What Gets God Excited?
Holy God, I worship You for Your great, great holiness and ask for Your grace to grow in holiness, too.
Read EXODUS 22:16-31
 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.  If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.  “Do not allow a sorceress to live.  “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death.  “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.  “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.  “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.  If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.  My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.  “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.  If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it to him by sunset,  because his cloak is the only covering he has for his body. What else will he sleep in? When he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.  “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.  “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. “You must give me the firstborn of your sons.  Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.  “You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat do you learn about God’s concerns here?
In today’s reading we are given some insight into the more significant matter of what stirs the feelings of God Almighty. To be sure, he loves holiness and hates sin, reigns on high and delights in his creation. However, it is also striking that, throughout Scripture, we find God not only prescribing codes of social justice but becoming personally engrossed and emotionally committed on behalf of the poor (e.g. Isa. 11:4; Amos 5:24).
In v. 22, the people are told not to take advantage of widows and orphans. That’s simple enough. But God appears to engage with this issue not as a dispassionate judge weighing the case. Rather, we see him as the unapologetic advocate of the poor, as a powerful friend whose “anger will be aroused” (24) if more privileged citizens try to exploit their weaker compatriots. Studying the instructions about the cloak in vs. 26 and 27, we have a vivid illustration of the compassion of God, the one who, though ruler of the universe, cares intensely for the poor. The time arrived when God in Christ came down and stood shivering alongside the poor man whose cloak had been stolen.
What parts of this passage apply most directly to you? What more can you do to promote justice between people?
Lord, help me to share Your heart of compassion and concern for others, especially the poor and powerless.
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