Character Development Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Slavery 2

Slavery in Ancient times

I’m writing from the perspective of the Hebrew person who was rescued out of slavery in Egypt and trying to adapt to freedom.

I’m writing to scrutinise scripture rather than simply as a personal reflection because we are living in a society combating prejudice against historic slavery; many people locked into their own biases.

I’m writing, hoping to bring awareness to myself and to anyone reading, about how GOD’s perspective is from a completely different angle to ours with regard to slavery, and we need, I believe, to learn to look from His perspective in this an in all matters.

I’m looking at Deuteronomy 6

The written record has just reiterated the 10 Commandments in Chapter 5. Looking from Chapter 6 let us look at some of the language GOD uses to address those who will be left behind, to go into the Promised Land with Joshua after Moses has died…

“Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you… “ (v 3a)

“… when you have eaten and are full — then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, from the house of bondage. You shall fear the LORD your GOD and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other peoples gods….” (v 12b-14a)

“You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your GOD, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.” (v 17)

GOD’s address

The language is bossy, abrupt, direct, warning and without any subtly… because these “children” descended from their fathers who were in slavery, and they have not yet learned how to walk in responsibility that comes with freedom.

His instructions are clear avoiding any doubt or confusion: live this way in order to avoid dire consequences. 

The behaviour expected is a bit prescribed, because that is what these people are accustomed to. This does not advocate slavery but does suggest freedom is not without its expectations.

What is important to note

Slavery is nasty, undesirable, constrictive; it keeps one within harsh boundaries. But are all boundaries bad? These Hebrew people are going into the Promised Land where the cities will be taken from others and they will not need to build. The land will offer delicious food — it is the Land flowing with Milk and Honey. They will have absolute freedom, which they have never experienced before. 

Freedom is the ability to make decisions and choices without any inhibitions or barriers. GOD is offering boundaries to those who’ve not experienced freedom because freedom requires responsibility if it is to be blessed, prosperous, healthy leading to joy and fulfilment. These people needed to learn how to live in freedom.

Freedom with Responsibility is what we all need today

While we may desire freedom, our downfall occurs when we have freedom and make mistakes. We can learn from any mistake but some mistakes are better not to make. GOD sets boundaries to protect us: ‘To love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself’…. A focus on this keeps us safe from our human propensity toward selfishness and subsequent decay.

Holy Spirit and Boundaries

When we are filled with and walk with and are in partnership with the Holy Spirit, there is total freedom because Holy Spirit within us is our safeguard from error. Ignoring Him brings unpleasant consequences. Walking with Him and following His lead provides protection.

Slavery is unpleasant bondage. But absolute freedom is risky. Boundaries within our freedom protects us from ourselves.

From Slavery to Freedom

The Hebrews gained their freedom but it took a long time for them to grow accustomed to walking in it. They needed GOD’s boundaries and they needed to be thankful. Instead they often grumbled, doubted, complained, disobeyed. Let us learn from them and instead enjoy the liberty and freedom we have without forgetting who GOD is and what He has done through Jesus for us.

Sometimes scripture is cited ‘we are slaves for Christ’… that is not so that we obey the Law. It is not so that we feel condemnation when we err. It is so that we can enjoy belonging to Him and accept the safeguard of boundaries that our mature conscience and relationship with GOD offer, so that we enjoy freedom with responsibility.

Every blessing,


Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Receiving from GOD: Are we like the Hebrew slaves?

Receiving from GOD: Are we like the Hebrew slaves?

Why the Hebrews didn’t trust the power of GOD

A question I’ve often asked myself is ‘Why did the Hebrews not have more faith? Why did they moan instead of trust GOD?’

They moaned when their backs were against the sea and the Egyptian chariots were closing in. Sure, it’d be scary. But already they’d received the gold from the Egyptians before they departed as promised to them from GOD through Moses. And they were wandering in the desert but never lost, following a supernatural cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. And yet, when they came to the Red Sea they despaired.

So why did they doubt GOD would protect them against the Egyptians?

Before the Red Sea is parted, Moses promises them, “Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13) and GOD delivers!

A look into Exodus 12-14 reveals how GOD provides for them time and again. They praise GOD after they escape from the Egyptians, passing through the Red Sea while walking on dry ground. And yet their fear returns as soon as they are thirsty….

Even after all the evidence of GOD’s provision through the supernatural, as soon as the Hebrews got thirsty, they lost faith again and complained… to Moses.

The root problem: the Hebrews’ lack of relationship

Notice first, that the people didn’t talk to GOD but to Moses. They didn’t relate to their heavenly father, the Creator but to the appointed human leader. They looked to their provision to come from Moses, rather than seeking GOD for themselves. They must have feared the all-powerful GOD, whereas the human leader was the one to whom they could make their pleas and demands.

Perhaps this is how they received their subsistence from the Egyptians; food came from the designated leaders or guards, not from Pharaoh himself. They had no relationship with Pharaoh and so, they had no expectation to relate to GOD Himself.

They didn’t know HOW to be free

The Hebrews had been slaves for generations. What they did, what they ate, had been determined by the sovereign will of the Pharaoh; and what they received depended upon the distribution by the guards. They had no expression of free will.

They only knew how to follow commands.

Slaves do not have freedom. Consider the slaves in the American South at the time of the American Civil War (1861-1865). For decades, slaves had received from their masters their food, lodging, clothing; sometimes even their mates were selected for them. They were seldom taught to think but only to take what was given to them. Perhaps some had the gumption to complain, but they knew they might get whipped for it, or worse.  Some had kind owners, some had evil owners; therefore, some lived in peaceful surroundings, but many lived in total fear…. 

Plantations were somewhat smaller than the universe though.

As for the Hebrews, whilst they too knew how to follow, they did not know whom they were following…. And so they didn’t receive. 

Lack of Faith

They refused to trust GOD to go into and capture the Promised Land, so their generation never got to see it. When all but Caleb and Joshua refused to take the land, GOD said,

“… because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.” (Numbers 13:22-23) 

How about us? Will we see our Promised Land?

Our personal concept of GOD

Are we like the Hebrews, fearful of GOD, avoiding personal contact? Even unbelievers have a concept of an all-powerful GOD, though they lack the awareness that He could be full of grace and love — if He exists at all.

As born again believers, are we aware of who GOD is, or are we as still slaves in our perception of GOD? Do we know Him as our provider, full of goodness and truth?

Moses asked GOD, ‘Who shall I say has sent me?’ In Exodus 3:14 GOD’s reply was to say, “I AM WHO I AM”

There are many names of GOD which evoke an image or identity of Himself. Here are some below:

El Shaddai = all sufficient one

Adonai = over all

Yahweh or Yehovah Rohi = shepherd

Rapha = one who heals

Jireh = one who provides

Shalom = one who is our peace

Do we recognise our image of GOD in this list of names? Or have we developed a false sense of GOD’s identity? 

(There are so many more names which identify GOD. Check out the internet for a more comprehensive list.) 

Our perception of GOD

Jesus called GOD his father many times. So he is Our Father also. But have we inadvertently overlaid that image as Our Father with that of our own imperfect earthly father, or teachers, parents, or church leaders?

Moses acted as GOD’s spokesperson, in part because the Hebrews did not communicate with GOD directly. Do we put someone between ourselves and GOD?

Do we trust, knowing he “gives good gifts to children”? 

The Father loves us, does not condemn us

Are we receiving everything as He intends for us?

Now “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) So I am not seeking to condemn anyone, or to suggest anyone is walking in an “unfit” manner. But rather, I am urging all of us to ensure our image of GOD is as accurate as our knowledge of Him will allow, and that we walk freely — in love and in the Spirit — so that we can receive all He has for us, both now and eternally.

In Yeshua/Jesus I pray, Amen.