[From Oct. 26, 2015]
"The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah... that all should set free their Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should hold another Judean in slavery. And they obeyed."
As the Babylonians are bearing down on the nation of Israel, Jeremiah continues to share Gods' word with the people. He tells the king unequivocally that the city of Jerusalem will fall. God has ordained it. But the king himself will not be killed. As the armies are engaging in battle, another message comes - this time to all the people: release your Hebrew slaves. Now! "And they obeyed," the author tells us. For a time. "But afterward they turned around and took back the male and female salves they had set free" (v.11).
How curious. God called them to set the slaves free (Judean only. God didn't say anything about he foreign slaves, if there were those.). They did it (praise God!). Then they recanted. WHY? I'm guessing it was because the immediate threat had passed. I don't know how much time transpired between verses 10 and 11 (weeks? months? years?)... but over time, they reverted to enslaving humans again. (NOTE: God then instituted a new 7-year rule: that all Hebrews release all slaves every 7 years. God must've known we'd revert to sinful behavior over time!)
Palmdale UMC has a passion to free modern-day slaves. We're part of a network of churches and organizations in the Antelope Valley that are working to help bring awareness of human trafficking AND also engage in efforts to combat slavery. It's an age-old human predilection: to enslave others.
It's very sad. Our human condition leans toward sin. God seeks to lure us away from this devastating practice, but we seem to persist.
LORD, have mercy on us. May we all work to remove slavery from our society (and lives). May we value all human lives equally. May we work to bring freedom to those enslaved. And may we know that this is YOUR HEART'S DESIRE, too! AMEN.