Reading through the Bible together

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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God says in Malachi 2:16, “I hate divorce.” And Jesus pointed out that Moses’ permission even to end the marriage relationship by divorce was only allowed because of “the hardness of your hearts…” and then He added, “but from the beginning it was not so.” Actually there are some other legitimate reasons besides sexual immorality (see 1 Corinthians 7:15; Exodus 21:10-11, 26-27). But it is most important to keep in mind that both Moses and Jesus clearly laid the blame for divorce on a lack of relationship with God.

The most striking feature about most of the miscellaneous laws in the remaining portion of this chapter is how God is very concerned about societies’ marginalized people, especially the poor, the needy, aliens and strangers, the fatherless, and widows.

The law of gleaning describes the Bible's form of welfare: give the poor an opportunity to work; leave your excess fallen grain for them; don't take everything that is rightfully yours, but leave something for the poor and the aliens. This law, so seemingly insignificant, was first given in Leviticus 19:9-10. The only reason given was, “I am the Lord your God.” It is His nature to give graciously of his abundance to others, even to those who perhaps do not deserve it. Give a person an opportunity to work (to gather the fallen grain) which enables the recipient to maintain his/her dignity.

“Dear God, most of us don't have fields and vineyards nowadays, so help us to find a way to implement the principle of generosity.”

John Ash
Chinese Union Mission
Hong Kong