“‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. ‘You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning. You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 19:11-14 NKJV
“‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord. ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
Leviticus 19:32-34 NKJV
When I consider the struggles of these times, I am greatly troubled at the lack of concern for the weak. Many of the problems facing our world are compounded in the lives of the poor. These effects are often played out in the open square, as human tragedy is not relegated to the shadows.
We have a growing homelessness problem in our country, and indeed throughout the world. Encampments are found everywhere, as people seek to survive in these perilous times.
I watched a well known conservative pundit the other morning, who decided to tackle the issue of homelessness. While he spoke of the problem, and some of its root causes, he failed to see the real people who were caught up in the trouble. They were called lunatics and other things.
No one awakens one day and decides to be homeless. A series of bad things happen, and one becomes ensnared.
In addition to homelessness, there are many other problems that are blossoming before us, filling our headlines with blood, as those who have been ignored are reminding us of their presence I often horrendous ways.
Regardless of what they have done, each is still a person, whose path took a wrong turn at some point, leading to the horrific outcome that finally got our attention.
Each person has a story, and each person is a human that God loves.
I spent more time in Leviticus this morning, as I read through the Bible. In my time in the Scriptures, I became more aware of the heart of God. He sees people differently than we do, choosing to love, rather than revile, as is our nature.
As I read, I could sense the evil of humanity in its outright rejection of poor, the needy, the stranger and all those who are on the fringes of society.
“You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 19:14 NKJV
That verse stood out to me. In my view it is the epitome of evil. There are so many implications in that verse, and indeed the whole passage, as it is being played out everyday in this world. There are so many times when the knowing deceive the unknowing, sending them to their doom.
In these times the absence of the Gospel is most evident, as those reprobate are committing horrible acts against humanity with an alarming increase. The tendency is to react with hate, and not with the heart of God.
Often Christians found themselves caught up in the public outcry, and begin to side with the powerful, denying the love of God and going against the powerless. They are seeking public power, desiring to be esteemed according to the world.
The disciples argued over this as the jockeyed for position in Kingdom of Heaven.
“And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles Lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”
Matthew 20:24-26 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, let us not behave as the world does, and turn our hearts away from the those who are among the powerless.
The heart of God is for the low, not the mighty. Whether the weak be immigrants pressing at our borders, or homeless filling the sidewalks and streets, or the many people affected by the opioid pandemic infecting the world, those who are powerful, leading vast pharmaceutical companies are responsible, for they have created the mess we are seeing on the streets.
Those in power press for reductions in funding for police and mental health services, further compounding the pain.
Instead of being repulsed by what we see, let us be urged into action, being willing to go and take the Gospel. Each of those lives, laid low is an opportunity for the glory of God to be shown. I think of the demoniac
“And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.””
Mark 5:7-9 NKJV
The man had suffered for years with no help, until he encountered Jesus. The people had become accustomed to his presence. Ironically they seemed more disturbed when he had been healed and sat clothed and in his right mind.
“Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.”
Mark 5:15-17 NKJV
When we fail to share the Good News, we are adding to the problems we are seeing. The struggles that repulse us could have been avoided if we had shared Jesus.
Let us be persistent in seeing people through the heart of God, fleeing from evil, seeking to help and not hurt.
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