The Call of Moses: The First Excuse (Exodus 3)


Exodus 3 and 4 record God's call of Moses to deliver the people of Israel and lead them into the Promised Land.

Background

Hebrews 11:23 tells us that the parents of Moses were strong believers.

Hebrews 11:24-26 tells us that when the time came for Moses to choose, he "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. (Heb 11:24-26)

In other words, Moses was a person who made a honest choice to follow Christ and His path of suffering. It is wrong to imagine that if Moses would have been patient and not killed the Egyptian he would have become the next Pharaoh. The Bible says that He actually made the choice to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. It seems that Egyptian politics was deeply tied with their polytheistic religion that in a way also deified, to some extent, the Pharaoh. It is possible that there came a point in Moses' life where identification with the palace meant identification with the Egyptian religion; therefore, he had to make a choice between Christ and Belial. His chose faith in Christ.

The Call

Moses was 40 when he fled Egypt. Moses was 80 when God called him.

It is interesting that in one of Moses' songs, he says that "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years" (Psa 90:10 NKJ). But, God called Moses when he was 80, i.e. the age when according to his own song, he was supposed to anticipate the end of life and entry into the grave. But, God's ways are above man's ways. Moses' life was not wasted while in preparation for God's work.

When God called Moses, he was still tending the sheep of his father-in-law. From human perspective, he was a very non-prospective person who was not able, in his lifetime, to move from tending someone else' flock to having his own flock. How can he, at age 80, still be tending the flock of his father-in-law! What dependency! Also, it doesn't seem at any case that his condition was going to improve. He still worked for someone and had no business of his own. Imagine that when we can look around and find young men and women in their twenties who have businesses or "ministries" of their own. But, nobody in the world imagined that God was preparing Moses to lead over 600,000 men, besides women and children out of Egypt into the Promised Land. God had designed him to lead an entire nation and pastor the biggest church in history. Also, did anyone know that Moses would lay the legal and doctrinal foundation of the nation of Israel. In process of time, whenever people would refer to the Law, they would refer to it as Moses. The Bible tells us that Moses was faithful in all his house (Heb.3:2).

Man judges by appearance, but God knows His plan for every child that comes into the world. Isn't it most beautiful to read that when Moses was born, his parents acted by faith to protect him because they saw that he was a beautiful child? (Heb.11:23). Only the eyes of faith can see the beauty that is truly beautiful in God's eyes.

The Drawing

God knew how to draw Moses' attention to Himself. He came to him in the burning bush, a bush that burnt but wasn't consumed by the fire (Exod 3:2). This attracted Moses. What is the burning bush in your life that God has used to draw your attention to Himself?

So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."
Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." (Exo 3:4-5 NKJ)


The first thing Moses encounters when He meets God is the holiness of God. The holiness of God becomes an important theme throughout the Bible, in a very special way, from this time forth. God is holy. His law is holy. His people are holy. His gives laws of holiness, instructions to build a holy tabernacle, instructions for a holy priesthood. Holiness is a theme that echoes through the prophets. Isaiah 6 talks about a vision of God's holiness that shatters the self-image of the prophet. It is impossible to be a servant of God, to serve God without first having a transforming encounter with the holiness of God. God is holy in His character, in His acts, in His word. A man who loses sight of God's holiness will fall from grace.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2Pe 1:8-11 NKJ)

The First Excuse: Identity

God says to Moses:
"I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." (Exo 3:7-10 NKJ)

Moses responds with the question, "Who am I..." (Exo 3:11)

It is important for us to understand that God doesn't send His servant on His mission because the servant has great passion for souls; He sends because God has the passion for souls and the lost sheep belong to Him. Jonah had no desire to go to Nineveh. But, God sent him because God wanted Nineveh to be saved. We were all under the cloud of destruction, but God sent His only Son because He loved us. Moses doesn't seem to show any desire for this mission. He seems to have no passion at all. But, God calls him and sends him. It is because He has heard the cry of the people for deliverance. The eyes of mission must be focused on the Great Sender, the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

Moses does ask a genuine question, "Who am I..." He is a nobody in the worldly sense. He is no savior-metal. He is an old man. He may be at the point of death. And then, he is disconnected from the people of Israel for decades. He's just a small shepherd looking after his father-in-law's flock. Who was he?

It is interesting to see that God never tells Moses who he is. What we are and who we are doesn't determine God's calling. His calling determines who we are. It is wrong to count our background, abilities, talents, prowess, intelligence, or whatever in the matter of divine calling. He doesn't call us because of who we are. His calling gives us the identity.

God's answer is simple: "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." (Exo 3:12)

God doesn't tell Moses, "Have you forgotten all your training in Egypt? You are Moses, the one taken out of water. You are that Moses who was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. (Act 7:22) Not just that, you have the experience of this wilderness. There is none like you. You cannot see what you have in you. But, I can see the greatness that is in you. I can see the deliverer that is in you. Know yourself!"

Familiar with this? This is the gospel of false self-confidence. We see social media bombarded with these statements all the time: "Greatness that is in you" "Have confidence in yourself" "Believe in yourself". G.K. Chesterton once said that those who have strong self-confidence are usually found in a mental asylum. God is not interested in building the false self-confidence of Moses. God's call of Moses is not based on the training of Moses, the skills of Moses, the education of Moses, the connections of Moses. He is not called to rely on them. They all are fallible. God's call of Moses is based on God Himself, "I will certainly be with you...."

Isn't this beautiful? This is the only valid NT identity. God with us! Emmanuel.

"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Act 10:38, bold emphasis mine)

"And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Mat 28:20)

The first excuse of Moses was "Who am I?"
God's answer is "I will certainly be with you."

Mission is not about me and my skills and abilities. Mission is about God's presence in the world in redemptive action.
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A King Will Reign in Righteousness

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, And princes will rule with justice. (Isaiah 32:1)

Psalm 96:10; 103:17; 2Pet 3:13

A. He is Righteous and True and Just in His Character (Mal.4:2; Jer.23:5)
B. He is All-knowing and Nothing is Hid from His Blazing Eyes (Heb.4: 13; Jer.23:24)
C. He is All-powerful and No Wicked Can Stand Before His Power (2Thess.1:6-9; Jude 1:14-15)

He is Coming Soon. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.

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The Opposition in Democracy

"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." (Prov.18:17)

The Opposition is a vital part of modern democracy. It ensures that the government elected by the people is working on behalf of the people and fulfilling the goals it set before them. It also ensures that the ruling party practices transparency and accountability. The Opposition has the right to question the actions of the government and demand an account or rationale for its actions. It may be wrong in its assumptions, but it has the right to voice its questions, without which democracy will be annihilated. To try to silence the voice of the Opposition by any means whatsoever is to kill the soul of the nation which is liberty, unity, fraternity, and justice; for where the right to freedom is exterminated, democracy is dead. A government that labels the Opposition as traitor for questioning its actions is against the people. The Opposition provides an opportunity for the people, who are the real judges in a democracy ruled by the law and not a mob, to see the other part of the story instead of falling for the rhetoric of the first. A good government will answer the questions raised by the Opposition because they are questions raised on behalf of the people. Ultimately, it is the people who will decide whether the government was right in its decisions or not. But, there is a Moral Law that is higher and foundational to all manmade laws; and, one cannot kick against the pricks and not be hurt.

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All of You, None of Me

"All of You, none of me,"
Is all I pray to Thee.
A clay pot filled with divine treasure
Of power and truth beyond measure
Is all I want to be.

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The Rewards of Risk-Taking (Eccl. 11:1-6)



"Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." (Ecc 11:1)

One should not fear taking risks. All work of production calculates risks. Risk-taking is key to farming, business, banking. In the Parable of Talents, the boss commended the two workers who went and took risks to do business with the money they received, doubling it by the time their boss returned. However, he was very unhappy with the worker who went and hid the capital depriving the boss of even the interest from the use of it. He rebuked him saying that he should have given the money to bankers if he was afraid of taking risks, for bankers (risk-takers themselves) assure of a set interest amount. Risk-taking must be accompanied by good counsel, calculation, wisdom, and diligent hard-work that explores various avenues of investment. Risk-taking investments forgo the present disuse or use of something for sake of future returns. For instance, the farmer sows the grain instead of eating it or storing it for consumption in order to reap multiple production.

Instead of investing the whole capital in just one industry, it is better to divide it into various. "Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land." (Ecc 11:2)

It is also important to be diligent and willing to use spare time (available labor-time--not to scrape it from family and rest time) in any other industry. "Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."(Ecc 11:6)

Don't just wait for things to look very sure and certain. Move forward. Risk-takers move by faith, not by sight. "Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap (Ecc.11:4)

Also, be prepared for crisis-times. And, do not forget that charity and helping the poor has assurance of returns and rewards from God (Prov.19:17). That reward is always assured and never lost.

#Business #Risk #Disaster #Industry #Success
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Eyes of Love

The Lord of the Universe watches from above,
He looks at the oppressed with eyes of love.
He feels their agony, their cries He hears.
He'll give them justice and wipe their tears.

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Citizenship Cooperation With Country's Cause

And the children of Israel said to them, "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."(Exo 16:3)

People in general detest to go through the pain of transition though they immensely desire the Promised Land--they give in to intense complaining, wishing to go back to their previous state of misery, instead of walking through the ordeal of the uncomfortable journey. They, then, begin to despise authority and speak evil of dignitaries (2Pet.2:10), when they are called to cooperate with them, knowing the fear of the Lord (Rom.13:1; Tit.3:1). To citizens of various respective countries, if your government stands in rebellion against the express Moral Law of Heaven, resist it (Acts 4:19; 5:29); but, if it is on the side of righteousness and good governance with a vision to lead the nation to well-being, beware of joining the mass of complainers (Jude 1:8-10).

See Also
The Opposition in Democracy

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Sanctification: Positional, Progressive, Perfect


  • Positional Sanctification: Sanctified by Faith in Christ (Acts 26:18) by His Blood (Heb.10:29)
  • Progressive Sanctification: Dedication to God, Partaking of His Holiness, Pursuit of Holiness, Sanctified Living, Offering Bodies as Living Sacrifice, Walking in the Spirit, Sanctifying Christ in Hearts, Daily Cleansing, Walking in the Light, Avoiding all Appearance of Evil, Having Purity of Conscience, Purity of Faith, Purity of Love, Striving Against Sin, Fleeing Lusts, Disciplining Body, Pursuit of God in Hope, Putting off old man, Putting on new man (Heb.12:10,14; 1Pet.1:15; Rom.12:1,2; Gal.5:22-25; 2Cor.7:1; 1Jn.1:7-9; Rom.12:9; Heb.12:3; 1Cor.9:27; 1Tim.1:5; 6:11; 1Jn.3:3; Eph.4:22-25). Note: Progressive doesn't mean one is less holy today and becomes holier later. One is either holy or unholy; clean or unclean. In the NT, there is no gradation of Holy and Most Holy. Progressive means daily walk of holiness with Christ in the Spirit. No man can say he is immune to temptation while on earth. Also, it demands constant watchfulness and prayer. One is called to be holy, and grow in maturity. One cannot grow in holiness. However, one is called to cleanse oneself, separate oneself from all impurity so that he can be a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work (2Tim.2:21). One is called to maintain good works (Tit.3:8,14). Progressive sanctification is life lived in dedication to Christ in earnest expectation of His salvation.
  • Perfect Sanctification: Deliverance from the Presence and Power of Sin at Christ's Coming (1Thess.3:13)

Analogy of Marriage:
  • Positional Sanctification is like Engagement
  • Progressive Sanctification is like Faithfulness and Devotion to the Groom, Having Only Him in Mind, Staying Pure, Expecting Him, Saying No to Others
  • Perfect Sanctification is like the Marriage


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Family Leadership

There are different models of Leadership:
1. Pyramid Leadership (Military, Hierarchial)
2. Functional Leadership (Team Playing)
3. Situational Leadership (Rising for the Situation)
4. Servant Leadership (Focuses on Serving)
5. Shepherd Leadership (Focuses on Leading, Protecting, Providing, Teaching)
6. Family Leadership (Leadership in the Father-Son Model)

Jesus gave us a picture of Family Leadership when He spoke about ministry and mission in the Divine Family. It was not a King who sent an Ambassador, but the Father who gave His only begotten Son. The Son learnt from the Father and obeyed His will.

We also find an example of Family Leadership in Paul's mentoring of Timothy. Paul was not a boss, or a teacher, or a team-leader, or even a senior pastor to Timothy; he was a spiritual father to him.

The modern cry of the youth is for true spiritual fathers who can set an example, who can teach and also correct with authority, who can mentor them. The cry is not for celebrity figures and mass events. The cry is for a personal touch. For personal discipleship.

The Church is not a business or an organization; the Church is a family whose Head is God.

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Usury

Usury is the money charged for the use of money. What is understood as usury in the negative sense usually, is considered as interest in the positive or neutral sense.

Old Testament law discouraged practice of usury against fellow brethren. But, the Israelites were permitted to lend on interest to foreigners. Jesus mentions in His Parable of Talents that the servant with one talent should have deposited the money with bankers rather than hide it in the ground so that the Master could get back his amount along with interest. However, Aquinas considered the application of this suggestion in spiritual terms. For many centuries, usury was forbidden by the church (though Luther observes that many of the clergy did wickedly practice it). The Jews who practiced (or were marginalized to this trade) often became victims of persecution. A great example of the evil of usury is exemplified in Shakespeare's play, "Merchant of Venice", the usurer personified as the evil Shylock the Jew.

Aristotle considered usury as unnatural. In his Politics he wrote:
Now money-making, as we say, being twofold, it may be applied to two purposes, the service of the house or retail trade; of which the first is necessary and commendable, the other justly censurable; for it has not its origin in nature, but by it men gain from each other; for usury is most reasonably detested, as it is increasing our fortune by money itself, and not employing it for the purpose it was originally intended, namely exchange.

And this is the explanation of the name (TOKOS), which means the breeding of money. For as offspring resemble their parents, so usury is money bred of money. Whence of all forms of money-making it is most against nature. (A Treatise on Government, Gutenberg)
Thomas Aquinas, borrowing the argument from Aristotle, further argued:
To take usury for money lent is unjust in itself, because this is to sell what does not exist, and this evidently leads to inequality which is contrary to justice. In order to make this evident, we must observe that there are certain things the use of which consists in their consumption: thus we consume wine when we use it for drink and we consume wheat when we use it for food. Wherefore in such like things the use of the thing must not be reckoned apart from the thing itself, and whoever is granted the use of the thing, is granted the thing itself and for this reason, to lend things of this kin is to transfer the ownership. Accordingly if a man wanted to sell wine separately from the use of the wine, he would be selling the same thing twice, or he would be selling what does not exist, wherefore he would evidently commit a sin of injustice. On like manner he commits an injustice who lends wine or wheat, and asks for double payment, viz. one, the return of the thing in equal measure, the other, the price of the use, which is called usury.

On the other hand, there are things the use of which does not consist in their consumption: thus to use a house is to dwell in it, not to destroy it. Wherefore in such things both may be granted: for instance, one man may hand over to another the ownership of his house while reserving to himself the use of it for a time, or vice versa, he may grant the use of the house, while retaining the ownership. For this reason a man may lawfully make a charge for the use of his house, and, besides this, revendicate the house from the person to whom he has granted its use, as happens in renting and letting a house.

Now money, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 5; Polit. i, 3) was invented chiefly for the purpose of exchange: and consequently the proper and principal use of money is its consumption or alienation whereby it is sunk in exchange. Hence it is by its very nature unlawful to take payment for the use of money lent, which payment is known as usury: and just as a man is bound to restore other ill-gotten goods, so is he bound to restore the money which he has taken in usury. (Summa)
Martin Luther also considered usury to be an evil; however, he rejected Aristotelianism altogether. His argument against usury was that it contravened the principle of Love. Luther considered that the Christian dealing and the right use of temporal goods consist in "giving them away, lending them without charge, and quietly letting them go when they are taken by force." (On Trading and Usury). He counters arguments in favor of usury in the following ways:
The concept of ”interesse”
We will now look at the arguments by which this tender business is justified. There is a little Latin word called interesse. This noble, precious, tender, little word may be rendered in German this way: If I have a hundred gulden with which I can trade, and by my labor and trouble make in a year five or six gulden or more, I place it with someone else, on a productive property, so that not I, but he, can trade with it, and for this I take from him five gulden, which I might have earned; thus he sells me the income – five gulden for a hundred – and I am the buyer and he the seller. Here they say, now, that the purchase of the income is proper because, with these gulden, I might perhaps have made more in a year, and the interest is just and sufficient. All that is so pretty that no one can find fault with it at any point. But it is also true that it is not possible to have such interest on earth, for there is another, counter-interest, which goes like this: If I have a hundred gulden, and am to do business with it, I may run a hundred kinds of risk of making no profits at all, nay, of losing four times as much besides. Because of the money itself, or because of illness, I may not be able to do business, or there may be no wares or goods on hand. Hindrances of this kind are innumerable, and we see that failures, losses, and injuries are greater than profits. Thus the interest on loss is as great as the interest of profits, or greater.

Safe profit
....money in trade and money at interest are different things, and the one cannot be compared with the other. For money invested in income has a basis which constantly grows and produces profit out of the earth, while money in trade has no certainty; the interest it yields is accidental, and one cannot count on it at all. Here they will say, perhaps, that, because they place money on land, there is an “interest of loss,” as well as an “interest of profit,” for the income stands or falls according as the land stays or not. This is all true, and we shall hear more about it below. But the fact remains that money which one can place on land increases the “first interest” too much and decreases the “second interest” as compared with money that moves in trade; for, as was said above, there is more risk in trade than in land. Since, then, one cannot get ground with a definite sum of money, neither can one buy income with a definite sum.

Usury
There are some who not only deal in little sums, but also take too much return – seven, eight, nine, ten percent. The rulers ought to look into this. Here the poor common people are secretly imposed upon and severely oppressed. For this reason these robbers and usurers often die an unnatural and sudden death, or come to a terrible end (as tyrants and robbers deserve), for God is a judge for the poor and needy, as He often says in the Old Law. (On Trading and Usury)
However, modern Christian economist, Gary North observes that Jesus annulled the Jubilee laws of the Old Testament, thus rendering slavery laws as ineffective. Secondly, Jesus authorized interest in His Parable of Talents. He concludes:
The Mosaic law prohibited interest on a narrow class of loans: charitable loans to fellow Israelites and resident aliens. It did not prohibit interest on all other loans.

Charitable loans were to be annulled in the seventh year, at one time. Loans collateralized by rural land were to end in the seventh seventh year, or jubilee year. The land reverted to the heirs of the conquest generation.

The sabbatical year and the jubilee year system were annulled by Jesus and ended when Israel ceased to exist as a nation.

Jesus authorized interest-bearing loans. (Usury, Interest, and Loans)
Analysis
  • It is evident that personal loaning on interest is regarded as an evil even in scriptures. Or else, God would not have forbidden it for the Jews against their fellow-Jews. Usury contradicts the principle of love as it is based on profit-making and not on charity.
  • However, the banking system is a system of lending and keeping. It not only pays interest to those who save money in the bank, but it also charges interest for those who would borrow from the bank. The interest rates can be regularized and governed by proper legislation. In addition, it is through the banking system that currency notes are issued and kept in check. Therefore, it is different from the personal loaning system. Jesus didn't discourage this banking. In fact, His parable encouraged depositing money with bankers who would give interest for the same. There are certainly bad and vicious banking systems; however, that is another topic altogether.
  • Charitable loans must be distinguished from luxury and commercial loans. Charitable loans must not be charged interest. In fact, it is Christian to lend without expecting anything. However, Christians are not expected to lend money in order for people to enjoy luxuries. You can lend money to a man in need. But, you are not obligated to lend money to someone who wants money in order to buy a Mercedes Benz. The same holds for commercial loans that are non-charity in nature.
  • The Bible discourages borrowing of money, but doesn't discourage giving.
  • The Bible encourages that we do not owe anything to anyone. In other words, people are expected to pay back what they borrow.
  • Jesus encouraged the idea of depositing with bankers rather than hiding money or keeping it unused, for God established multiplication as the nature of creation. But, hording wealth for selfish purposes is anti-social. We must distinguish between hording and pursing (pursing is keeping some money at hand for immediate uses). The modern banks actually can act as both purse and safety lockers, while at the same time having the advantage of the money not remaining unused.
  • The Aristotelian concept of money breeding money doesn't apply to modern banking systems. Government systems may help inflate economies by not regulating the influx of fake currency or growth of black money. However, this is dilution and not growth. On the other hand, a banking system in modern times actually can help save money by providing proper loans on low interests so that people can use money to avail greatly and pay back. It is like the Master in Matthew 25 who gives talents to his servants and actually expects them to multiply them. He actually deposits or saves the talents with them. Wise stewardship is encouraged. Of course, this is not the Parable of the Forgiving Master, and banking is not about Masters and servants; the Parable was only quoted to highlight that multiplication is expected through wisdom, integrity, and diligence. But in the Parable of the Forgiving Master, Mercy (the quality upheld in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice) comes into spotlight. The Master forgives the one who is indebted to him and expects him to do the same. This is the essence of the Gospel ethics. Contrary to the OT Law that would have made slaves of this debtor and his family, the NT principle encourages forgiving of debts when payment becomes impossible.
  • The Bible discourages bad loans as well as merciless collaterizations. The poor man's cloak must be returned to him for the night. The poor man cannot borrow more than the value of his cloak. The poor man cannot engage in multiple borrowings.
  • Greed and love of money is the root of all evil.
  • An economy based on unjust and merciless practices of loans and borrowings is bound to collapse.
  • The Christian principle is to give to the needy without expecting anything in return. However, it doesn't ask Christians to refuse the use of bank notes, banking, and systems of monetary use as long as the use doesn't blatantly rebel against the true revelation of God (e.g. Rev.13). Jesus knew that the Jews used the Roman coin that had the image of Caesar, and didn't tell them to forsake such use. Instead, He encouraged them to give to Caesar what is due to Caesar and to God what is due to God. 
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Fight Against Corruption

Denmark ranks as the 1st among the world's least corrupt countries. Singapore ranks 8th. India ranks 65th. North Korea and Somalia rank 149th.

A study of these systems reveal the following facts.

1. An Anti-corruption agency, independent of the police and executive is crucial to check corruption. Countries having multiple anti-corruption agencies don't seem to have much success. One cannot remove dirt with dirt; one has to use an agent that is intrinsically anti-dirt (soap-water). Singapore's "anti-corruption agency, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), is well resourced and independent. It is empowered to investigate any person, even police officers and ministers, and conducts public outreach to raise public awareness and shape social norms." (Lee Hsien Loong)

2. In countries like Singapore, the high-level officials are paid well and corruption is kept at bay at that level. The idea is that anti-corruption begins from top to bottom. "There is a Chinese proverb: "If the top beam is askew, the bottom beams will be crooked." Keeping a system clean must start at the very top." (Lee Hsien Loong)

3. Spreading awareness and educating the people in order to encourage them to support a corruption-free society is important. The citizens must detest a corrupt system and be willing to report instances of corruption to the concerned authorities.

4. Integrity and willingness to be corruption-free is crucial among both leaders and citizens.

5. Ideologies that endorse and justify corruption must be discouraged.

6. Citizens must be willing to cooperate with policies that aim at combating corruption. They must be careful not to criticize before having tried to understand. Citizens must "expect and demand a clean system." (Lee Hsien Loong)

7. Governance systems and services that facilitate corruption must be dealt with immediately. One open example is the weak state of Indian railways that makes it easy for TTE's to practice grafting by abusing their powers since people who really have no other means to obtain seats succumb to bribing these TTE's since the railways do not provide sufficient travel facilities to meet the demands of the people.

8. Transparency norms must be binding on all government servants, citizens and all businesses. Accountability must be mandatory. "Beside law enforcement, there is a broad consensus that fighting corruption involves public participation and transparency mechanisms such as disclosure of information." (Marie Chêne)

9. Freedom of Press is a crucial element in curbing corruption.

10. Deterrence, Prevention, and Education is the three-pronged strategy applied by Hong Kong. "Hong Kong ICAC adopts a three-pronged approach: deterrence, prevention and education. As a result, the Commission consists of three separate departments : the Operations Department to investigate corruption and to prosecute the offenders: the Corruption Prevention Department to examine the systems and procedures in the public sector, to identify the corruption opportunities and to make recommendations to plug the loopholes; and the Community Relations Department to educate the public against the evil of corruption and to enlist their support and partnership in fighting corruption." (Kwok Man-Wai)
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The Goodness of God

The Bible celebrates the fact that God is Good (Psalm 135:3). To state that God is good is to also acknowledge at the same time that God is the summum bonum, the Highest Good. His goodness is absolute in Himself, for He is perfect. His goodness is also towards us, in relation.

  • God is Good in His Being
  • God is Good in His Character
  • God is Good in His Acts
To the rich young ruler, Jesus declared that only God is good (Matt.19:17), i.e. in the sense of being the absolute good and perfect Teacher who alone can absolutely declare the truth that leads to eternal life. Sadly, the rich young ruler could not accept Jesus as the Good Master, refusing to follow Him. In his eyes, the world and its possessions were the more immediate good.

There are at least four crisis-situations in relation to our attitude towards God's goodness.

1. Doubt Regarding the Selflessness of God's Goodness
This was the situation that Eve faced in the garden of Eden when the devil deceived her to doubt that God's goodness is selfless. He tried to make her think that God had some selfishness in keeping the forbidden tree's fruit from humans; He knew if they ate of it they would become like gods. The devil attempted to severe "goodness" from God's goodness. As a result, when Eve was deceived and sought the good apart from God, the forbidden fruit and tree appeared to be "good" in relation to her desire.

It is important to trust in God's goodness as being selfless and impartial. He makes the sun to shine on both the just and the unjust. He is not good because of anything or anyone. He is good in Himself and is the ground of all that is good.

2. Fear Regarding the Surety of God's Goodness
In Psalm 27, we find David assert that even if he is surrounded by enemies on all sides, he will not fear because God is with him. When we become afraid if God's goodness would hold towards us and we are terrorized by uncertainty and anxiety about the future, we begin to lose hope. But, David asserts: I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.  "Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!" (Psa 27:13-14 NKJ). 

The Scripture promises us: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28 NKJ)

3. Vexation Regarding the Significance of God's Goodness
In Psalm 73, Asaph, a priest in the Temple of Solomon is vexed and frustrated because He knows that God is good (Psalm 73), but fails to see how God's Goodness has any significance for him. He looks at the wicked and sees them prosper and asks if he has cleansed his heart in vain (Psalm 73:13). This turns him bitter, though he doesn't show his inner struggle to people. But, then when he enters God's sanctuary, where he beholds God's goodness and beauty, he finds the solution to his problem. He has to learn that God's goodness is not something about things and possessions in this world; God Himself is Good, and the heart that this Summum Bonum needs nothing else. One doesn't find any true and lasting meaning in life unless one finds satisfaction in God alone. He writes:

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works. (Psa 73:25-28 NKJ)
He has understood that good is not about things, heaven is no heaven without God; for God alone is good and it is good to be near God alone.


4. Confusion Regarding the Sensitiveness of God's Goodness
Job is a great paragon of patience in the Bible. However, there was a time he was confused too, because he knew that God is good and perfect, He is blessed; but, he was unable to see if God really cared for him. The devil wanted to prove that the just served God, or were just, for material or personal benefits alone. But, Job proved the devil false. That is the difference between true faith and utilitarian faith. Job stood through the test. Yet, Job felt darkness and confusion cover him. He cries out in anguish: "If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard. If I cry aloud, there is no justice. (Job 19:7 NKJ). But, God answer him from chapters 38-41 and shows how God cares for the universe; how much more for Job. In chapter 42, Job breaks down saying "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes."  (Job 42:5-6 NKJ)

God cares for the sparrows of the air and the lilies of the field; how much more for us..

His goodness is selfless, sure, significant, and sensitive. He is all-giving, all-trustworthy, all-satisfying, and all-caring.
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