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Good Morning.

And the taskmasters of the people and their officers went out and spoke to the people, saying, “Thus says Pharaoh: ‘I will not give you straw. Go, get yourselves straw where you can find it; yet none of your work will be reduced.’” (Exodus 5:10-11)

The word for “taskmasters” is different from what is used earlier in Exodus 1:11 suggesting that the purpose of these overseers should be distinguished from the first. Their job was to make people so busy they would not have time for anything else. In fact, the demand Pharaoh was placing upon them was an impossible one and Pharaoh knew that. If the people fell short in their quota — and they would — they were beaten. This harshness betrayed his will to destroy them even if it placed Egypt at risk. 

Unfortunately, this tactic has been pursued by others in power; today we might call them bureaucrats. These are faceless people with the power to complicate lives with mundane procedures and paperwork at the expense of people’s needs and time. With each passing day, the madness grows and we spend more and more time trying to make a living while jumping through bureaucratic hoops. It is effectively the modern version of making bricks while fetching our own straw. 

Of course, none of this escapes our Master’s attention and, consequently, can be something He uses to teach us a valuable lesson. While idleness is something to be avoided, it is also important that we realize that, from the beginning, the Almighty established a day to cease from our labors and rest. By observing this, not only do we give our minds and bodies a respite from the madness of the previous week but we also acknowledge that Man and Government are not our masters. By taking a prescribed break from the cares of life, we testify that the Almighty is the Sovereign of Creation and that, in Him, we find peace, blessing and abundant life.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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