Summary: The servant in Deuteronomy 15 accepted a special mark in order to belong to the master he loved. Is that true for us as well? How can we be marked for Jesus? And how does that mark change who we are as servants of the most high God?
OPEN One night a teenage girl brought her new boyfriend home to meet her parents, and they were appalled by his appearance: leather jacket, motorcycle boots, tattoos and pierced nose.
Later, the parents pulled their daughter aside and confessed their concern.
"Dear," said the mother diplomatically, "he doesn’t seem very nice."
"Oh, Mom," replied the daughter, "if he wasn’t nice, why would he be doing 500 hours of community service?"
APPLY: Now, why was this guy doing 500 hours of community service?
Because he probably WASN’T very nice.
He was NOT the kind of boy this mother wanted her girl going out with.
That mother was right!
And how did she know he wasn’t the right guy for her daughter?
Because of… his markings.
Now, in our text this morning, we’re reading about an entirely different kind of “marking. Deuteronomy describes a marking that only special people had.
"If a fellow Hebrew, a man or woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free. And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed. Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing-floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you.
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today. But if your servant says to you, "I do not want to leave you," because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your maidservant.” Deuteronomy 15:12-17
In our society, a person who gets into financial trouble goes on Welfare. But in early Israel, they had a little different kind of Welfare.
· 1st, God demanded that His people have compassion on the poor and help them.
· Then, He commanded that a certain portion of the Temple tithe was to go to help those struggling financially.
· Then, He also required that a certain portion of fields and vineyards were set aside for the needy to collect food. The poor were allowed to glean what they needed from the unharvested parts of fields.
But, if an Israelite found this wasn’t enough to meet his/her needs, they had one last option open to them. They could sell themselves into slavery and the money from being sold into slavery would be used to pay off the person’s debts.
Now this slavery was only be for a limited amount of time.
God decreed that after serving 6 years, these slaves were to be set free.
AND once they were freed - they were NOT to be sent away empty-handed.
The master was commanded by God to send these former slaves on their way, with a liberal supply of sheep, grain, and drink, so they would have a small nest egg to restart their lives.
But what if this slave didn’t want to be set free?
What if he wanted to stay with his master?
What if, as Deuteronomy 15:16 says “your servant says to you, ‘I do not want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family and is well off with you…”?
Well, then, God allowed the slave to make the relationship permanent. And the way this relationship became permanent was that the servant was voluntarily “marked” for the rest of his life.