and manipulation of his peers/co-created beings, angels. They were convinced that Satan would provide something better than they had. A loving Creator and perfect harmony was the scene but it was disrupted with trickery and manipulation, thus 1/3 of the angels chose to be “free” from God and to be placed under the guidance and influence of Satan. So there they were thrown from heaven and many locked up by God until judgment day (Isaiah 14:12-15; Rev 12:9). They all became slaves of Satan and sin (disobedience and rebellion against God the Creator). Here enters the second scene of trickery and manipulation.

On earth we pick up the scene with Satan, Eve, and Adam. The man (Adam) and the woman (Eve) are free! They are free to enjoy the earth and animals that God had created for His glory and for them (humanity) to enjoy. The freedom was with limitation/restriction of one area. God commanded the man not to eat from the Tree of Good and Evil because with that eating (breaking restriction/disobedience) there would be death. What happened? The Serpent/Satan convinced Eve, Eve convinced Adam and now we have a repeat of the first trickery and manipulation cause by Satan. The man and the woman disobeyed their Creator God and chose to obey Satan. This is where things get interesting. The created beings listened to and obeyed another created being to go against their Creator’s commandment. So sin entered into humanity and the desires to sin (rebel against God) were opened (Genesis 3).

shameAdam and Eve knew that their disobedience would lead to death, yet they disobeyed God anyway. So here we have the first slaves of mankind. Who was their master? The one they obeyed. The puppet master of sin is Satan and he had now affected and infected the entire human race with the sin virus. So, I would think that God would just kill them and start over. No, the results of sin brought forth a new concept with it that was not deserved nor mentioned as an option prior to the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Grace and mercy! These twins are something that can be discussed in detail in another conversation. But for now let’s understand that Adam and Eve were given another chance. Instead of receiving their due penalty (death), animals were killed in their place by God. He clothed them with the animal skin because their innocence was now changed. They now had a conflicting desire to please sin, the new kid (master) on the block. Now they did receive part of what Satan promised. They now knew good and evil. They knew God was good and Satan was evil and their very nature (desire) of choice was now changed forever.

Now the ideal and desires of what was best for self invaded their minds, communion and community with God and each other. They had been tricked and manipulated into thinking that they would now possess more than they did. They thought they would be more important and they were. They possessed knowledge of evil now. The knowledge of good was already created in them when they are formed. The knowledge of their Creator and following Him without fear or question was there, but now they were ashamed to see each other in an intimate way. They now began to be dissatisfied with their differences. Both wanting to be in control and run the others life and they coveted the others gifts and position given to each by their Creator. Sin was their master and they were in a continual spiral of trickery and manipulation with themselves and God. Their newly changed nature and their new master desired them to continue to compete for the position that was reserved for their Creator, which is the right to possess and rule their own destiny. Yes their destiny was determined by them, yet they could not see the total consequences because they were caught in the fog of sin.

Today we are continually caught in the fog of sin. It blinds us to what the issue is. We are all slaves to sin. We have been enslaved by sin and it has had us enslave each other throughout time. One race, color, and culture believed it was better than the other thus they enslaved the inferior one because they are not smart or strong enough to defend themselves from their oppressors. The funny part, but not really funny is that the oppressors believe that they are doing the work of God…And they are!

You see, the master of slavery is sin with the puppet master continuing to pull the strings of who should serve whom. The whole time the stronger people does the puppet’s will of creating an environment of helping folks with knowledge of what seems good. The good itself is coming from the father of evil, thus there is the struggle with the knowledge of good from God and evil from Satan and sin’s desire to pull all into the puppet master’s plan of total obedience to him. So where is the mercy and grace?

Praise Freedom2bThe mercy and grace came through the continual presence of God and His word. The mercy and grace came through the continual plan of God to give more than we desire or deserve. It began with an animal’s death for the disobedience of humanity, but it was completed with the death of the God-Man for the obedience of humanity to God (Rom 5:6-8). Penalty/Substituted! This is where mercy and grace completes it cycle of eternal life. Jesus volunteered to pay the price for His creation. He did not obey the human nature’s influence of sin to be disobedient to the Creator. He obeyed totally. How did He do it? God knows. But here are a few things to think about. God-Man, Jesus, death, resurrection, satisfaction and salvation. More to follow on these subjects later.

So back to the earlier conversation that Leslie and I were having about slavery. So the people of Israel were just freed from slavery but they were discouraged because of the presence of enemies they must face. Of course the conquering of those people brings up the discussion of what in the world was God thinking? Let’s talk about it. Well, the people who were created by God were enjoying the blessing of God’s land, but they were not paying their rent. They hated their Landlord and they were now paying their rent (worship) to another landlord (remember Satan and sin) so God evicted them and they were paid the original disobedience price, death. Why did God show grace to just one nation? Well actually He did not. All have been created with the general knowledge of God and all have heard through generations of the Creator God, yet many have chosen to reject God’s mercy and grace and chose the alternative, death.

Ok, so back to Egypt. The Israelites ran into some issues (big people who occupied the land God promised to them). They decided not to trust God and return back to slavery in Egypt (Num 14:2-4) where they had been beaten, second-class citizen, and had their children killed by the majority population for fear of losing control. So here we are today. We have the freedom to follow God. We have the freedom to choose His mercy and grace yet we choose to follow Satan and sin. We choose slavery to Satan and sin instead of God. Trickery and manipulation seems to be more attractive than freedom in Jesus. The punishment has been explained but the majority still chooses the continual cycle of endless knowledge of evil distinguished as good with sin leading to death (total eternal separation from God). The nature of mankind has been infected and affected by sin, yet there is that freedom of God presented to all to be transformed day by day through Jesus. The consequences have been paid, the box of Satan, sin, disobedience and self has been open. We just need to walk out and walk into mercy, grace, and obedience in Jesus. Who is your master today? The one whom you serve. The one whom you listen to. The one whom you obey. The one you will spend your eternity with. Think about it.

Miller Eichelberger
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Miller Eichelberger are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Miller Eichelberger “Ike” is a chaplain in the United States Army. He has served for over 25 years of combined time as an enlisted Soldier and chaplain. He has deployed three times to Iraq from Desert Storm to Operation New Dawn. Chaplain Eichelberger holds a Bachelors of General Studies degree with concentrations in Psychology and Religion from William Carey University, and a Master of Divinity degree in Leadership from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is endorsed by the South Baptist Convention’s (SBC) North American Missions Board (NAMB). He has been married to Leslie Eichelberger 19 years and they have three children.