Sundays are always a busy day for ministers, but they’re also pretty encouraging. I’m writing this at the end of a Sunday — a Sunday for changing to daylight savings time, no less — so I’m a little mind-weary at the moment, so I’ll keep my remarks short. But don’t let the shortness of the remarks make you think that there’s not much here. It’s nothing of the kind.
Let me start with the beginning of chapter 22 and the call of God to be responsible. God gives several examples of how the person belonging to God can’t just choose to not get involved. If people lose something and you find it, you can’t just neglect the other person’s need for his property. It’s the principle of “Golden Rule” at work — it’s what we’d hope someone else would do for us. Perhaps where this principle of getting involved is most applicable is in the area of evangelism. Many would like to choose to be uninvolved, let the lost find their own way.
A second thing I thought would be stimulating to discuss was the topic of slavery. A common argument used by homosexual advocates to justify the sin is to try cast the Bible as an antiquated, wrong-headed book; and they often attempt to resort to an accusation that the Bible approves of or at least allows slavery. This argument founded upon a poor reading of the text warped by an agenda — the outcome has no chance of being true to Scripture or valid as an argument.
Although slavery was allowed, it was not slavery as we know it in American history. Slavery in Israel was part of a survival strategy during dire times of poverty like it was in most ancient cultures. But on top of that, in this very text we find a clear prohibition of the kind of slavery that was practiced in the 1700’s and 1800’s in America — kidnapping and selling someone as a slave. And notice, also, that if an Israelite discovered a runaway slave, he was actually under obligation to not turn him in but rather to treat him well. Neither of these principles were in practice in American slavery. The Bible doesn’t defend American slavery; it defends only the practice of slavery that fit the parameters God set down which was intended to help men in poverty, not oppress them. Far from the Bible being antiquated, it’s wisdom demonstrates its true, divine authorship and ultimate timelessness.
What are your thoughts?
I hope to see you tomorrow, Lord willing.