Moses' eighth speech, Part 7, Paying wages on time
May 09, 2013
In Deuteronomy 24:14 and 15, Moses continues his speech, saying,
14 You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns. 15 You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he may not cry against you to the Lord and it becomes sin in you.
Here God gives another definition of oppression, this time in terms of paying wages in a timely manner. Once again, Moses emphasizes equal treatment between countrymen and aliens living in the land. It is part of loving your neighbor as yourself. Oppressed people, including aliens, are given the right to appeal to the Divine Court for justice.
As always, this law expresses the heart of God and reveals His dealings with all of us who labor for Him in the Kingdom of God. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:7-9,
7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Though we may appear to serve men, in reality we are on God’s payroll. Even men’s slaves are claimed by God, who holds masters accountable for their treatment. God often sees fit to subcontract our labor to men. I learned this many years ago during my wilderness experience. I knew that I was called to the ministry, and so at first I chafed over the fact that I was forced to work in the world system, doing things that seemed unimportant. My heart was not in it, and so it seemed to me that God was wasting my time year after year. Eventually, I learned that I was not as important as I had thought, and that God had the right to subcontract my labor to anyone that He wished.
During that time, I came to a deeper understanding of His provision. The miraculous ways in which He provided for the needs of my family taught me that I was truly on God’s payroll, no matter where I worked or for whom. In fact, I discovered that in the times when I was unemployed, the provision was greater than when I was employed! When life does not make sense, it is because we do not yet know God as we should.
The ultimate reward (paycheck) is the immortal, glorified body. It is the type of body that Jesus had after His resurrection, where He could go to heaven or come to earth at will. The timing of this payment for services rendered is foreshadowed by Moses in this law in Deuteronomy 24:15. The will of God says that payment should be rendered “before the sun sets,” (NASB). The Hebrew text uses the same wording as we saw earlier in verse 13, “when the sun goes down.” It is a reference to the sun coming to the earth (sunset).
Moses will have more to say later about God paying us for our labor. But for now the principle laid down in verse 15 shows us that the ultimate payment, or reward, for our labor will be given when the Sun of Righteousness comes to earth. This is, of course, in addition to the daily provision that He gives us prior to that final day.
This is the seventh part of a series titled "Moses' Eighth Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones