Things that stood out for me in today’s reading of Exodus:
Being a foreigner where I live, the verses regarding treatment of foreigners of course stood out to me (Exodus 22:21-24): South Africa has high crime levels, and high rates of single parenthood – many women are widowed by death and by the justice system, and many many children are being raised by single mothers. I found myself wondering if this isn’t a judgment in part for how the nation treats foreigners, the recent (and not so recent) xenophobic and criminal attacks being topical.
I wondered how far into time the benefits and curses laid out in the old testament reach – and then God convicted me: if I think S.A’s problems are due even partly to ill treatment of sojourners, how much of my struggle is because of my own actions that directly contradict old testament teaching? How’s that for another reminder that I need to stay in my lane?
Regarding a nation’s treatment of foreigners and the conduct of sojourners in foreign lands, i am reminded of these verses also in the old testament:
Jeremiah 29 is a letter to the exiles in Babylon and part of it reads thus:
5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
How often do I intentionally pray for South Africa’s peace and prosperity? With reference to the rest of the passage, do i always make restitution when i borrow something and lose or damage it? Do I treat strangers, visitors, widows and orphans well? How would i do if my actions were graded using the Exodus standard?
It became clear to me that it is easy to see the failings in others while ignoring the same in ourselves. It is easy to hold others to a higher standard of behavior than we hold for ourselves. The whole log vs speck thing? Jesus wasn’t playing. If I say I live ‘under Grace’ and these precepts no longer apply to me, then I must agree that that same Grace is extended to others.
I was humbled by today’s reading. I get what the new testament meant about the Law pointing out sin and I am once more reminded of just how great God’s love is that He gave His only son to die for my sin, and that He extends Grace to me, continuously. Thank you Father, thank you Jesus.