Wednesday, March 28, 2012

120328 - Leviticus 19-20 - God the Defender of the powerless

Wednesday SOAP: The fear of the LORD is supposed to keep men from abusing those who have no power to defend themselves. For the disabled, for the widow, the orphan, the poor, they have Him to plead their cause with oppressors. Adding to the affliction of the helpless is tempting God, for there is no difference between us; and but for His grace to us, our position of privilege could be exchanged with theirs.

S: Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD. (Le 19:14).

O: Anyone who would bait a deaf or blind person does so because of a cowardly assumption that they won't be caught and made to answer for it. But God points out that He sees, He hears things, even when no one else does.

A: This reminds me of some Proverbs:

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. (Proverbs 22:22-23).

Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee. (Proverbs 23:10-11)

And this passage in Exodus:

Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious. (Ex 22:22-27).

Just as God wants us to see Him as the source of our needs and our protection, He also wants us to see Him as the protector of the defenseless. Ultimately, its a very small difference between us and anyone else - we do not have the power to protect ourselves from all attack, nor is it by our own power that we become wealthy. (Deut. 8:18) It's just that when God provides, we're likely to begin to see it as if our own cleverness, talent or hard work accomplished everything, like we do not begin from a position of great advantage and privilege with which God has graced us.

I think if we saw this a little more clearly, we would both have more compassion for the disadvantaged AND rightfully honor the Lord by praying for His continued provision and protection.

P: Father, forgive me for my attitude of entitlement. Teach me to fear you even when things are going great and to understand that but for the undeserved favor I enjoy, my family and I would struggle and suffer like so many in this world do today.


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