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Whose Slave?

Harvest of Asher

Akko, Israel

Replica of 5th Century BCE Athena Parthenos idol at original size - by LeQuire

“Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (Romans 6:16 NLT)

Our people spent 400 years as slaves in Egypt – certainly not by choice! Slavery connotes shame and helplessness, the very opposite of freedom. Yet numerous heroes of the faith in the Old and New Testaments are referred to as servants of the Lord. (In Hebrew, slave and servant is the same word, eved.) Israel is called the Servant of the LORD. Most notably, the prophesied Messiah is called the Servant of the LORD.

So what does Paul mean when he says we will be a slave to whatever/whomever we obey? The heart of his question is what or whom are we worshiping? The choice is idolatry, serving that which is not real, or serving the true, Living God with all our heart, soul, and strength.

Enslavement to Idols or a Bondslave to Messiah?

Idolatry is not limited to ancient cultures. As we rapidly approach Yeshua’s return, we see the same idols which were worshipped in the past rising up. We see this both locally in Israel and globally in the abortion pandemic of sacrificing the lives of the preborn. We also see it among spiritually starved Israelis who are drawn to New Age and Eastern religions. These can even include homage to physical statues!

What master will we serve?

“Paul, a bondservant of Yeshua HaMashiach,” is the way the apostle referred to himself (Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Titus 1:1). In the Torah, a bondservant was a freed slave who voluntarily chose to serve his master, being identified by a pierced ear “and he shall serve him forever” (Exodus 21:6). What a vivid image of our choice to serve Yeshua, after being freed from our slavery to sin.

The Scriptures present an open-eyed look at life and its physical necessities. 1 Corinthians 6 tackles the power of both food and sex to enslave us. These basic aspects of life are not labeled as “evil” or “not to be enjoyed.” Our physical body is part of how God made us, and is meant to glorify Him and help us connect with God. Our flesh is not meant to separate us from the Lord.

However, when we are enticed to focus on our flesh, we stray from the spirit of God. As believers in Yeshua, we need to remember the price He paid for us and to join ourselves to the Lord. “The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).

Our prayer is that the eyes of men will turn away from those slaveries which lead to death, and instead be obedient servants/slaves to the Lord of Life.


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