Saturday, December 21, 2013

Miracles Aren’t For The Greedy -- Exodus 16:16


“This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Gather of it every man as much as he should eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of persons each of you has in his tent.’”
 
The bread or manna was indeed provided by God for them in answer to their grumblings.  But before they could commence the process of gathering it (or sweeping it up from the ground) and then eating, Moses has some final instructions for them from God.
Really very simple what he asked them to do.  Basically, gather only what you need in accordance to the number of mouths that have to be fed in your household.  They were to collect one ‘omer’ for each such person.  (We do not know whether that includes infants or toddlers, but does it really matter?)  Wikipedia’s definition of an omer in today’s equivalents (at which they arrive through numerous equations) is a volume of about 3.64 liters.  That’s a lot of “flake-liked things” to sweep up per person.
I have been in the Human Resources business for over four decades.  Back when I started it was still common to find individual business owners who wanted to pay men and women differently, married men and single men differently, married men with large families differently than married men with smaller or no family except their spouse.  Today, it is unheard of.   What has changed?  Is it God’s method of provision or man’s view of what is fair?  Let me give you another example.
The day before putting my comments down on paper on this portion of Scripture, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its unanimous decision (six males and three females including the Chief Justice) and considered three laws with respect to prostitution unconstitutional.  They were laws that made sex trade solicitation, running a brothel, and living off the avails of prostitution illegal.  Exactly twenty-three years earlier, the same Supreme Court of Canada (different judges for the most part) ruled those same three laws (on a vote of six [all males] to three [all females] as being reasonable and legal with respect to the government’s efforts to curb prostitution in the country.  What changed?  It wasn’t that the Chief Justice was now a female.  It wasn’t that prostitution is more legal today than it was twenty-three years ago for it is not.  It is, and was, legal.  There never was a law directly prohibiting the exchange of sex for money.  [Now the government has been given one year to rewrite these three related laws or bite the bullet and decide if they want to pass a law saying, “prostitution is illegal”.  Of course, the chances of them doing that is pretty slim, even though it is a conservative government for as one journalist pointed out, they haven’t changed the abortion law or the law on same-sex marriages.]  So, again, what changed to get this decision yesterday and to prevent a strong conservative majority government from taking stronger action?
Barbara Kay in her column on this decision suggests it was “cultural attitudes . . . that have shifted further toward the libertarian perspective, which regards ‘sex workers’ through a morally neutral lens as a fact of social life, a profession like any other, freely chosen by adults who know their own mind, and requiring nothing more than light regulation to curtail the spread of disease.  God of course does not see it that way and you can quote me on that.  You will want to read more of Ms. Kay’s thoughts in her column.
Of course, God’s views on both the relationship between a master and a servant (the progressive equivalent of today’s employer and employee) as well as His position on the morality of prostitution has not changed.  Man’s views have changed.  Man wants to replace God on all issues of morality --- these plus same-sex marriage and abortion, to name two more.
Do not misunderstand me; I am not advocating that today we need to pay people based on how many children they have, and let the equal pay for equal work legislation go hang.  No, we must live within the laws of the land.  But we need to understand that God intended for a man to have sufficient provision for his family.  And that goes for husbands and wives, and for single parents.  There is no law prohibiting us from seeing that God’s will is done in that regard, using some of creativity He has blessed us with.
For the Israelites as they began to gather the manna God had provided, their instructions were not to be greedy.  But could they follow them?

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