Quartet of the Vulnerable

By Sean Finnegan

Deuteronomy 10:17-19   God is just, and He wanted Israel to be just as well. Injustices become possible when dealing with vulnerable people. God claims justice for the fatherless, the widow, and the sojourner.

Deuteronomy 15:1-11   Here we encounter the fourth member of the quartet of the vulnerable—the poor. God designed a debt-forgiveness program as part of the rhythm of Israel’s calendar. Every seven years, they were to cancel all debts. Even when it came close to the year of release, God still wanted His people to care for the poor instead of hardening their hearts against them.

Deuteronomy 24:14-15   Oppressive workplace practices may bolster profit or make it easier for managers, but ancient Israelite workers were protected. God didn’t want powerful employers to mistreat their workers.

Deuteronomy 24:16   Justice means the people who commit crimes pays for them, not their parents or children.

Deuteronomy 24:17-22   God motivates justice in Israel by reminding them of the injustice they experienced when the Egyptians enslaved them. Thus, by remembering they were slaves in Egypt, they can have compassion on the vulnerable sojourners, fatherless, widows, and poor. In addition to leaving the edges of their fields unharvested, Israelites also paid a tax to take care of the poor (Deut 14:28-29).

Deuteronomy 27:18-19   Those with disabilities are vulnerable in any society. In ancient Israel, God made the people call a curse down on anyone who took advantage of the vulnerable.

Deuteronomy 15:12-18; 23:15-16; 24:7   Slavery was a mainstay in the ancient Near East. Civilizations made laws to regulate slavery. Israel’s laws stand out as remarkably generous to slaves, even protecting runaway slaves from extradition.

When we consider all that God put in Deuteronomy to protect the vulnerable, we must ask ourselves, “What’s my attitude to disadvantaged people today?” Do you harden your heart or have compassion?

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LHIM Weekly Bible Teachings
Quartet of the Vulnerable
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