As believers, we have been called to reflect the character of God. Paul wrote, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). After all, we had originally been made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), an image later defaced by sin. And as we saw, when Moses talked about the power and majesty of God, he also said that God didn’t take a bribe and that He cared about the weak and the outcast. God does this; therefore, we need to do the same, as well.
Read the following texts in Deuteronomy. What is the common theme among them all?
It’s all but proverbial how the weak, the poor, the outcasts don’t get the same kind of “justice” in most human courts as do those with money, power, and connections. It doesn’t matter the country, the era, the culture, nor how lofty the principles of justice and equity that are enshrined in constitutions or laws or whatever; the reality remains the same: the poor, the weak, and the outcasts almost never get the justice that others do.
That’s what is so remarkable about what the Lord Himself was saying here. This unfairness, which is everywhere else, should not be done in Israel, among God’s people, the ones who are to represent Him to the world. In a sense, to use a term from the modern era, the Lord wanted there to be “equal justice under the law” in ancient Israel.
But this goes even deeper than mere jurisprudence. “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). Yes, they knew who the true God was, and they had the correct forms of worship, and they brought the right kinds of offerings. That’s all fine. But in the end, what good was all that if they were mistreating the weak and poor among them? Over and over, in the prophets, the Lord rails against the oppressors of the poor and the needy in Israel. How can you be “holy” and mistreat others at the same time? You can’t, regardless of how strictly you adhere to proper religious rituals.
|Read Amos 2:6; Amos 4:1; Amos 5:11; Isaiah 3.14-15; Isaiah 10.1-2; and Jeremiah 2:34. What are the prophets saying that reflects what the Lord had warned ancient Israel about? What do these words say to us today?|