Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them: If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever. Exodus 21.1-6
Servants with a pierced ear were known in society as someone who was a servant by choice. Wherever he went, his pierced ear would attract the attention of others.
While reading this, I remember the Maasai tribe, in which we find many men with pierced ears, due to an extender they no longer use in their ears. We can say that it is practically impossible not to notice the hole in their ears!
And this makes us think about the servant who, out of love, pierced his ear in an act of permanent surrender. Wherever he went, people would immediately know that he was a servant who chose to be a servant, when he was no longer obligated to be one.
Though by right of purchase (by Redemption), the Lord Jesus is our owner, He does not impose His lordship on our lives. He delivered us all from bondage (Galatians 4.7), but we can voluntarily assume this position out of love (and, indeed, this is what God expects of us!).
Let’s think a little more about the servant with a pierced ear. He served his master for six years knowing that in the seventh year he would be free. How many are those who, under the same conditions, would already be counting the days to celebrate their freedom with a great party! It is quite natural for many to think this way.
However, the idea of wanting to be a servant without having to be one is unusual. But, this concept of serving without being obligated is exactly what God is looking for, people who come to serve Him out of love, not out of obligation, fear or self-interest.
The only reason for anyone to remain a servant after six years of servitude would be to do so out of love.
The biblical text says, “But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free.”Note that though his family (wife and children, who could not go with him upon gaining his freed) is mentioned, the expression “I love my master” is what comes first. The decision was based on a sentiment that, above all, involved the master of this servant.
The Lord Jesus earned the legal right to be our Owner, Master and Lord. However, He prefers not to use this right as a conqueror of our lives. He prefers that when freedom is offered to us, we choose to serve Him, out of our own free will. The servant with a pierced ear did not remain with his master by obligation, but out of love, because unlike Satan, who oppresses his slaves, God loves and deeply respects those who serve Him!
Collaborated by: Bishop Alvaro Lima