Vol. 7, No. 9
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There were many slaves living in the Roman empire during the first century. Some of the slaves had sold themselves into slavery. They sometimes did this to keep from being killed. Sometimes they did this to actually make their lives easier. Their new masters would take them to a rich part of the world. Some slaves were from conquered countries. If the country had fought hard to keep from being conquered, the Romans would bring many of the people to other parts of the Roman Empire and sell them. Sometimes soldiers got to take defeated people as slaves as a part of their wages for being soldiers.
Ephesus was a major trading center in the Roman empire. A great amount of trade was done there. Some ancient writers say that as many as 10,000 slaves sold there each day.
Paul speaks to the slaves and the masters in his letter to the Ephesian church. In Ephesians 6:5-8, he tells the slaves to obey their masters. They are to do their service with good will. They are to obey their masters as if they were servants of Christ.
In Ephesians 6:9, Paul tells the masters to treat their servants with the same attitude that he had told the servants to have toward their masters. He tells them to remember that they have a Master in heaven.
I am glad that we have a good Master in heaven. He does not have respect of persons. He does not treat one person one way and another person another way. He loves all men. And he wants all men to love and obey him. He wants all men to be his servants. If we will be good servants, he promises to give us a great reward--heaven.
"But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." (Psalm 73:2-3)
Many of those who follow God are poor. They do not have many possessions. Sometimes they may not even have food to eat. They may not have a home. They may not have clothes to keep them warm.
It is not hard to understand that there would be times that these poor individuals would begin to wonder if they were doing what is right. They look at those in this world that have so much and yet are not following God, and they begin to doubt. They are tempted to give up following God's Word and join in the activities that those in sin do.
In verse 7 of Psalm 73, it is said that the righteous look and see that the rich "have more than heart could wish." In verse 5, the prophet says that the rich are not troubled like other men. Yet he acknowledges that these rich men are corrupt and speak wickedly.
The prophet overcomes his envy and keeps his feet from slipping. He continues to believe in and trust in God. He knows that those who are rich and wicked will be brought into desolation (v.19). He also knows that the righteous will be received into glory (v.24) to be with God in heaven (v.25).
So, if you are ever are tempted and wish you could be like the rich, wicked person, remember that it is good to draw near to God. It is best to put your trust in the Lord God (v.28).
Until next time, keep reading your Bible and getting the wisdom of God. Do not let your feet slip. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.