In Lev 19:17, we read, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”
We are not to embarrass people.
In Lev 19:14, we read, “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am Yehovah.”
We are not to curse anyone or embarrass someone who is blind. We are to be especially considerate when dealing with someone who is blind.
In Deut 22:4, we read, “If you see your fellow Israelite’s donkey or an ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it. Help the owner get it to its feet.”
This commandment does not need any further explanation; it is very straightforward.
So far, we have dealt with a few commandments concerning love and human relations. Some of them are conditional, such as the Deut 22:4, which says we are to help out if we see our brothers donkey or ox fall on the road. Most of us do not live in an agricultural society right now; we live in industrial communities where we do not have donkeys or oxen.
Even though we can not fulfill these commandments literally, they still apply to us. Instead of helping a donkey or an ox that has fallen, we can help our neighbor with their car or carry groceries for them. This is what is called the spirit of the law. So we must never forget we are called to obey the Torah literarily when we can, but we are also called to follow the spirit of the Torah if we can not meet the strict conditions for each commandment. In a way, this is our test to see if we are more like the priest and the Levite who passed the man on the road, or if we are more like the Samaritan who stopped and cared for him. Yehovah wants our heartfelt obedience to the literal commandments and our sincere obedience to the law’s spirit.
In Lev 19:9-10, we read, “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am Yehovah, your God.”
This is an excellent example of a commandment we will find difficult to obey literally because most of us are not farmers. But even so, this still applies to us, and we are still called to fulfill the spirit of it. In this case, the spirit of this commandment would be to remember the poor and the foreigner and share what you have with them. Or another way of saying this would be, share what you have been given in abundance with those who are less fortunate.
In Ex 22:21, we read, “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”
This commandment is very relevant for us in our day and age. Every nation on the face of the earth has taken in refugees and people seeking asylum. So how are we to relate to them, and at the same time, obey this commandment?
Scripture can not contradict scripture, so when we read Ex 12:49, we understand Ex 22:21 is referring to foreigners who have joined themselves to Israel and become Israelites by choice (Isaiah 56:6.) Someone who joined themselves to Israel left their gods, their culture in favor of Yehovah, and the Torah. These are the foreigner’s Ex 22:21 is referring to.
How does this apply to us today?
People seeking asylum in our countries should never be mistreated or oppressed, but they must assimilate into our culture and leave behind their culture, religions, and gods. (Ex 22:20)
So how do we obey Ex 22:21? By voting for politicians who will demand refugees and asylum seekers to assimilate and leave behind their culture, their gods make sure to protect and defend foreigners who have assimilated and stand up for their rights.
In Deut 15:7, we read, “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.”
Help the poor and help them in any way you can.
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