Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Saved by Grace to Live by Grace...

When God gave the Law through Moses, He made sure they understood that there were laws regarding their relationship to Him as well as their fellow man. Much of the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus are devoted to rules not only governing how the Israelites were to relate to God Himself but their fellow Israelite as well as the non-Israelite.

In one particular passage, during God giving His expectations on cleanliness in the camp, treatment of slaves, reasonable loan interest, respecting a neighbor's crop and marriage/divorce laws, God lays down His expectations for the Israelites and how they care for people in need. (Deuteronomy 24:10-22).

He talks about just loans that help people and not burden them. (24:10-13)

He warns against oppression of the hired hand who is due his wages each day. (24:14-15)

He reminds them that each individual is responsible for his/her sin or shortcoming. (24:16-18)

Then he gives the "law" of the gleanings, whereby those who harvested their fields must leave the second harvest and the "gleanings" for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. This is not only for those mentioned in need but it is for the benefit of the landowner himself in that He says, "...so the Lord God may bless you in all the work of your hands."(24:19)

At the end of this passage, God tells them why they are to be generous and considerate of the poor and needy namely the, "foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow." He says...

"Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore, I am commanding you to do this." (Deuteronomy 24:22)

The truth is that all of us - rich or poor, wise or foolish, strong or weak - owe our lives and everything we have to God. We are all slaves to sin. We are born into it. However, by the merciful grace of God, we, who have placed our trust and lives in the hands of Jesus, have been made rich in His abundance. Everything we have has been given to us by our good and loving Father and in turn, we should be open handed with what we have - little or great - because He has been open handed with us.

God tells them to "remember". Remember that you were slaves.

Our status as "slaves" (to sin, to things, to anything that would take us away from God) should remind us that we should be totally dependent upon God. And that total dependency should create an eternal gratefulness motivating us to care for the needy.

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