And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn…,
since no one [will] buy their cargo anymore,
cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fancy clothes and silk,
scented and costly wood, ivory, bronze, iron, marble,
cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense,
wine, oil, fine flour, wheat,
cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, [expensive cars],
and slaves, that is, human souls.
God hates slavery.
In the Old Testament, knowing that even His own people the Jews would go with the culture of their day and keep slaves, God gave clear instructions on how slaves were to be treated: fairly, well, allowed to earn their freedom, completely freed with their family at set times.
When the Jews were held as slaves in Egypt, God ‘heard their groaning’ and powerfully set them free in such a miraculous way that the surrounding nations were in awe of the Jews’ God for years.
In the New Testament, God called and welcomed slaves into His Kingdom just as much as free, rich people. In the early years of the Church, slaves and rich people were instructed to worship side-by-side in unity because they were all equal in God’s eyes.
The above verse from Revelation 18 is part of a passage about how the world’s system will one day end when Jesus returns and puts everything to right. Everyday trade will finish. But look at the last phrase. It is shocking: ‘and slaves, that is, human souls’.
How can we think it’s okay for another human being to be bought and sold?
God sees the modern-day slaves and people who have been trafficked. He hears their groans and He sees their misery. Yes, God sees the thousands of modern-day slaves forced to work in nail salons, car wash places, building sites, in homes as domestics, in brothels and red light districts throughout the UK.
One day, slavery will end for good. (If you are reading this and are a slave owner or human trafficker, you need to repent. God loves you and offers you abundant life but He won’t overlook the evil you’re doing.)
But I don’t want to sit around waiting for that day. What is important to God must be important to me. One day He will end slavery for good, but His heart is for those who are oppressed and ill-treated now. We are His hands and feet, and we have a responsibility to do what we can.
I want to play my part in seeing slavery end now.
Individuals aren’t for sale. No one should be bought and sold. Children are precious. Women are precious. Men are precious.
Let’s pray. Let’s keep our eyes open. Let’s work together to end the horror that is slavery and human trafficking.