If you have ever watched children playing, especially a game that they made up themselves, and therefore were the architect of the rules of the game, you no doubt heard one or more of them make the following expression, “It not … fair.” Where does such an idea come from? It would seem to me that kids are just reflecting their Creator’s design by such statements. It reveals that God has built into human beings a justice meter that springs to life at hint of injustice. That meter has to be either tampered with or beat upon repeatedly by life’s injustice for it to stop functioning in the dour cynic. We were born longing for justice.
We rankle when we are witnesses to the violations of justice even when we are not necessarily the victims who suffer from the visible injustice. We rightly think the world is out of kilter when injustice prevails; it bothers us greatly, why it even angers us. This is how it should be. This is how our Creator designed us, with a justice meter sensitive enough to ferret out the injustices we encounter on this pilgrim journey.
Well, if your justice meter is healthy it has gotten a work out these past three decades, and it shows no sign of ending. It can even lead one to the despair of cynicism. The conclusion that injustice is normal, that right never prevails or that it is utterly futile and hopeless to even try to work for justice is wrong. I understand that despair, but there is one great reality which opposes it, one being who is the game changer, one perspective that overcomes that despair; that is Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, will bring perfect justice. There will be a payday that is coming when all wrongs are righted, when the seemingly endless stream of injustices are brought to an end and when the wicked receive their just desserts. However, before that day comes, I want to ask does God offer a payday for the wicked here in this life? Turn to Exodus 11, where we will see what it looks like when God does issue His payday in this world and it is a great comfort to us a reinforcement of our justice meter.
Plundering Egypt – Exodus 11:1-3
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether. Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold. And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.”
Now that term borrow is better translated as requested, as in asking for a favor. It is obvious from the rest of the account that there would be no returning these items Israel was requesting of the Egyptians. So the question, which arises, is was this stealing? They knew they wouldn’t be returning the items requested. So how does this differ from stealing? Note that it was God’s command that they do this, so it could not be unrighteous, but how did this work? Consider what was happening in this transaction.
God’s Justice could not rest unless some restitution was made. Four Centuries of bondage – theft of wages that have been done against the children of Israel. The people of Egypt had participated in this theft of wages. They participated either passively by doing nothing to oppose it, or actively by being part of the system of oppressing the Israelites. Perhaps they were overseers directly ruling with vigor against them, or maybe they were part of the bureaucracy, which without direct contact with them, they nonetheless oppressed them.
Egypt was structured in such a way that a massive bureaucracy encompassed almost everyone in that land. In truth whether directly or otherwise, the people of Egypt had been actively robbing Israel for centuries. Their wealth was built on the backs of slave labor. But does God care about such injustice? Clearly He does.
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