Helpful Tidbits for the Disciple's Life                                                                             February 1, 2010
The Law of the Bondservant
My Reflections
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You've heard the adage, "If any two people agree on any one thing, one of them isn't necessary." I assume, then, that's why plenty of people read what I write; it stretches them.
Now, consider this stretching statement: Although you are dead to the law (you've been crucified with Christ), the law is not dead to you. In fact, we are to be bondservants to the law of our God.

QUESTION/TOPIC IN FOCUS: Just as the Psalmist proclaims, we are to delight in the law of the Lord (Ps 1:2)
The Law of the Bondservant
Excerpted from a Parashat HaShavuah by Tony Robinson
Org_LeadThe first law in Exodus 21 is the law of the bondservant. Let's see how these instructions help us gain more understanding concerning the significance of the covenant ceremony in Exodus 24:1-11.

Q: What is the main duty of a bondservant (slave)?
A: To obey the master's commands.

Let's now consider how the law of the bondservant is thematically linked to obedience and the olah offering. During the bondservant ceremony, a person's ear is pierced with an awl onto a doorpost. We know that after the ceremony the bondservant has a hole in his ear. In other words, the servant's ear has been opened!

Q: Can you think of a Psalm thematically related to the law of the bondservant?
A: Yes. "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering [olah] and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, 'Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:6-8, emphasis added).

So, what was the significance of piercing the ear through, nailing the ear to a doorpost? That question can be answered with another question. What is on the doorpost of any Torah observant Israelite? The bondservant had his ear pierced to a doorpost that contained the commandments of Adonai (Mazuzah). Therefore, his ear was "opened" to hear and be obedient to the commandments of Adonai!
My Reflections 
When Aimee I first started dating we came face to face with the question (we were watching Oprah), What would we do if the other cheated? Young and brash, my first reaction was a natural one: exit the relationship. After much contemplation, however, I began to change my mind. Considering how God accepted me in the midst of my sin, my adultery, I began to open up to the possibility of extending the same unconditional love to a wayward spouse.
In a healthy marriage, there's a law: don't cheat. But should the law be broken, there's a greater law: the law of love. It requires a crucifixion on the part of the one extending the grace, to be sure, but the marriage is preserved and, hopefully, fully restored.
But what if the wayward spouse then takes advantage of the grace? What if they reason, Have I not been released from the law of marriage because the law of love supercedes it? Certainly not!
Org_LeadPaul the Apostle spoke to this situation (Gal 2:17, 18 NASB): "But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor." (For insightful commentary, click here.)
Now, before anyone labels me a heretic, consider that in Bible times two "laws" were perpetually at the forefront of people's minds: the law of Moses (the Bible) and the laws created by various religious sects (e.g., Pharisaical). So, which set of laws do you think Paul was condemning in Galatians? And, which ones was he promoting? You'll have to study long and hard on this one (Hint: your English versions of the Bible won't do it justice).
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty (bio)
The Banqueting Table