They will pay heed to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt and you will say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go. I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians.” Exodus 3:18-22 NASB
There is a topic floating around in social and political circles again… its the issue: Whether the United States government (which is really you and I) should give monetary reparations for the harm of slavery to descendants of former slaves (and perhaps all black people currently living in the United States)?
It’s a question that some will dismiss out of hand without any consideration. I emphatically believe the answer is No!, but the question deserves a good deal of consideration. After 400 years of slavery in Egypt, God allowed the Israelite women to receive a type of ‘reparation’- “articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing” from their Egyptian neighbors. Hmmmm. It’s a bit of a unique circumstance, one that is not necessarily analogous to us today, but, it’s worth remembering. One difference is that the Israelite’s left Egypt and returned to Canaan.
While the idea of remedies for wrongs is a solid jurisprudence concept, so is the idea of proximate cause. Does it make sense to provide the ‘estate’ (heirs) of a former slave money damages? Is it in the public interest? Think about all the questions that arise. For instance, would you write a check to Barack Obama? How about LeBron James or Kamala Harris (whose grandfather owned slaves)? Is there any appreciable deficit these individuals incurred? Should we apply a “needs” based test? Exactly who should receive a reparations check? How much? What about the white union soldier that died in the Civil War which brought about the end of slavery… since his family lost their breadwinner (arguably a greater loss)? How would reparations unite our country and not divide it? Should the sins of the father be punished upon the children? Is that justice? What about the trillions of dollars paid out in welfare in its various forms over the last 50 years? Was that a form of reparations to the impoverished black? It’s a fascinating issue worth discussing, because our country has in our history the great and grievous sin of slavery (as do many others). I think forgiveness, grace, reconciliation and brotherhood are better remedies than money, don’t you? The real repair we need is in our individual hearts.
Am I trying to justify myself before God or relying on His forgiveness and grace? How do I make restitution for my sins? Do I even consider it?
God, as this day begins- I thank you for Your goodness and grace. Our country suffers today for a number of reasons, the greatest is that we have forgotten You. Our public schools are atrocious in the way they fail to teach history as it is, and emphasize a godless world. We kill our unborn and break Your heart daily, by rejecting often the very people You appointed for our rescue from disease and harm. We need You and national repentance. Heal our land. Crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!