May 16, 2019: Day 19 – Deuteronomy 19

We begin somewhat innocuously, and yet with a theme that is a very hot topic for today.  Sanctuary cities, do you see that the Lord set up sanctuary cities for those who might be pursued because they killed someone by mistake?   So this whole concept of sanctuary cities is absolutely not a new one, it is one that is biblical, and one that is meant to embrace those who are being sought after wrongly.  There was a time when what was called the sanctuary movement was quite popular within churches in the US.  This movement was spearheaded by Presbyterian pastors, my dad was one of them, who would house illegal immigrants primarily from El Salvador which was suffering from a terrible civil war and these immigrants, illegal that they were, would live in the church until their paperwork could be completed.  We housed a family in the church where I grew up in in Pleasantville, NJ.  It was pretty heady stuff.  But the Scriptural backing is there and continues to be there.  Be aware that whatever stance we take, whether morally or politically, must be supported in some way.  It cannot emanate simply from our agenda.

We end the chapter with a very famous verse which Jesus used.  In Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus is teaching and he tells the people: you have heard it said…, and he quotes the verses from Deuteronomy, and then he adds: but I say to you – “ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”  That is a pretty different direction from where Deuteronomy takes us.  

Moses tells us that we have to purge the evil doer from our midst.   Jesus says we have to love the evildoer and then maybe, just maybe, they will see the love that God has for them and turn from their evil ways.  I’ll take Jesus’ approach.

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