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Liberty by Submission, pt. 2

Exodus 21:5-6
“But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out for free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.”

Consider for a moment that the modern ideal of freedom today is in many ways more degrading to the value of human life than the version of slavery we find here in Exodus 21. Secularists think they’re making headway by shouting “My body—My right!” and “Pro-choice!” but they’re actually leading us into truly dark ages. Standing up for an individual’s God-given freewill is one thing but demanding that individuals have a right to do evil for their own sake is quite another. Those today who conflate every form of self-indulgence with human rights have paved the way for horrendous drug abuses and sexual deviancy and child exploitative practices. Sadly, to a culture where individual autonomy, not civic duty, is the essence of freedom, and where self-expression, not communal participation, is the ultimate virtue, this picture of a smiling bondservant walking proudly through town with a covenantal ear-piercing could start a riot.

This gets me thinking: what about women in yesteryear who married men chosen by their parents or who willingly stayed home to raise their children and steward their household? What about men who fought at the Battle of the Bulge or Gettysburg or Normandy, sacrificing their lives for the sake of posterity? What about kids who got plucked away from their parents to learn difficult apprenticeships because of poverty or other extenuating circumstances? Why were many of these wives fulfilled in their work and these soldiers valiant in battle and these day-laborers satisfied in their labor? The same reason certain Israelite slaves chose life-long vocational servitude over autonomy. Because God made clear that freedom is a spiritual matter—the condition of a man’s heart—and neither social status nor lack of opportunity changes that.

I’m confident that even some of the poorest of the poor in this ancient commonwealth, even the bondservants of all people, lived freer lives than most of the billionaires in our society do today.