Some three thousand and five hundred years ago, with some miraculous assistance from the Almighty God, the children of Israel packed their goods, gathered their cattle together and marched out of Egypt. For a long while before they left, the government of Egypt had imposed upon them the civic duty of making bricks for public building projects. This and other harsh requirements were imposed upon the Israelites to limit their numbers, as well as their potential for political influence.
The Egyptian Government was not totally without compassion in the matter of the bricks. They did their part, insomuch as they supplied the straw which was needed to make the bricks. There was a lot of complaining on the part of the Israelis. They cried out to God for deliverance with such passionate pleas that God heard their prayers and sent a prophet to deliver them from their bondage.
I am sure that the Israelis had prayed a lot about their afflictions for more than eighty years, during which the Egyptians had even killed their newborn sons. However, when God’s prophet came to Pharaoh with his request to let His people go, their afflictions increased. The first thing Pharaoh did was to cut off their supply of straw. From then on they had to supply their own straw, and still make the same number of bricks.
The Parallel President George W. Bush may be well-meaning in establishing a government office which will provide funds for Christian community assistance programs. However, the government has imposed restrictions upon the normal expression of the Christian religion, with ever increasing vigor, for almost forty years now. I believe it is only reasonable to expect this to be the next step in those repressive measures.
Just after Presidents Day, President Bush’s new White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives officially opened. I am curious as to how long it will be until all Christian Churches will be required to participate in this effort in order to keep their tax exempt status. Then how long will it be before they will be required to continue to participate, even though the funding is discontinued.
As we see the time drawing near for the appearing of our Lord, we would do well to heed the admonition of the Apostle Peter. "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith."