Leviticus 19-20, Psalm 36
When I was a resident between 1988-1992, one of the clinics we were assigned to was the pregnant drug addiction clinic. It was an eye-opening experience as we primarily gave care to pregnant women addicted to crack or heroin. As a whole, they did everything possible to destroy their pregnancy. Besides the drugs themselves, most cared nothing for their food choices, often eating only potato chips, etc. What amazed me was if there wasn't a drug related premature birth, as a whole they gave birth to fairly healthy babies. It was such a clear example of how God defends the defenseless. Throughout the law we see God's eyes often turned towards the underdog or downtrodden of society. We read in Exodus 22:22-24, "You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless." Unlike today when many woman work, this was not common in those times; they were helpless and left to the generosity of their neighbors and society. We read in Leviticus 19:33-34, that God also protected the stranger, "And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." Favoritism was rampant then and always has been. Even in the early thriving church this was an issue as we read in Acts 6:1, "Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution." God also cared for the disabled. We read in Leviticus 19:14, "You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the Lord." People have always mocked and mistreated the disabled, how much more widespread now that people hide in their rooms and send out their vicious statements via social media in the form of cyber bullying.
A number of years ago one of my colleagues was complaining to me about a delivery she was about to do. Apparently the woman knew how to game the system. She desired a government subsidized four bedroom house and needed two more children for that. She apparently acquired a fertility drug through Canada and now was having her 5th and 6th children all from different fathers. From what my colleague told me this entitled her to a large house paid for by the government since they couldn't force children of different fathers to sleep in the same rooms. I never checked the legality of this but this was what was communicated to me by my colleague. Many like to say that Jesus would be for the current welfare system since He was loving and kind. We get a view of God's welfare system in Leviticus 19:9-10, "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God." The ancient method of harvesting by hand left 10-20% of the grain in the field. But the recipients were not allowed to receive this charitable gift without working for it. They would have to get up daily and work for the remaining produce.
Though we are not under the law, but grace, we get a glimpse of the heart of God through His laws. We would do well individually and societally if rather than leaning on our own intuition, we leaned upon the principles of our Father in Heaven who is full of advice over every imaginable situation. We as a society fail when we lift up strategies not supported by God's Word.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: