What Does Exodus 21:6 Mean?

then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

Exodus 21:6(NASB)
Picture courtesy of Hillary Duff

Verse Thoughts

Once Satan had tempted man to sin and seized dominion over the world from Adam, he immediately began to infect the human race with every flavour and colour of evil, which finally resulted in the worldwide judgement of Noah's flood. Even though Noah and his family had been declared righteous because of their faith, the fallen nature of every post-diluvian man and woman caused iniquity to fill up once more, resulting in the next judgement on humanity - in Babylon, where the one language everyone spoke was confused, to prevent them from pursuing doctrines of demons.

It was at this point that God took ONE man, who believed His word - God took Abraham, and determined his descendants would become the people of God, through whom the Messiah would be born. Israel would become a physical race that was ethnically distinct for the rest of humanity, whom the Lord would use to bless the world through a coming Saviour, so Israel became a theocracy - the ONLY nation that has ever been governed by God, legitimately.

While Israel would be under the authority of God, ALL other nations would be subjected to Satan. Israel were to be a light to the Gentiles, and they were to tell others the good news that the Lord was sending a Saviour to free humanity from the iron-clad grip of Satan. As God's people, they were to bring the lost into the house of Israel, where they would also be governed by God and under His sovereign authority.

So God made a covenant with Israel - the only nation who have such a relationship with the Lord. God was to use Israel to circumnavigate Satan's evil plan - rebellion against God, and the Mosaic covenant between God and Israel was formed. God gave His people instruction on how to live godly lives. He gave them moral, governmental, and religious laws as well as food laws, Sabbath laws, hygiene laws and legal laws.

The Mosaic Law had laws to do with animals and theft, personal responsibility and restitution, rape, dowry laws, and laws touching on a woman’s virginity. There were laws on idolatry, sorcery, the disadvantaged in society, money, property, and lending laws. In Exodus 21, God set before the nation a range of legal laws including, employment law, the treatment of servants, murder and manslaughter laws, and laws dealing with violent assault.

One such law touched on the treatment of a slave who preferred to remain in service to his master, rather than becoming a free man. "But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out as a free man', then his master shall bring him to God. Then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl and he shall serve him permanently."

This may seem a strange observance but like every aspect of the Mosaic Law, it was a pointer to Christ. The Law was designed to show man's relationship to God and the believer's acts of consecration to the Lord, Who has bought us - and it shows God's gracious dealings with man. But it was also a picture of the Father's relationship to Christ Jesus, His Son, Who lived His life as God's, perfect bond-servant. And no doubt, this is why certain apostles referred to themselves as Christ's bond-slave.  

This simple ceremony within the Mosaic law demonstrated a relationship between a master and his servant based on love, rather than obligation, humiliation, dishonour or defeat of a man under satanic control. And that same beautiful, relational picture should be of the Christian's love for our Lord and Saviour - our God and our Father.

Christ's finished work on the Cross gave every member of the human race the opportunity to be bought back, from the slave-market of sin and Satan, and to become free to live the rest of our life as Christ's bond-servant - through faith. He not only releases us from the penalty of sin and Satan that enslaved us before our salvation - when He paid the price for our sin on the Cross, but He ALSO offers us freedom from the ongoing power of sin and its unholy influence upon us as we journey through life.

The freedom He gives every born-again child of God is EITHER, an opportunity to choose to remain Christ's bond-servant, out of love for all that He has done for us, and to be protected by His mighty power to save, as we face life's ongoing difficulties and dangers... OR we are left free, to wander through the wilderness of life relying on our own abilities and our own power instead of His supernatural ability and all-powerful strength to keep and to save.

May we choose to have our spiritual ear pierced with His holy awl and consecrate the rest of our lives to His service out of deep love for the One Who purchased us with His own precious blood, and sealed our life into His protective care forever. May we be wise and join the ranks of men like Paul - a bondservant of Jesus Christ, James - a bondservant of God and of Jesus Christ, Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ and Jude, another bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

My Prayer

Loving Lord and Heavenly Father, what a beautiful picture of the true freedom we have in Christ, which is seen in the slave of Exodus 21 -  where out of love for his master, who redeemed him from the shackles of slavery, he chooses to have his ear pierced with an awl and dedicate the rest of his life to the master whom he loves. Thank You that I have been saved from the slave market of sin through faith in Christ. I desire to be a living sacrifice and dedicate my life to Your service. I pray that I may live the rest of my life as a faithful bond-slave of the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.

Picture courtesy of Hillary Duff

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