No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
About 3,400 years ago the people of Israel learned that Egypt was an unreliable staff. Not only did they learn that Egypt was no match for God, but that the fish, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic didn’t really cost nothing, but came at the price of servitude to Pharaoh, the god of the land (Exodus 11:5). Ultimately God Himself challenges Pharaoh’s pride, destroys his army, and takes his country down a few notches. The only option at freedom for Israel was to throw itself at God’s mercy in total devoted obedience to His will.
About eight centuries later, both Israel and Egypt are found to learn the same lesson. Pharaoh Hophra thinks himself to be god and Israel seeks refuge under his provisions. Judea had been told to submit to Babylon and live (Jeremiah 27:12), but stubbornly refused, which eventually caused its destruction and seventy years captivity. Those left from the captivity see themselves again under Babylonian attacks and seek refuge under Ophra of Egypt, thus absolutely rejecting Jeremiah’s advice to stay put in Israel (Jeremiah 42). In the end, Israel finds itself between the Babylonian army coming as locusts to destroy Pharaoh and Egypt (or ‘between ‘Iraq and a hard place’’) (Jeremiah 46:23; Exodus 10:4, 12-14). The only option again for Israel will be to throw itself at God’s mercy in total devoted obedience to His will.
Today Israel faces the same dilemma. Having a divine destiny to re-conquer and repopulate the Promised Land, Israel is discovering that the political credit and financial support it receives from the international community may come at the price of heavy compromises including the giving up of Jerusalem. Again, Israel has to make hard choices, and throw itself at God’s mercy in total devoted obedience to His will.
On a homiletical level, this lesson may apply to us all. In the global economy in which we live, when someone sneezes in Asia or the Middle East, our whole economy gets sick with a cold. Suddenly, that far away ‘sneeze’ echoes and sends shivers into our very pocket books and ability to provide for our families here at home. The good news is that as believers and followers of God, we have the admonition from Yeshua to not rely on the shaky uncertainty of an international economy already so sick that it is actually dead, only made to look alive by the life support of political lies and pretences (Matthew 6; 19-34; Philippians 4:19).
Most of the time also, success in business in a capitalistic society comes at the price of aggressive financial maneuvers that go against the principles of Torah and God’s commandment to not practice usury, but to give in love preferring the welfare of others before that of our own. We all have hard choices to make!, and ultimately need to throw ourselves at God’s mercy in total devoted obedience to His will!