Day 48--Care for the Least, the Lost and the Left Out--"God's Holy Presence" Deuteronomy 21 - 25
February 16, 2021, 9:23 PM

Day 48 – Glogger Fr. Alistair--Care for The Least, the Lost and the Left out—“God’s Holy Presence” Deuteronomy 21-25

Amid many laws concerning unsolved murders, female captives, inheritance, sexual relations, marriage, divorce and sanitary practices are a few laws which, if kept, would have defined the Israelites as acting justly in God’s eyes.  However, not keeping or disregarding these laws, along with the sin of idolatry, would eventually condemn them as unjust and unrighteous or unworthy.  As a result, the people would be removed from the Promised Land and exile would be the punishment.  Deut 24: 14-15, 17-21 commands the Israelites to act fairly to the poor, the alien and the widow.  At the heart of God’s mercy and grace was the care of and provision for the least, the lost and the left out.

God’s holiness demanded not only ritual purity and behavior but also a moral responsibility towards those at the bottom of society.  Time and time again during the future reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah God’s prophets or spokespersons would appear and hold the people to God’s standard contained in these verses.  Like the vision of the plumb line in Amos 7:7, God’s standard of social justice for the powerless and disadvantaged, as set out in Deut 24, would be set against Israel, and it was found wanting. 

Amos, living in the 8th century BCE, was sent by God to speak to the rich and the powerful in Israel.  His charge was against the unjust practices of the people who went to worship on the Sabbath but could not wait till the Hallowed Day was over, so they could get back to their unjust treatment and exploitation of the poor.

God, through Amos, calls out their injustice:

“Skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.” (Amos 8:5-6)

“You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain.” (Amos 5:11)

There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Amos 5:12)

God’s standard for social justice still applies today for the lost, the least and the left out.  What is the Government doing for the alien?  What is the Community doing for the poor?  And what is the church doing for the widow and the orphan?  God calls out for justice in our dealings with the poor and woe to those who ignore it.

--Rev. Alistair Morrison

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