Wednesday, January 19, 2011

James Had Me At Bond-Servant (James 1:1)

Monday I began studying the book of James.  Only two verses a day.  And day one I couldn’t get past these first words...

“James, a bond-servant of God...” (James 1:1)

A study years ago led to the study of a bond-servant.  But that was years ago and my flesh tends to forget these things...especially when they are costly. 

This one costs!

A bond-servant was a slave who willingly gave up 
his freedom to serve his master. 

There were a number of ways to become enslaved, but the Jewish culture was kind in that after 6 years of service the slave would become free at year 7.  However, if a slave wanted to stay with his master, he could enter into a Covenant relationship to become his bond-servant.  In choosing to become a bond-servant, the former slave was making the commitment to be fully devoted—for life!  Releasing his own dreams, interests...his own will to that of his master.

Why would someone want to remain a slave?


"But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man.'”  Exodus 21:5

So a Covenant was made between servant and master. 

“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

A long pointed spike would be put through the servant’s ear and he would literally and figuratively become a part of the family—with an “open ear” to the Master’s call.  This was a sign of the Covenant and, interestingly, the Hebrews symbolically linked the ear to obedience.

The benefit of becoming a bond-servant was provision.  All the needs of the servant would now be taken care of by the master. 

No striving—just obey!

The cost was self.  The servant was willingly giving up his own self interests—his will—to do the will of the serve the master.  The key of being a bond-servant is obedience.

I was once a slave to sin.  
I was purchased by the blood of Christ.

When I recognized God as Lord over all and Jesus as His one and only True Son; when I recognized my sin to the point of brokenness and sought forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ—I too entered willingly into Covenant: 

A lifelong commitment to love and obey.

So how am I doing with that today?

The thing about covenants is that when you enter into covenant with one, you enter into covenant with all the others in covenant with that same person.  The bond-servant became family with the family and with all other bond-servants of that family.  The benefit was not only provision, but love—community!

Am I a servant?  A true bond-servant of Christ?
Am I willingly, lovingly serving Him and obeying Him in my home? 
Am I willingly, lovingly serving the Body and fellow believers?
Am I willingly handing over my rights and my will—to obey?
Am I willing to trust the Lord to take care of me—forever?

It’s my will, for the Master’s.  Am I willing?

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Click here for the other posts from my study of the book of James
I am joining The Good Morning Girls as we study James together. 

    Participating in the link-ups with Raising Homemakers & Seeds of Faith