Ep.324: Slavery.

Ep.324: Slavery.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.

In Ephesians 6, Paul says, “Slaves, obey your masters with respect and fear and sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” And to masters he says, “Treat your slaves well, because their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” (Eph 6:5,9). 

I make four comments on the Bible and slavery. 

First, Old Testament Hebrew slavery, New Testament Roman slavery, and American civil war slavery, each treated slaves in different ways, some better, some worse. Hebrew and Roman slaves had more rights than African slaves in America, but they too were subject to abuse. 

Second, John Murray, in his book on Christian ethics, says the Bible teaches that a slave’s labor belongs to his master, but the slave’s person belongs to God. The master forgets this at his peril. Paul warns the master, “You are a slave to God; treat your slaves the way God treats you” (Eph 5:19).

Third, I was a wage slave at Alberta Motor Association for a quarter century or so. For a third of each day, my time and labor belonged to AMA and I lived under the corporate threat that said, “You’re dispensable. Get along with people, be productive, and don’t complain, or we’ll fire you.” Sometimes when I was implementing bad decisions made by my masters, I was comforted by Paul’s words to slaves, “Work with your whole heart as working for the Lord. . . .For it is the Lord Christ you serve” (Col 3:24). 

Not mine to question why. Mine to serve wholeheartedly, and trust the outcome to my master Christ. And yet, I wish I had spoken up more about bad decisions. There was, and is, room for reason and discussion.

Fourth, the story of God freeing Hebrew slaves from Egypt and guiding them to the Promised Land informs much of the Old and New Testaments. It is a grand vision of an oppressed and enslaved people on a journey through desert and hunger and thirst and war to find a new place to live and new way to be. 

That’s us. Paul tells us we’re slaves to sin. And if we have courage to face the desert and the dryness and the warfare of a journey, God will bring us to a new place to live and a new way to be. 

Let’s pray. 

Our father, the prophet Micah painted a picture of peace and justice, saying:

Everyone will sit under their own vine
         and under their own fig tree,
and no one will make them afraid. . .  (Micah 4:4) 

Bring quickly that time when justice will rule the earth, when no one will threaten the poor with war and famine and theft, when assault rifles will supply steel for garden shovels, and tanks will be used as tractors. 

Meanwhile, teach us to be cheerful in our daily duties, as we serve others, and in them serve you. 


I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.  

YouTube channel: Pray with Me – YouTube