Wednesday, July 11, 2012

protecting the vulnerable

Good morning sisters and brothers,
The laws we read today from Deuteronomy further emphasize that God loves justice and watches out for the powerless in society. Not only does the law protect those forced to borrow money, it also commands employers to pay their employees quickly and fairly. For those of us who have never lived on a farm, the paragraph about harvesting crops and leaving left-over olives or grain behind might seem strange. We're used to efficiency and thoroughness being extremely important values. In this case, the produce left behind on the first pass through the field is left for those in need. We see this system in action in the book of Ruth, where two widows depend on gleaning (gathering the left-behind) to survive. Our calling is still to look out for those who are vulnerable in society.

God bless,


14You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns. 15You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. 

16Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their parents; only for their own crimes may persons be put to death. 17You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge. 18Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.

19When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be left for the alien, the orphan, and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all your undertakings. 20When you beat your olive trees, do not strip what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. 21When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, do not glean what is left; it shall be for the alien, the orphan, and the widow. 22Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this.

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