“And He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee…” Deuteronomy 7:13
One time I was in charge of a number of people assigned to accomplish a task. I divvied out portions of work to each person, with the stack of identical papers clearly in plain sight of all involved, but I didn’t count the papers. Three individuals involved in the project pulled me aside and said, “Hey, you gave me a bigger stack (more work) than anyone else.” Fascinating that they took that as unfair. They could’ve chosen to believe that it was because I believed they were capable of accomplishing more than anyone else. Instead, they were complaining that it wasn’t fair.
While reading Deuteronomy 7 in my devotions recently, I was struck by how God’s blessing on His people could actually be a warning for us today. God is spelling out the blessings His people will receive if they obey His commands and walk in His ways, as well as what will happen if they don’t. Wow! Talk about a stacked deck. No problems, all the blessings… guaranteed by the omnipotent Creator God. They were promised God’s love, His blessing & multiplication. Their children, crops, and animals would all be blessed above any other people. Their wives and animals would not be barren, and they would have no major plague or sickness issues such as Egypt had. They would be healthy, wealthy, and wise. What more could you ask? You would think that with everything they had going, and all that was at stake if they turned away, they would’ve stayed true indefinitely. They didn’t.
If the privilege, opportunity, and entitlement mentality that is so pervasive today would be true (if you have privilege you succeed, if you don’t have privilege you don’t), the children of Israel would have been set as a people forever. They weren’t. They usually turned away in a generation or so. They consistently chose to throw away the good they had, and grovel in garbage. Interesting!
Unfortunately, they are not abnormal. We are just like them. This nation is a modern example. The humanistic mentality is all around us; it’s in our culture; I’ve seen it in my own life. Many believe that if people have advantage & opportunity, they will do well. Conversely, many are convinced that the ones that do not have some sort of head start / have experienced “unfairness” are doomed to failure. We give them license to blame poor choices and behavior on their “disadvantaged” past. Even worse, we are being led to believe that someone owes us a hand-up and a handout. These mindsets are destructive. History proves this thinking has no basis in reality. As a nation, America had much going for it, yet we’re throwing away God’s principles like a hot potato. Through all of this, the country’s productivity and creativity are swinging into an unprecedented nose-dive. I would suggest we are all to blame. The Church has, for the most part, gone right along with it.
I have news for us: life never will be “fair”. Any time we externally try to enforce a “fairness factor” in favor of someone who is “disadvantaged”, we are forced to discriminate and be unfair to someone else. That’s like creating a second leak by cutting a piece of wood out of the hull of a boat to make a peg to plug the first leak. The second leak is bigger and worse than the first. Forced “fairness” generally wounds all involved: the supplier, the recipient, and the enforcer.
Success and “advantage” have much more to do with internal factors than external factors. The answer is to return to God’s plan and acknowledge my own responsibility in the mess. Our hearts must be changed to desire to follow Him. Only then are we able to voluntarily contribute to helping fellow man in a loving way; a way that doesn’t hurt either the giver or recipient (no enforcer needed). That was God’s plan, and that is the only way the inequalities have any possibility of truly being significantly reduced. Only then will we truly experience the blessings of Deut. 7:13 and fully experience the love of God.