Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           February 6, 2011                           NO. 6

 To Sell Oneself
     This may seem like a strange title for a religious article but I want to explore this concept of one selling himself or herself.
     The Hebrew word “makar” means literally “to sell” as one that would be sold into slavery. We find God instructing the Israelites that if they become disobedient to His statutes and commands that they would be physically sold into slavery. Deuteronomy 28:68 gives this warning “And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.” We find Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers and then by the Ishmaelites to Potiphar. Genesis 37: 27,28,36 “Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh.  And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard.” We can see from this that when one is sold into slavery he renounces all his rights and freedoms and becomes the property of his master to wholly give himself to work the will of his new master. We surrender all our liberties and become bondmen and bondwomen. What our master wills then we are obligated and demanded to accomplish regardless of whatever our thoughts or emotional conflicts might be that may arise. To be in slavery demands complete obedience. But the word also has a sense as to where it is not only used literally but also figuratively. Figuratively it means to surrender your will or to sell oneself like a slave as in the physical practice of one giving themselves over wholly to the submission of another.
     The question then comes before us is if we can sell ourselves? And the answer is a resounding Yes. In a figurative sense we can and do sell ourselves. Ahab was one of the kings over Israel and certainly he was not in physical slavery to anyone but the prophet Elijah charged Ahab that he had sold himself into slavery. We read the charge in 1 Kings 21:20,25 “And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?  And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD. But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” Ahab had committed himself to doing evil. The question then is who did Ahab sell himself to? The answer is that Ahab sold himself to Satan to do the wickedness of Satan. Ahab became the slave of Satan.
     Paul put it this way in Romans 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Peter put it this way in 2 Peter 2:19 “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” Jesus stated in John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” And again Jesus made this statement in Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” We can most certainly sell ourselves and place ourselves into spiritual slavery.
     We find the charge by the Lord against Israel selling themselves as recorded in 2 Kings 17:17 “And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.“ They sold themselves to do evil. They gave themselves up wholly to work the will of their master. In the verses before we can find the process they went through which resulted in them selling themselves into slavery. One of the steps is that they walked in a different path. In 2 Kings 17:7 we read “For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods.” They feared or gave reverence to other gods. Other gods took priority in their lives and they placed their dependence upon them. How did they show this reverence? 2 Kings 17:8 states “And walked in the statutes of the heathen.” The statutes were man-made commands and laws dictated by people who did not subject themselves to the one and only God. They followed laws and commands set up by men who did not acknowledge God as the Supreme Ruler. They took man’s word and gave it precedence over God’s word.
     How often do we see people today selling themselves by following man’s statutes as authoritative in opposition to God’s divine authority. They rejected the authority of God and felt that the other ways were better as stated in 2 Kings 17:14 “Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.” How often do we see in religious activities today people selling themselves by following creeds and manuals originated by man-made wisdom and usurping the authority of God. When you ask for Bible authority they respond by saying, “But I think…” showing their rejection of God. One becomes dull of hearing and no longer accepts the instructions of God. They become self-willed and determined by rejecting God’s instructions. 2 Kings 17:15 records “And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.” To follow vanity is to go after and practice that which is worthless and thereby making one vain or worthless also. They wanted to be like all the other nations around them.
     We see congregations today selling themselves in wanting to be like all the other assemblies around them. They start incorporating the practices of those around them in order to draw in crowds or to make their assemblies more appealing to the world. My friends the gospel of Jesus Christ is the drawing power to the world not the practices of those around us. And soon that which follows is that one leaves all the commandments of God as recorded in 2 Kings 17:16 “And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal
     We must be careful and examine our lives and not make excuses or try to cover up our selling of ourselves to do that which is contrary to God’s statutes and laws. 2 Kings 17:9 records that this is exactly what they tried to do “And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city
     Have you sold yourself by refusing to submit to the Lord’s instructions? Have you sold yourself by following those around you who follow God with corrupted practices and not in compliance with every command of His? Let us not become slaves but unto God and His statutes and commandments and serve Him faithfully in complete obedience to His will.
---Larry Bumgardner
Mill Street church of Christ
London, KY
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