9th Mar - Don't let Pharaoh run your life


Exodus 1:1-14 (Morning Prayer)
So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service...
The idea of work is introduced with a mix connotation in the first two books of the Pentateuch. In Genesis, the fall made work inevitable as man is now to forced to till the ground (Gen 3:17-19). For Adam, work moved from assigned responsibility (taking care of the garden, Gen 2:15) to one of necessity for survival (Gen 3:23).

In Exodus, work for the Jews has become a source of bondage, a tool Pharaoh used to control them. Work took on a nasty turn as an instrument of enslavement. Human beings become objects. While work is mandatory, God has not instituted it to be a hard master to deprive us from what is important - family, worship, friends etc. Indeed, it is this idea of slavery that Christians in recent centuries have fought hard to stop. 

Reflecting on this, this mixture can also be true of our own lives. Work and study is a blessing as it introduces discipline and allows us to be creative and productive. It can in itself give meaning and shape to life. 

And yet, for some, it can be a curse and bondage. Work can become slavish. Like the Jews in this passage, it can deprive us of energy to do anything else. For some, it can be constant source of temptation and sin. 

The principle of the "one in seven" Sabbath (a central teaching in the Pentateuch) is important in the way we view life and work. Rest is not a luxury. It is a necessity. We are also created for worship and community. 

If work has become a master which drains and controls every aspect of our life, as in this passage, we need to look to the Lord for help and deliverance. 

For your life is the Lord's, not Pharaoh's. 

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