Master & Servant: Pride in Being His Servant
“If as servants, have compassion on us as a Master to His servant.” “Be surety for Your servant for good. Let me not be oppressed by insolent sinners (Psalms 119:122).” The only way that I can exist as Your servant is if You, my Master, protect me from those who endeavor to lead me into sin.
The Alshich compares this to Heaven’s protection of Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Akiva in the following two stories: Rabbi Meir used to scoff at transgressors. One day Satan appeared to him in the guise of a woman on the opposite bank of the river. As there was no ferry, he seized the rope and proceeded across.
When he had reached half way along the rope, he [Satan] let him go saying: ‘Had they not proclaimed in Heaven, “Take heed of Rabbi Meir and his learning,” I would have valued your life at two ma’ahs.’
Rabbi Akiba used to scoff at transgressors. One day Satan appeared to him as a woman on the top of a palm tree. Grasping the tree, he went climbing up: but when he reached half-way up the tree he [Satan] let him go, saying: ‘Had they not proclaimed in Heaven, “Take heed of Rabbi Akiba and his learning,” I would have valued your life at two ma’ahs (Kiddushin 81).
King David expresses confidence that since he is God’s servant, God will protect him from stumbling again as he did with Batsheva. (Romemot El)
When we derive pride from serving as God’s servants, we can turn to Him for protection from sin.