THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28
“… for ye were strangers
in the land of Egypt.”
BE GRACIOUS IN YOUR DEALINGS
The LORD gave specific instructions that the children of Israel must observe towards particular groups of people. His people must not mistreat these because they must be gracious (Exod 22:27) like Him.
The children of Israel were not to ill-treat foreigners who lived among them by oppressing them. God reminded them that they too were once foreigners in Egypt. They should remember how it felt to be abused. We must not mistreat others because we were once mistreated. Instead, we should understand how the vulnerable ones feel and be kind to them. Be protective and caring towards those new among us, not bully them at school, at work, or at home. The culture of “ragging” in some universities should be avoided by Christians. They were not to look down upon and make life difficult for the widows and orphans. We must be especially thoughtful and helpful to these defenseless ones. Do not vex them by despising or ostracizing or bullying them. God pronounced serious warning and curse to kill such oppressors with death and making their wives widows and children orphans! This was how protective He was of these ones. Neither were they allowed to take advantage of the poor by exploiting them in times of their need. We are to lend freely, not try to make money through charging interest. God is not against making interests (Luke 19:23), but this is a case of exploiting those in need. We must be ready to lend and help those in need, not take the opportunity to exploit them. In fact, they were to return the clothes put with them as security so that the borrower had something to wear at night.
These laws would make Israel different from other nations and people that may oppress these helpless groups. Christians today must show the same kindness to these groups of people. It is what differentiates us from others in a “dog-eat-dog” world, where people will do anything to be successful and make gain for self, even if what they do harm other people, especially those in weaker positions.
THOUGHT: God’s laws reveal His character.
PRAYER: LORD, help me as I aim to be gracious, like Thou art.