Edging Away from Egypt (VII)

Today, in both the Western nations and the Marxist states, work is increasingly seen as a burden and a curse. The greater the departure from Christian faith and a free economy, the greater the flight from work and the less the dominion exercised by man. Leisure man is, however comfortable his circumstances, a slave; he is the heir of the bread and circuses mobs of Rome.[1]

One of the consequences of a life of slavery, is that people develop a negative view of work. For a slave, work is unrewarding. He may have food and a place to sleep, but little more. The thing that almost every free person wants to do, is get ahead- to enjoy the fruits of his labor, long-term. This, a slave cannot do.

When Israel came out of Egypt, their negative attitudes towards almost everything God wanted for them, were a constant source of frustration for Moses. They had been slaves, and so they needed a complete renewal of their mind in terms of what life would be like, now that they were a free people. This included their attitudes towards work, because work was an important aspect of the dominion that God wanted to lead them into, as they approached the promised land.

They complained,

We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna (Nu.11:5-6).

It is the same for us. It is the slavery mentality that says, “I’m entitled to hand-outs,” and the entitlement mentality which has developed in the West over generations now, as a result of its acceptance of socialism, has sapped the West’s vitality and willingness to work.

The Bible speaks of this attitude, in relation to the sluggard:

The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!” As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is weary of bringing it to his mouth again. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer (Prov.26:13-16).

When Israel had its repetitive times of ungodliness and rebellion against God and Moses, it hankered for a return to Egypt. Even though God was miraculously providing for them every day in the form of manna, and their shoes and clothes weren’t wearing out, this was insufficient for them. They still wanted the “something for nothing,” that they deceived themselves into thinking they could get by going back to Egypt. It was an evil attitude to harbour, then or now.

Work is something that Christians should approach with an attitude that is thankful, positive and confident. Paul commanded the Corinthians:

Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor.15:58).

The garden of Eden was a place of work, not play. God “took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to keep it” (Gen.2:15). And after the Fall when the ground was cursed and there were “thorns and thistles” (Gen.3:18), Adam and Eve found greater resistance to their activities. Hard work in overcoming this was essential for them.

Thus we see among godly people in the Bible that they got up early, and they didn’t do so, to contemplate their naval. Abraham got up early (Gen.19:27; 21:14; 22:3), as did Jacob (Gen.28:18), and Joshua (Joshua 3:1; 6:12; 7:16; 8:10).

Moses got up early (Ex.24:4; 34:4), and Samuel rose early to confront Saul (I Sam.15:12). David got up early (I Sam.17:20; 29:11), as did Job (Job 1:5), while the Bible says of the woman of Proverbs, that she “rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions (or “prescribed tasks”) to her maidens” (Prov.31:15).

Jesus’ busy and responsible attitude towards His tasks is particularly evident in Mark’s gospel, which repeatedly speaks of Him doing things “immediately.” (See Mk.1:20; 1:21; 2:8; 6:45; 8:10). He said, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (Jn.9:4).

Godless men have historically glorified power in its many manifestations, but the godly man is different. Rushdoony commented,

The Kingdom of God comes, not by theft and murder, not by political saviors, but by the grace of God unto salvation, and by obedience to His law. The ass was a symbol, not only of a humble status, but of work. Not conquest but work, not coercion but humble labor in the Lord, establishes man’s dominion under God.[2]

The Christian man wants his attitude to be renewed by the scriptures, and this includes his approach to work. Work can be manual, repetitive and boring, in difficult weather or with unpleasant people. Jesus put up with Judas for 3 years as one of the twelve, knowing he would betray Him.

Conclusion:                                                                                                                                    

Any work and task from God should never be despised or scorned. It is a vital aspect of our dominion, to be embraced.

You really want to serve the King of kings? Get ready to get busy and work hard.

 

 

 

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p. 373.

[2] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.57.