Scripture: from verse 24
…a slave-brand instead of beauty.
Observation: The women of Israel were being very proud (and greedy and vain and slutty, by the sound of it) and this was to be part of their punishment, along with being stripped of everything else they were proud of.
And it strikes me as interesting because God said in Leviticus that His people are His slaves. God owns us. 1 Corinthians says that we were bought with a price.
I don’t have any real proof of this, but I think our beauty is a sign of God’s ownership. He made us, and He made us beautiful. Ephesians 5 says that God is preparing us to be His bride, pure and without defect.
All of us are owned by God, if we accept His grace. All of us bear the beauty that is the mark of His ownership. And if God is our beauty, we don’t have to be afraid.
Application: Ask the Lord how He made you beautiful. Stand strong in that knowledge.
Prayer: Yeshua, you have marked me with beauty, inside and out. Help me to share that beauty with others and not to hide it. Amen.
Scripture: verse 24
Remember that as your reward, you will receive the inheritance from the Lord. You are slaving for the Lord, for the Messiah.
Observation: Paul’s advice to slaves is not to rebel or attempt to gain their freedom. It is to decide that everything they do is done for the Lord, rather than for their masters.
In Leviticus I noticed that God says that we are His slaves. He bought us, and we belong to Him. We cannot be slaves because we already are.
God owns me. He will not share me or sell me and no one can do anything to me without His permission, because I am His property. He is my authority and He has my reward. Other people are kind of irrelevant, really. They don’t own me and He does. That His orders line up with their wishes a lot of the time is His problem, not mine.
There’s a lot of danger in that. If I do something wrong for a human, it’s not a big deal because they’re human too. But God isn’t human. He is Other. He is Holy.
But there’s safety in it as well. Because God has not chosen to treat me as a slave or a servant. He has chosen to treat me as a daughter. My mistakes are covered before I even make them.
And whether I make mistakes or not, I am protected. He is in charge of making decisions, and I don’t have to rely on my own limited understanding. Sometimes we make decisions together, but I’m still under His protection. He protects me and feeds me and gives me exactly what I need to be free.
Application: Trust God. Work for Him.
Prayer: Father, thank you for making me yours. Thank you for making me your slave and your daughter and your pet project. Help me to trust in your protection. Amen.
Scripture: verse 15
[He stripped] the rulers and authorities of their power… triumphing over them by means of the stake
Observation: I grew up with undiagnosed selective mutism, a form of social anxiety where the speech centers of my brain would shut down and I would become mute when I got anxious – especially if I was expected to explain or defend myself. This tended to be a problem, as I’m sure you can imagine.
So when I hear about being slaves to sin and prisoners of darkness, that’s what I think of. The paralyzing fear that made it impossible to think, but was so all-encompassing that I was in college before we realized something was wrong.
And that’s what Yeshua broke. He stripped that anxiety of its authority over me. The fear that I wasn’t good enough and would never measure up is overcome by the truth that I am His now, and He is good enough and He measures up. He’s the only one allowed to judge me now, and He says I’m perfect.
I am free now. I haven’t been mute since God miraculously broke the selective mutism about six months after I got married. I do still have some social anxiety, but it doesn’t imprison me like it used to. Yeshua died to wash away its power.
Application: Seek freedom. The things that bind you have no power anymore.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for freeing me. Thank you for making me a daughter instead of a slave. Help me to turn over to you the things that still hold me back. Amen.
Scripture: verse 55
For to Me the people of Israel are slaves; they are my slaves whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.
Observation: This verse is repeated twice in the passage, and it concerns poverty in Israel: Israelites who became poor could sell themselves into slavery, but they were to be treated well, as if they were an employee or tenant, and they went free during the Jubilee year. People of Israel were not to be treated as property.
What struck me here is the reasoning: Israelites could not be owned by humans because they were already owned by God. They had to treat each other well, not just because they were humans, but because they were God’s property and He did not want His things mistreated. We are God’s treasured possession.
Modern Americans don’t really like the idea of being property. Cultures change, for the better in this case. But being God’s possession brings a sense of safety. If He owns us, then it’s up to Him to take care of us. He gets all the stress, and we get to belong.
I love it when the feeling of belonging wraps around me like a warm coat. Knowing that He has me exactly where I’m supposed to be. Knowing that I’ve been called by name (Isaiah 41:1) and bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20) and I belong to Him. I don’t have to worry about my identity or my purpose or my worth – that’s His problem. I belong here in His love.
Application: You belong to God. Let Him worry about things.
Prayer: Yeshua, thank you for making me yours. Thank you for giving me a place to grow and for taking care of me and polishing me and protecting me. Help me to trust your love. Amen.