Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday, July 4th: Deuteronomy 22-24, Acts 5:22-42 ~ Tammy

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Deuteronomy 22-24; Acts 5:22-42

Out OT passage today gives instructions on how we are to love our neighbour.  It is not enough to simply do no harm, we must also do them good.

Here's just one example from the text....

22 “You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them. You shall take them back to your brother. 2 And if he does not live near you and you do not know who he is, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall stay with you until your brother seeks it. Then you shall restore it to him.
The animal was not your responsibility, and you didn't lose it, but if you found it the animal became your responsibility, and you were to take care of it and return it at your own time and expense, and likely, inconvenience.

Rayburn says: love and mercy don't calculate relative responsibility. It wishes to protect, to guard, to save

Why are we to consider the needs of others at our own expense?  Not for payback.  No, the answer is in 24:22
22 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.
And, as Rayburn points out....

The deliverance from Egypt mentioned in v. 22 is, of course, the great OT picture of our redemption in Jesus Christ. And so we would put the point this way: We are to be merciful, kind, and generous to others, because Christ was immeasurably kind and merciful and generous to us. Kindness, mercy, and love are the profile of Jesus Christ in the lives of his disciples. They love him and want to be like him; they admire him and wish to emulate him. They are grateful to him and imitation is the sincerest form of gratitude and appreciation. If he became poor for us, then, suddenly, impoverishing ourselves for others -- which would never make sense either as a business calculation or as a means of expressing our inner-directedness -- not only makes eminent sense, but is what we most desperately want to do.

These laws, then, are laws which dig down into our motives, and absolutely require us genuinely to love others and to love mercy. Without God's grace and mercy animating our hearts, these laws will never be kept. On the other hand, as the Bible everywhere says, if God's grace is alive in our hearts, if we love Christ because he first loved us, it is inevitable that the love of others, that generous and kind and merciful acts toward our neighbors will follow in turn.

Only God's grace can make us love our neighbours this way.  And THIS is how love wins.

In our NT passage, we again see the courage of the disciples, and we see one Pharisee with some common sense and excellent advice.   if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them

Clearly, it was of God!

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Deuteronomy 25-27; Acts 6


Nathan Reimer said...

I too, thought what Gamaliel the Pharisee said was wise and also proved later that the gospel preached by these men of God is true. The gospel continues to be preached today, which proves all the more that it is legit.

Conrad said...

Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of a widow as a pledge. Deuteronomy 24:17

The Israelites were chosen by God, but He still cares for the aliens too. The Israelites had been oppressed aliens in Egypt and in Babylon, so God instructed them to remember the aliens and care for them too.

We are aliens in today's world - involved in it, but not attached to it.

Pamela said...

The first thing that jumped out for me today was the first passage you mentioned: “You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep going astray and ignore them...." I was driving home this morning and saw my neighbours garage door open. It would have been easy to ignore it since they do often work in their garage but then I remembered that I had seen an instagram photo from their son posted from their vacation. I made the effort to contact them, close the door, make sure things didn't look disturbed, and finally did reach them. It would have been easy to ignore AND even easier to not even make the connection that they were away if I had not built a relationship with them. When we know what our neighbours' ox or sheep look like, then it is easier to watch out for them :)

The next thing that stood out for me was:
5 “A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God...."

I can't help but think of the media frenzy surrounding Bruce Jenner. God created male and female....distinct and separate.

and you can't help but wonder why there is a command to not wear linen and I looked it up and found this:

'In its ancient context, though, the law had a perfectly logical reasoning. Both the priestly garments and the tabernacle weavings were a combination of wool and linen. The priest’s white undergarment was linen, and the brightly colored vestment was wool. So it was prohibited for laypersons to dress in the same way.'