Friday, 9 October 2015
As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
2 Corinthians 8:15
Paul now cites Scripture to demonstrate that what has occurred among the early church was not unlike what occurred among the early redeemed congregation of Israel. Shortly after departing from Egypt, the Lord provided the people Manna for their sustenance. The account encompasses Exodus 16, but the portion which Paul cites is to be found in these verses –
And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’”
17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. 18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. Exodus 16:15-18
The gathering of the collection for the saints in Jerusalem was a collection of love intended to meet their needs just as the Manna from the Lord was an act of love towards His people. The people went out and gathered each morning and brought it into the camp. When it was divided up between them, it was found that the exact amount needed for all of the people had been gathered.
In this, Paul is not demonstrating a socialist or communist attitude. Rather, he is citing the Scripture in order to show that what the people possessed ultimately came from God and it would be inappropriate for other brothers to lack while they had an overabundance. These verses cannot be used to justify government robbing of one group in order to pay for another.
First, this is a collection based on free-will giving. Secondly, it is intended only for Christians in need, not the society at large. Third, those in Corinth were not asked to sell any possessions or land in order to make contributions. They were asked to provide willingly out of whatever they possessed. Fourth, the account of the Manna in the wilderness ended when Israel came to the Land of Promise and a new economy was introduced.
Life application: If you hear a socialist or a commie use the Bible to justify their ungodly stand, ignore them. They are manipulators of God’s word with evil intent. Tell them to get to work and earn their own keep.
Heavenly Father, I wish people would be as willing to read and know their Bible as they are to memorize sports statistics or play on the internet. If they were, we wouldn’t have a social gospel or a society full of indolent people waiting for a handout. Nor would our leaders use the Bible to justify ungodly aims. I pray for a society that would return to Your word, cherish it, and live by it once again. I certainly pray for this. Amen.