Exodus 14:12a “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians…”
States are explaining why they are ending their participation in the federal COVID unemployment program. Montana Governor Greg Gianforte said “Too many employers can’t find workers. Nearly every sector faces a labor shortage.” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said, “In many instances, these payments are greater than worker’s paychecks”, calling the government checks a “dangerous federal entitlement.”
Missouri Governor Mike Parsons said “From conversations with business owners across the state, we know that they are struggling not because of COVID-19 but because of labor shortages resulting from these excessive federal unemployment programs. It is time we end these programs that have incentivized people to stay out of the workforce.’” Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe agreed with Parsons.
“As I travel the state, the over-arching concern from business owners is the shortage of employees. Across every industry, businesses cannot compete against federal largesse. Our economy is built on an active and vibrant workforce. We should be cultivating job creation and employment rather than inhibiting them. The jobs exist and the demand exists. I applaud the governor for taking this bold and decisive action.”
Government agencies do perform important duties: 1) our armed forces protect Americans from foreign attacks; 2) our police forces protect us from criminals within our country; 3) our courthouses administer the law; 4) and of course there are agencies that provide a safety net for the inevitable emergencies.
But governments are to be the last, not the first, place we turn for help. We create governments to serve and protect our freedoms, not make us dependent on them. This is the point these governors are making.
The Bible, the book upon which America is founded, has much to show us on this. Our biblical heritage can be seen with our famous bell in Philadelphia, known as the “Liberty Bell”. Just like the fledgling nation of Israel, the Lord was the One behind the liberation of early America from the tyranny of England. It is called the Liberty Bell because of what the founders inscribed upon it – Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Americans have always cherished our freedom.
But there is a movement in America by our federal government to erode our individual freedoms and return us to enslavement through dependency on it to take care of us. And many Americans are being seduced.
As we examine God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian slavery and into freedom, we find the same problem Americans face today: our human tendency is desire to be taken care of more than to be free.
It begins with Exodus 1:8,13, when a new Pharoah comes to power in Egypt: “There arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. They made Israel their slaves.” It was then, under the tyranny of Egypt, that God acted to free Israel: “I have seen the oppression of My people in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their pain. So, I have come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and bring them to a good and large land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:7-8).
God is a God of salvation, not slavery. But Israel’s response illustrates our tendency for self-preservation: “The children of Israel lifted their eyes, and the Egyptians marched after them. So, they were very afraid, and they cried out to the Lord: ‘Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not what we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?’ It would be better to serve the Egyptians than die in the wilderness’” (Exodus 14:10-12). They would rather be slaves than free.
What they did not understand was that this was God’s fight, not theirs: “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. The Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall be quiet” (Exodus 13:13-14).
Michael Medved’s book ‘The American Miracle’ chronicles God’s hand in delivering us from England. But we are becoming like Israel, who as Egyptian slaves missed being taken care of: “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by pots of meat and we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exodus 16:3). May we stand with those governors and remember the meaning of our Liberty Bell: it is God, not government, that is our Source of freedom and the One who takes care of us.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #448