Friday, October 1, 2010

Deuteronomy 22, 23, 24 " ... So that the Lord your God may Bless You"

Position in which a Jewish kohen places his ha...Image via Wikipedia

There are times when you just can’t do something for yourself or you don’t have the means with which to do what you need.  Once when I was ill, a friend brought over a chicken dinner.  Because I couldn’t go to the store or prepare anything, it was a gift of immeasurable worth.  I thanked God for the dinner and praised Him for moving someone to help me.

Similarly, in these chapters filled with regulations governing human interactions, there is one phrase, which appeared twice, that jumped out at me, “so that the Lord you God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (Deut 23:20; 24:19)  

In both instances, God was admonishing Israel not to squeeze every last shekel out of certain business transactions.  When lending money, the Israelite was not to charge interest of a brother Israelite.  While it was alright to charge interest on money lent to foreigners, the Israelite was supposed to lend money but not gain monetarily on another’s misfortune.  In the second occurrence, Israel was instructed to harvest a field without stripping it clean of grain.  Rather, sheaves had to be behind so that someone more unfortunate could gather some grain after the harvesters were finished.

In both instances, Israel was effectively prohibited from capitalizing on someone’s misfortune.  Moreover, God promised to bless the industrious, successful person in all of their work if they treated the less fortunate with compassion (by not charging interest and by leaving some grain in the field).  While God has not ordained for everyone to be wealthy, He has created a situation through which a prosperous person can assist a needy brother.  The needy are blessed by the kindness of the successful while the successful are blessed directly by God.  And, both can praise God for His provision, since neither would have anything if God did not allow it in the first place.

While few of us are farmers or bankers today, many of us do have some extra resources left over after God has blessed us.  Those who prosper would do well to allow someone to benefit from their abundance and so receive a greater blessing from God “in all the work of your hands.”
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