Thursday 17 November 2016

Bible Book:

“You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (v. 19)

Deuteronomy 10:12-22 Thursday 17 November 2016

Psalm: Psalm 51


The opening exhortation in this passage that answers thequestion, "What does the Lord your God require of you?" echoes thewords of Micah 6:8, used powerfully as a theme earlierthis year in the Methodist Conference, "to do justice, and to lovekindness, and to walk humbly with your God". As may be expected inDeuteronomy, with its emphasis on the central importance of thelaw, this almost liturgical catechism which may have been used aspart of priestly worship, adds the need to "keep the commandmentsof the Lord your God" (v. 13). Whilst fearing (or worshipping),loving and serving God are all requirements, so too is "to walk inall his ways" (v. 12), which means obeying the God-given law. Thisnow is the complete duty of all the people of Israel.

For a people about to enter a new land, it is timely to remindthem of their own history as they work out how to relate to thosealready living in Canaan. The law that they have been given placesresponsibilities upon them with respect to those around them, forthey are not only required to love God but to demonstrate that lovethrough the fair treatment of the orphan, the widow and thestranger (verse 18).

The Israelites may not have been treated well themselves inEgypt, ending up as slaves in a foreign land, but nevertheless thatexperience also led them to become a prospective nation, with their"seventy ancestors" (v. 22) growing in to a population as "numerousas the stars in heaven", just as God had promised Abraham (Genesis 15:5). Now it was their turn to havethe responsibilities of a nation towards others who were strangersliving amongst them and they would be judged by their response.Walking in the way of God does not mean abusing those who aredifferent, as was their own experience in Egypt, but acting in loveand making a practical improvement to the lives of those who havelittle or nothing but who are now their neighbours.

To Ponder

  • What does it mean to you to "walk in all God's ways" (v. 12)?How easy is that in our society?
  • Who are the strangers in our society and how should we respondto them?
  • Reflect on the news headlines today. Pray for those who cry outfor justice.
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