Monday, February 09, 2009

Piercing through to the door: Dt 15:16-17

"It shall come about if he says to you, 'I will not go out from you,' because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant." (Deuteronomy 15:16-17)
The story here is of an Israelite who, in a time of financial hardship, sold themselves into slavery. At the year of release they would normally go free with the blessing of those whom they had served. However, if out of love for their master, they could chose to remain a servant with their master. In this case the master would take an awl and piece the servant's ear through to the door. The pierced ear would be a permanent sign that the Israelite was now a servant of their master.

Paul, in writing to the Galatians, asks of them, "From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus." (Galatians 6:17) Those brand-marks were the scars of the sufferings Paul suffered for the sake of Christ. Paul, and many of the other apostles, often referred to themselves as the bond-servants of Christ. They had become voluntary servants of their master just as the servant in this passage in Deuteronomy, and like that servant, they too bare the scars that testify that they are servants of their master.

So it is in our own lives. Often the price of servanthood includes the scars of suffering. However, there is a glorious promise here in Deuteronomy. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep." (John 10:7) When the servant's ear was pierced, so was the door, and when we are pierced with suffering and sorrows, so is Christ, for He is the door. What pierces us also pierces Him. We do not suffer without Him experiencing it as well. This can give us great comfort and assurance, knowing the Jesus knows and understands the sufferings that are afflicting our soul.

David Robison

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