Today’s reading includes Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19, Luke 10:13-37, Psalm 75:1-10, and Proverbs 12:12-14.
In today’s reading there are several instructions for uncomfortable topics. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert of the whys and hows of such things. But I do see some overall information which gives clues into the heart of God.
First, we see mentioned the sin of Balaam once again. We know that the people did suffer consequences of succumbing to Balaam’s curse, but maybe not as they would have if God had not intervened. And, we see in this passage that ultimately God turned the curse into a blessing.
5 But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you.
Our God is a redemptive God. He will turn our bad times into a blessing. Why? Because He loves us.
Secondly, we see that our God is a forgiving God—and He wants us to be forgiving, too.
7 “Do not detest the Edomites or the Egyptians, because the Edomites are your relatives and you lived as foreigners among the Egyptians.
Who were the Edomites? They were descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob. Esau did not always make the right choices. He and his descendants were often at odds with the Israelites and fought one another. At times, they would be considered enemies. But God said to forgive and remember that which tied them together. And of course, we know who the Egyptians were to the Israelites. It seems that the Israelites would have every right to feel hatred toward the Egyptians. They put the whole group into slavery. That treated them harshly. They would not let them worship God freely. And yet, God says to forgive them and not to hate them. Our God is a forgiving God and He wants us to be, too.
Next, God keeps his promises and so should we.
21 “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the Lord your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin. 22 However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. 23 But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the Lord your God.
God is a God of justice. He not only is fair, but goes beyond fair. He wants us to do the same.
14 “Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. 15 You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t, they might cry out to the Lord against you, and it would be counted against you as sin.
God is generous to us and we must be generous to others.
19 “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. 20 When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 21 When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. 22 Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command.
God is a redemptive God. God is a forgiving God. God keeps His promises. God is a fair God, full of justice. God is a generous God. And we are the recipients of all that goodness. And we are made in His image. Let’s go forth and act like the One who has done so much for us.