Reflection: Many of us are kind of familiar with Old Testament Law. We know the Ten Commandments. We might be aware of weirder commands about sacrificing animals or cleaning the mildew out of your house. But what we might not be aware of is how many of God’s OT commands revolve around the idea of justice.
For all of their faults, the people of Israel were always meant to function as a model community. Their social life together was intended to demonstrate God’s gracious and just character. And God’s heart is this:
“…there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today (Deut 15:4–5).
Our passage for today shows that this heart for the poor must express itself consistently. God cares about justice for employees (v.14) and his eyes are on the immigrant, the orphan, and the widow (vv.17-18). Indeed, in verse 19-22 God challenges his people to a radical habit of generosity. He tells Israel’s farmers to hold back from harvesting everything they can. Don’t maximise your wealth. Instead, if you trust in an abundant God, then we delight that our surplus can bring blessing the poor. The reign of God is not about making ourselves rich, it is about making many flourish.
Question: Are there times when you have sought to hoard your wealth instead of sharing with the poor?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise you that you rule the world with justice for the poor and the marginalized. Thank you, Jesus, for your forgiveness. Holy Spirit, please keep changing us into people who are soft-hearted and open-handed towards the poor. Amen.