Today’s verses speak of respect, kindness, mercy, generosity, justice, integrity. They may seem like a long list of rules, but I want to remember, they served a purpose in shaping the character of God’s people. Instead of just listing do’s and don’ts, there’s a why and a how to drive home the point, so they know what it (respect, kindness, mercy, generosity, etc.) looks like in action.
10 When you make a loan of any kind to your neighbor, do not go into their house to get what is offered to you as a pledge. 11 Stay outside and let the neighbor to whom you are making the loan bring the pledge out to you. 12 If the neighbor is poor, do not go to sleep with their pledge in your possession. 13 Return their cloak by sunset so that your neighbor may sleep in it. Then they will thank you, and it will be regarded as a righteous act in the sight of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 24:10-13, NIV)
The rules were sometimes followed by this reminder, to remember who they were and where they came from before the Lord redeemed them.
18 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. (Deuteronomy 24:18, NIV)
It would be so easy to skim the reading as a bunch of rules, but there is a deeper meaning here, about humility, dignity, and character. About remembering what God has done and celebrating his goodness. About extending his kindness and mercy to others. It is about living set apart.
16 The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared this day that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in obedience to him, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws—that you will listen to him. 18 And the Lord has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. 19 He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised. (Deuteronomy 26:16-19, NIV)
Father God, this reminds me: I need you every day. I need the transforming power of Your Spirit and Your Word. I don’t want to live unchanged by your grace and mercy.