Saturday 10 November 2018, 8:09am
When I arrived last week in New York, I rode in a shuttle bus to the hotel. The driver of the bus and I got along right away. As we talked, I discovered he was a believer. But the more we talked, I learned he did not believe in the Bible. The reason for not believing was twofold: First, the Bible had been written by men. He said because of this, he did not believe what was written. He continued saying the “men” who wrote it were just like “us” (humans) who make mistakes.
The second point he made was about slavery. He said God allowed slavery. He talked about the injustice of slavery. Was it because men had written the Bible? I don’t know. I wanted defend God because I knew that what he was saying wasn’t true. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough knowledge about Biblical slavery to engage in further discussion.
Ever since that day, I’ve been thinking about the driver and what he said about slavery. I thought about researching on line about slavery in the Bible but instead, something told me to read the beginning of the Scripture. So I did.
This morning I found the answer. First, in Genesis 1:26-28 God said: “let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them,“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Further, God named Adam and Eve“mankind” Genesis 5:2 Clearly, the Lord created “mankind” in His likeness, His image and there is no mention of “slaves” at all. It is not the Lord but “mankind”who created slavery. We read after the fall of Adam and Eve, a world emerged of sin; adultery, idolatry, wickedness, violence and so on.
Abram was the first to mention the word “servants” Genesis 15:2 and his wife Sarai the first to use the word “slaves”. Genesis 16:2
God never made a distinction between “mankind” as in Genesis 17:12 God says: “For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner – those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.” It is us, “mankind” who differentiate and segregate among ourselves. We are the ones who are the oppressors, not God.
The Bible is about God’s character: His love and grace, mercy and forgiveness, patience and justice. Knowing and understanding God’s character; increases our faith, obedience and love for the Lord. Besides learning about God’s character, the Bible teaches us valuable lessons from His relationship with the people of the past. It teaches us “God has granted us to everything pertaining life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him.” 2Peter 1:3
That brings me to “discernment”. It is our responsibility to decide what happens and what not. We have the responsibility to distinguish between what is true and not true, what is right and what is wrong. First Thessalonians 5:21-22 teaches us that we are to examine everything carefully and choose that which is good and to stay away from everything that is evil.
There is so still much to learn about God’s character. Where else than in the Bible can we learn and understand the Lord’s ways? and apply what we have learned in our own lives. We can accept the Bible or reject it. The choice is ours. I pray for the driver that he may change his mind and read the Word of God.