Thursday, July 14, 2011
Read: Exodus 22
“Alright, alright, another list of laws. We get it.” Sure, there were a bunch of rules God laid on the people (again, all for their own good). But what can we learn from examining these laws. Many times people think that Old Testament laws are contradictory to who God is and what Christians Preach. The truth is that these laws reveal a lot about God and what his mission for his people and this world are. Let’s camp out on a few verses near the end:
“Do not oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Do not exploit widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, then I will surely help them. My anger will blaze forth against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Your wives will become widows, and your children will become fatherless.
If you lend money to a fellow Hebrew in need, do not be like a money lender, charging interest. If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge of repayment, you must return it by nightfall. Your neighbor will need it to stay warm during the night. If you do not return it and your neighbor cries out to me for help, then I will hear, for I am very merciful. Do not blaspheme God or curse anyone who rules over you.
(Exodus 22:21-28 NLT).
This is a whole different mindset than our society today. What do you get out of these verses? God loves the poor. God loves the widow and orphan. God loves the aliens.
Now, you might fit into one of those categories. You might have slipped into the country illegally. You might lack parents. You might be poor by North American standards.
But if you’re dead and have a nail through your ear lobe (see yesterday) you need to move on and look beyond yourself. God is looking to demonstrate His compassion through you.
Note that God makes two promises: 1. He hears the oppressed; 2. He will take revenge on those the oppressors. The scary thing is that God has no tolerance for oppressors and you may be an oppressor without even knowing it.
These are not sins of commission, that is, things you do on purpose (like oppressing the poor). These are things that you don’t do (like not helping the poor). The bottom line is that we need to exert ourselves for the aliens (refugees), for orphans and widows, and for the poor.
How many poor, orphans, widows, and refugees do you know? What can you do to show compassion to them this week? What can you do to show compassion to them outside of BOS?
What kind of ministries could your corps do to reach these kinds of people? Maybe your corps already has some, discuss.