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Deuteronomy 24 (ESV)
10 “When you make your neighbor a loan of any sort, you shall not go into his house to collect his pledge. 11 You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you. 12 And if he is a poor man, you shall not sleep in his pledge. 13 You shall restore to him the pledge as the sun sets, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you. And it shall be righteousness for you before the Lord your God.
14 “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. 15 You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin.
16 “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.
17 “You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge, 18 but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.
19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.
Three scenarios are presented in this passage: giving a loan, treating a laborer, caring for the vulnerable. What common theme links the three scenarios? God’s instructions are to protect them from being exploited in harmful ways.
Think about a recent encounter with someone who might be like the neighbour, laborer, foreigner, or orphan described in the passage. Perhaps it’s a beggar on the road side, or someone at school or work who was upset. When faced with the person’s need, what did I feel? What thoughts popped into my head? What did I do?
Take a few moments to explore with God what was going on in my heart during the encounter. Reflect the thoughts in my mind at that incident: sympathy, concern, helping, avoidance, fear, resistance, disgust, accusing, hatred……
Wait for God to speak with me, explore my real attitude toward these people and receive God’s further instructions for me.
Lord, Open Our Eyes （Mother Theresa）
Lord, open our eyes that we may see you in our brothers and sisters.
Lord, open our ears that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.
Lord, open our hearts that we may love each other as you love us.
Renew in us your spirit, Lord, free us and make us one.