Read Deuteronomy 21 - 23
In Today's Reading:
Laws concerning murder; female war captives, their marriage and divorce; another's property; sanitation and human relations
The Israelites had been taught that, because He had created all things, everything belonged to God and they were only caretakers of His possessions. Because of their Covenant relationship with the Lord, they even were responsible for the welfare of their neighbor's property. You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide yourself from them: you shall in any case bring them again to your brother (Deuteronomy 22:1-4).
Under the laws of most countries, we would not be held legally responsible for failing to prevent someone else's financial loss. But our stewardship responsibility to God requires that we respond to another's needs in a spirit of Christ-like love.
In our Lord's Sermon on the Mount
, He taught His followers to go far beyond merely helping preserve the property of a friend or neighbor. Jesus commanded His followers: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven
(Matthew 5:44-45). As His disciples we must do the same.
The person we help may or may not appreciate or even deserve the kindness we express. Our responsibility, however, is not to the person who needs our help but to the Lord, who is the true Owner of all creation, and who provides us with the opportunities to express His love to the lost and unloved.
Jesus illustrated this by saying: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which . . . wounded him . . . leaving him half dead. . . . a certain priest. . . . And likewise a Levite . . . looked on him, and passed by (Luke 10:30-32). Perhaps they had completed their religious responsibilities in Jerusalem and were on their way home to Jericho, the city of palm trees, where many of the Temple priests lived. To stop and help this man could have defiled them and made them ceremonially unclean or, perhaps, they felt he was undeserving. But a certain Samaritan wasn't looking for excuses to avoid giving aid or questioning whether the hurting man was deserving of help. Instead, this outcast from Samaria, who was much despised by the religious Jews, demonstrated Christlike love and had compassion (pity) on the man who fell among the thieves and proved it by providing for his care (10:33-35).
The Apostle John was led to remind us we must not love in word, neither in tongue (talk); but in deed (action) and in truth (I John 3:18).
21:4 strike off = break the neck or behead; 21:5 controversy = dispute; stroke = assault or violence; 21:15 hated = unloved; 22:8 battlement = guard railing; 22:19 amerce = punish with a fine; 22:30 discover his father's skirt = commit adultery with his father's wife.
Christ died on a tree (cross) in our place, submitting to the penalty of physical death imposed by the Law for our sins (Deuteronomy 21:23). In the evening He was taken down from the cross, signifying the Law had been satisfied (John 19:31). Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree (Galatians 3:13).
Pray for BPM Staff: George Alan Church · Government Official: Sen. George Allen (VA) · Country: North Korea (22 million) in northeastern Asia · Major language: Korean · Violent oppression against all religions · 68% atheist; 31% Buddhism, Confucianism, and other Korean religions; 1% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for national revival, for righteousness exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34).
Optional Reading: Luke 23
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:19