One of my FB friends, Mark Ketchum, made some comments that got me thinking about the nature of God’s law and how it works into human law. The ObamaCare situation is right in front of everyone and is a pretty hot topic. Politics is always a game of lies, smoke and mirrors: Tea Party folks are supposed to be on the rampage, but I have not seen the riots yet. While on the other hand, Obama has just won another significant battle whilst moving toward instituting his one-world-order. I’m not really interested in any of the rhetoric. This post will be short one which I hope will spark some discussion about the nature of God’s law relative to the nature of human law.
God’s law tells us not to steal. One’s not supposed to take other people’s property. Er… if it ain’t yers, keep yer hands off it. The Eighth Commandment is simply fundamental; civilization could not function without this command. (Small pockets of civilization could for a time, but not large-scale and not for too long.) This commandment, being one of the Big Ten, really should weigh quite heavily in our thinking. This divine command, though fundamental, is not the only law in the Bible that informs private property and the sharing of goods.
I think that the gleaning laws should also guide our modern legislation. For example, Leviticus 19:9-10 says, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” Don’t miss the point that God is commanding that those who have take care of those who do not. God doesn’t leave this care of the needy to those who love their neighbor enough to offer them food. Rather, God commanded private business owners, from their own produce, to care for those in their local community who needed help.
I’m aware that local gleaning laws are a world away from Federal programs, but my politically conservative friends cannot pretend that the Bible doesn’t have some precedence for social-safety-net type legislation. So, how should these laws be reflected in our own time and in our own nations, states, provinces, counties, and cities? At what point does wealth redistribution (taking money via taxation and giving it to other people who did not earn it) become theft?
One final thought: the gleaning laws teach us a few important things. 1) The producer/owner gave directly to the needy. Such is not the case with modern social programs, in which the government takes money to fund programs that, in turn and to whatever degree, help the needy. 2) The gleaning laws necessitate quite limited local care of the needy. These laws did not impose large-scale redistribution of products or money. 3) The needy gleaner had to go and glean. He didn’t just anonymously apply through a state agency on the computer; the gleaner had to go into the fields or vineyards and glean.
Anyway, what are your thoughts?