May 21, 2019: Day 24 – Deuteronomy 24May 23, 2019
There is a theme in these verses and it comes from the Hebrew verb, or command really: zayin. This means remember. Moses commands the Israelites after every rule that they are to remember that they were slaves in the land of Egypt and so they must not mistreat others nor must they keep an abomination within the nation of Israel, such as…, well, pretty much a lot. It seems like we have quite a few strung together commandments, not all of which may make sense.
We can’t really take this set of rules and apply them to marriage and divorce, especially since in this time if was the male who was able to write a certificate of divorce pretty much just because he may find “something objectionable about her.” Boy am I glad that my wife isn’t given that green light because pretty much every encounter that I may have with her it would be easy to find “something objectionable about him.”
But we digress. There is a ban against taking another Israelite as a slave. There is a real distinction between what happens to a person who is poor and one who is not poor. The poor person gets a lot more latitude than one who might be better off. What an incredible system of grace when we look at it from this perspective. It must be where Jesus gets his prerogative for the poor. When we read the parable about the laborers who line up and get their wages (Matthew 20:16), we see that the employer is fulfilling the law according to Deuteronomy.
The last set of verses address how we are able to help the poor and that is by leaving our gleanings in the fields so that they are able to come up behind us after the harvest is completed and take the rest. Modern day food banks do something very similar as people leave what is left over for them, what they do not need in order to survive in the form of canned goods, so that others are able to partake. I love the way in which God does not forget the forgotten, those whom others wish weren’t around, those whom others wish would just pull themselves up by the bootstraps. God says you reach out to them, that is your responsibility.