Pierced with an awl
But suppose the slave should say, ‘I love my master and my wife and children—I don’t want my freedom,’ then his master is to bring him before God and to a door or doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl, a sign that he is a slave for life.
Exodus 21:6 (msg)
There is so much spoken and thought of, about slavery in the world. It is something that has always been, and continues to this day, though called by a different name.
I believe we are all slaves to something.
We may rarely admit it to ourselves and to others but we all carry addictions to substances or even feelings. These addictions determine the way we live our lives on a daily basis, forming the very thinking that directs our decision making;
Should I take a second look?
That extra doughnut doesn't matter!
I'll just stay a little later and impress my boss etc etc.
Some may feel like they are enslaved to paying the mortgage, making the car repayments or even to a spouse. As Christians we believe to be a slave to anyone or anything other than God is a bad thing.
17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
A slave to God! Who would think that was such a good thing!
But!! I want to say to you that to be a slave to God is to have freedom in life. Once we decide to live under Gods guidance we are free to live without addiction or to live under pressure from peers to behave a certain way.
During the days of Moses, a man who was caught stealing or became indebted to another, wouldn't be imprisoned. He would be a slave to his debtor until the debt was cleared or 6 years service was completed.
At the end of the sixth year all debts were cancelled and all men were to be set free with the blessing of the owner and also with enough produce to start his life again.
And when you set them free don’t send them off empty-handed. Provide them with some animals, plenty of bread and wine and oil.
Deuteronomy 15:13-14 (msg)
At this point though, the slave may have a better life with his master than before or even may feel as part of the masters family. So, the option was given for the slave to become a slave for life.
This would entail going to the towns judges and having an awl pierced through his ear onto the doorpost, a painful process to be sure. This act symbolised the giving of ones life over to another freely, without compulsion.
Just as Christ was pierced for our transgressions; (Isaiah 53:5) it is a symbol of His giving his life to us through painful suffering. I believe that we should give our lives over to God in the same way. We are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to righteousness. A life freely given to God will no longer incur the penalties of our sin which is death, but will give us confidence in our inheritance of heaven.