Deuteronomy - Lesson 26
Alien in Your Midst
Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.
Alien in Your Midst
Alien in Your Midst
I. Introductory Texts
II. Core Texts
A. Depriving the poor of justice
B. Depriving the poor of food
C. Ethical principle of imatatio dei
D. Exceptions for resident aliens
E. Invite resident aliens into the dramas of redemption and covenant
F. Consequences of not maintaining justice for the resident alien
G. Participation in the covenant renewal
III. Concluding Reflections
B. Implications for modern discussions
The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)
God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.
Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.
The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.
With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.
God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.
The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.
When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.
The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.
God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.
Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.
How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.
When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.
The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.
Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.
“What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.
Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.
As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.
The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.
This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.
In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.
A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.
Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.
Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.
Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.
The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.
Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.
Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.
Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)
This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.
The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.
This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.
At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.
This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.
The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)
The Gospel according to Moses
To many people the law stands in opposition to the gospel. While it may be possible to read Paul's epistles this way, the book of Deuteronomy will not allow this reading. Like the book of Romans in the New Testament, Deuteronomy provides the most systemat
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Dr. Daniel Block
Alien in Your Midst
[00:00:00] The alien in your midst. I debated whether or not we should deal with this topic. I mean, we have a couple of that we need to cut out, and this is the one that I debated. But it struck me that we are facing the contemporary issue, that contemporary circumstances force us to deal with these issues, to see how all Scripture is our scripture. And what might Deuteronomy have to say to instruct us on the contemporary problem in our land. And it's not only in our land, it's all over the world as Christians have to deal with the other the alien in their midst. So let's look at the alien in your midst. Covenant Ethics with hearts. We begin with a couple of inter introductory texts. We don't need to read far into the addresses of Deuteronomy before we are confronted by the remarkably compassionate and fundamentally humanitarian ethic that characterizes Moses worldview. And that's what he's doing in Deuteronomy. He is not providing a law for every circumstance. He's providing a picture of covenant life, covenant righteousness, godliness in such a way that you can apply it to any circumstance in life. We don't need legislation on every topic. But if you know that you should love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your resources and your neighbor as yourself, that'll cover a lot of circumstances, and it'll cover this one too, even though their situation is different from ours. But it's a world view we're after. In the first part of his first address, Moses recalls, While they're still at Sinai, he recalls Israel's preparation for resuming the journey to the promised land after 15 months at Horeb prior to the departure. He appoints a cadre of leaders of the tribe.
[00:02:16] Some of the people had recommended to assist him with the administration of this horse. You are such a heavy burden. I can't carry you anymore. And at that time, he had laid on them the formal charge to administer justice righteously and without partial partiality. Here's his address. I charged your judges at that time and he remembered his speech. He pulled it out of the files near the cases of your fellow Israelites and judge them righteously. Chaddock. There's that word whether the case involves all the Israelites or aliens. In their households be impartial in the administration of justice. Hear the cases of insignificant people just as you do the cases of important people. I mean, right off the bat, they haven't even left China. They are a long ways from the promised land yet. But there were aliens who came out of Egypt with them non Israelites. What are we going to do with them? And I'm sure all along the way they were and counting. And then he says, Do not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment belongs to God. Ultimately, we are accountable to him. And any case that's too difficult for you to bring to me, I will hear it. And at that time, I charged you with full responsibility for all everything you were to do. Now, whether Moses had in mind administrative justice on the journey to the Promised Land, or once they were settled in the land, it's remarkable that in this opening sentence, he includes aliens. I suppose the Israelites. The Israelites are a vast extended family. It's a kinship group. But hey, there are people who are with us. How do we handle them? By contrast. Resident Alien Aguiar. Here's a definition. He is an outsider who voluntarily joins this group.
[00:04:36] Usually temporarily, something like a gust are by or a guest worker outside from outside, presumably for economic reasons. There's not work at home. So we come to your place and see if we can work for you. Elsewhere in the book, Moses tends to group aliens together with other economically and socially marginalized groups. These are the vulnerable. It's very important for us to become ingrown and. And and. And to not only. Mistreat the others, but ignore them. And he identifies widows, the fatherless, who are vulnerable, who because they do not have a male figure at the head of the household to protect and care for the family members. Remarkably, in this quintessential national context, the whole book of Deuteronomy is all about what does it mean to be an Israelite? And even as he thinks about that, he's got his eyes open to the aliens. What does it mean to be an Israelite in relation to aliens, and what are they to think about Israelites after having had contact with us? He opens their eyes to them chronologically. The next reference to the alien in the book to date happened actually even earlier than that one, because it's embedded in the Decalogue. The commandment on the Sabbath from Yahweh, his own mouth at Horeb guard the Sabbath day by sanctifying it as Yahweh, Your God has commanded you six days. You shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath belongs to your way, your God on it. You shall not do any work. You or your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your ox or your donkey, or any of your animals or the alien within your gates. Notice they are distinguished from slaves. Slaves are property. You own them.
[00:06:55] They are legally a part of the household. The alien isn't. He's free to come and go as he pleases so that your male and female servant may rest and then notice the motivation. Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. But Yahweh, your God, brought you out of there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. Therefore, he commanded you to observe the Sabbath, and we should add and to see to it that everybody else in your household has a Sabbath to. That's your charge. Well, addressed to the head of the household. This command calls not only for guarding the Sabbath day, but also for guarding the needs of and right to rest of all the working members of the household, including children, servants, draft animals and resident aliens. This quintessential covenant document calls for an ethic of covenant commitment to the well-being of anybody who touches our lives. Or whose lives we touch. The reference to Gates. They didn't have Gates as they moved from Horeb to the Promised Land. They were that they were camping. They don't have walls and fences around this place. But this is obviously anticipating life in a settled land. Well, the command ends with their Yahoo! Your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath. God had elevated the command high above mere ontological duty. Don't do it just because God tells you to. He makes it an act of compassion. Heart sensitivity by reminding the Israelites what it was like to be a slave yourself in a hostile environment without access to the rights and privileges of the host community. Israelites are not to treat aliens in their midst as they had been treated. They are not to become little pharaohs. But they are to treat them as they wish desperately they had been treated.
[00:09:25] That's the case. The core texts in Deuteronomy. Those are anticipatory texts. Now let's go to the cortex. The word getter. Alien resident alien occurs 22 times. If the concentration of occurrences is the standard by which we establish which texts are the most important, then 2414 to 21 is core. Almost one fourth of these occurrences are in this little text 2414 to 21. This passage is the second of two sets of instructions on pursuing covenant righteousness in social and economic relationships. The first section is, Well, these are found in 20 462 2516 Part one comes in 2315 to 25. In this, in chapter 24, we have the discussion of a whole bunch of topics pursuing covenant righteousness and social and economic relationships. One depriving a person of access to food. This is very interesting. If we we need to go there. Chapter 24, verse six. Let your fingers do the walking. No one shall take a hand mill or an upper millstone in pledge. For he would be taking a life in pledge. What in the world is that? No. By hand mail. He doesn't mean these big turning wheels. You would. You couldn't carry off somebody your gristmill. He means the the little hand grinders that people have with with with a dish and and then a stone on top that you grind your flour. Don't take the top stone of this combination, because without the top stone, the bottom one is useless. You might as well take both. And if you take the top one, you've deprived that person of food. He can't make flour or she can't make flour out of the grain or safeguarding justice in the administration of of justice. This is 25 1 to 3. Safeguarding righteousness in the treatment of animals.
[00:12:08] 25. Verse four You shall not muzzle the ox while it is treading your grain, maintaining righteousness in the face of shameful male behavior. 25 5 to 10 shameful female behavior. 2511 to 12, 13 to 16. Safeguarding righteousness in business transactions. And here we're talking about keeping your scales fine tuned so that they don't cheat a righteous, you know. But let's look at verses 17 to 18. They'd be depriving the poor of justice. You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow's garment and pledge. But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and yet after your God redeemed you from there for this reason, I commend you to do this. Again, notice the motivation. It's like the Decalogue command. You were slaves in Egypt versus 1922, depriving the poor of food. Back to that. When you reap the harvest in your field and you forget a sheaf in the field, don't go back to get it. Leave it there. An alien will come by and say, Aha, here's some grain already cut for me, it's already tied into a bundle. The alien, the foreign resident, the fatherless and the widow so that God, your wake made your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you knock down the fruit from your olive tree, you must not go over the branches again. What remains will be for the foreign resident, the fatherless and the widow. And then the grapes. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you must not glean what is left. What remains will be for the foreign resident, the fatherless and the widow. And then again, remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt.
[00:14:18] For this reason I am commending you to do this. Remember what it was like when you didn't have enough food. Be generous in leaving stuff for others to come and pick up. And of course, here Boaz is a prime model, isn't it? I love Boaz, not because he quotes Scripture, not because he has any pious prayers or whatnot, but because of of the author tells you he is living according to the Torah, whatever, but because he just lives according to the Torah. In the Book of Ruth, you've got all sorts of Torah customs implicated. There's the Leverett marriage. There is the institution of redemption. There is what to do? Well, actually, in chapter three, when Naomi tells Ruth to go out to the field and spend the night where the men spend the night. Scarcely a proper thing to do. But it works out. And Boaz wakes up and at midnight and you discover this woman is lying next to him. And he says, Who are you? And she says, I am your handmaiden. Oh, yeah, you're Ruth. The more bite in figures, that's what more bites do. And any righteous male will shoot her off immediately because I have nothing to do with people like you. This we know from wholesale and elsewhere that at harvest time women, prostitutes would go out to the fields to offer their services because the men were sleeping out there to guard the results of their work from four legged marauders or two legged marauders, and the women would offer their services. But here's Boaz as the operative. What does he do? Who are you? And instead of cursing her, instead of damning her, he blesses her and he says, The whole town knows what a noble woman you are.
[00:16:35] This is from Proverbs chapter 31. No one else in the Bible is ever called a noble woman. Only Ruth. She's an alien. She is an alien. And and asked for when she comes. And she tells her mother in law in the morning, I would like to go and glean in the field of someone who might be gracious. She knows this is Israel in the period of the judges. The way men treat women in the Book of Judges is awful. I have an essay out on that somewhere. Crimes Unspeakable The Abuse of Women in the Book of Judges. We're in the period of the judges. And she knows that she is putting her life on the line if she goes to glean in the field. Not only is she a widow all by herself, she has nobody to defend her. But she's a more bite. An Israelites don't like more bites. In the Book of Ruth, the more bite motif is very, very strong. But the interesting thing is to boerewors, that doesn't matter at all. When he meets her out in the field, he says, Who's who, who's made? And is that? Of course, he assumes she's attached to some man somewhere. And the field the field supervisor says, well, she's the woman who came from Moab with Naomi. And what does Boaz do? He says, Hey, welcome to the field. Green wherever you want, when you're thirsty, go to the water jug that we've provided for all the workers. Help yourself and be right at home. And then when they sit down to eat, he says, Come eat with us. And he says, Here, have some bread and here's some sauce in which to dip his bread. And it's the most amazing story. And in the context of this, he establishes what is, in my mind, the earliest recorded anti-sexual harassment policy in history.
[00:18:57] And he tells his guys, don't you touch or don't you abuser. He's got three or four different expressions. He looks out for this moa bite woman who is absolutely vulnerable and helpless. Well, And what happens in chapter three? No, no. In chapter two, about verse 12, Ruth is absolutely amazed at his kindness. Why in the world she falls down before him? Why have you been so kind to me? She cannot believe it. And he says, May you be blessed by your way. The God of Israel under whose wings you have sought refuge. Really? Where are the wings of God in this picture? He is the wings of God. You've come to my field. And so he offers absolute protection and security and freedom. And he says, stay in my fields. Don't go to another person. They might molest you. I mean, it's Israel in the dark days of the job. Just stay here. You're safe here. And I'll tell my women to watch out for you. It's an amazing story. He didn't have to do this. But Boaz is Boaz is true to Torah. He's a guy guided by Torah, driven by the spirit. He got the point. And then when he redeems, redeems Ruth and the property, nothing in the laws of Deuteronomy or Leviticus fits the circumstance. He's not obligated to marry Ruth the as we would if we would get that far in chapter 25 where you've got the law of the Leverett marriage, if two brothers live together, that's on that compound. He had the picture of the compound there. One of them is married and his wife dies. They have no children. Then what happens? The other brother marries the wife and the first child of that marriage becomes legally the son of the deceased to carry on the name of the family.
[00:21:35] That doesn't apply to this situation at all. But here's a guy who says, I don't need a law to regulate every every circumstance. Just do the right thing. And of course, he's got this picture of covenant righteousness in his mind. And what would Jesus do? He He views himself as the wings of God to this alien. It's a brilliant Deuteronomy image that we have here. I love that story. Well, we also have in chapter ten versus 16 to 19, we have the ethical principle of image. Tarcisio de E We talked about this the other day. Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don't be stiff necked any longer for Yahoo! Your God is the God of Gods, Lord of Lords, a great, mighty awesome God who shows no partiality, accepts no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless, the widow, and demonstrates love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. Well, it's good for God to do that. But I'm not in this picture. This is about Gods charity. Except. He adds, You must also demonstrate love for the resident alien, since that's what you were in the land of Egypt. So there are two reasons for doing this. One, you know what it feels like to be on the other side of this equation. And two, this is how God treats them. So you are his images. This is walking according to the way of God, walking like God walks. Showing care and compassion. You may. There are some other exceptions where resident aliens get exceptional treatment. You do for them what you wouldn't do for your own people. Chapter 1016. You may not eat any meat of any animal that has died. But this is not chapter ten. This is chapter 14 that has died or actual accidentally.
[00:23:46] You may give it to the resident alien within your gaze. She may eat it. You may sell it to a foreigner. You are a holy. People belong to the Lord your God. So, I mean, don't throw it in the trash. Use it as a gift of kindness to somebody who needs it. And so it is. I am not allowed to eat it. That doesn't mean it is absolutely in principle, absolutely taboo. It's not defiled. It's unclean ceremony, but it's not defiled. Eating non-kosher food is obviously not a moral issue, but a cultural as defined by Yahweh. Act 15 says it remains binding for Christians. But in this context, I mean, if an alien who you're presumably not a yam with the worshiper of Yahweh, if they want to eat it, feel free. There's there are notes of special charity for the marginalized. Don't forget the Levite within your gates, since he has no portion or inheritance among you. At the end of every three years, bring a 10th of all your produce of that year and stored within your gates. This is don't take it down to Jerusalem, the central sanctuary storage in your town warehouse. Deliberately. Then the leave side who has no portion or inheritance among you the resident alien, the fatherless, the widow within you. They can come and she can be satisfied. And Yahoo! Your God will bless you in all the work that your hands do. There's a correlation between people, the openness of people's hands and the blessing of people's hands. Open your hands to the poor, the marginal, and God will bless you. But of course, this is not be charitable to the poor in order that God will bless you. That's not the point. I know some preachers.
[00:25:51] He's deceased now, but in his book he writes, Seek you first the kingdom of God that all these things may be added unto you. That's fertility religion. This is not compassion to the poor. We give that we may get. No, it's the other way around. God is not obligated to bless people who are not charitable to the poor. That's the way we need to interpret this one. And of course, in the process, we remember that that's where we once were. Chapter 16 Inviting Resident Aliens Into the Drama of Redemption. We talked about this earlier in a preview. And this morning in another session, the the Festival of Shadows of weeks count, seven weeks counting the weeks from the time of the cycle is first put to the standing grain. You are invited to observe the festival of Weeks to York, where your God with a free will offering that you give in proportion to our year, where your God is blessed, you celebrate before you with your God in the place He chooses to have his name dwell you, your son, your your daughter, your male and female. Same the Levite within your gates, as well as the resident alien, the fatherless and the widow among you. So those who are legally part of your household but don't neglect those who are not part of your household. And of course, back to the story about the widow's oil yesterday. That widow and her two sons. Nobody in Israel was obligated to care for them because they were part of their household. No, they were left all by themselves. Nobody was looking out for them. And so they could be legalisms as to whether or not they're not under my roof. I have no obligation. But the roof is bigger than your house.
[00:27:51] It's the community. And here you have it. And again, remember your slaves in Egypt. Well, then in verse 13, you're invited to the Pilgrimage Festival of Booze for seven days. When you've gathered in everything from the threshing floor and the wine for celebrating you, your son, your male female slave, the Levite, the resident alien, the fatherless, the widow within your gates for seven days. Observe the pilgrims pay their hotel bills the whole seven days. Because are where your God will bless you and all your produce and in all the work of your hands and you will have abundant joy again. God is not obligated to bless those who will not bless others. I think this is why in the Lord's Prayer. Jesus makes our forgiving others the standard of gods for giving us. Forgive us our trespasses. As we have forgiven those who trespass against us. God is not obligated to forgive us if we refuse to give up, forgive others. And so here you have it again. Now in chapter 26, where he presents an offering at the central sanctuary, and he is confessing God's grace in history and God's grace in the harvest. He has brought us to this place, giving us this land, the land flowing with the milk and honey. I have now brought the first of the lands produce that you yourself have given me. You must then place the container before Yahweh, your God, prostrate before him, You, the Levite, the resident alien among you, may celebrate together in the good that Yahweh had. Your God has lavished on you and your household. And when you have finished presenting the whole 10th of your produce in the third year, the year of the 10th, then you are to give it to the Levite, the resident, the alien, the fatherless and the widows, so they may eat in your towns and be satisfied, and you shall say in the presence of Yahweh, your God, I have taken the consecrated portion out of my house.
[00:30:00] I have also given it to the. I have given it to the resident alien to the fatherless and the widow. According to all your commands, I have not violated or forgotten your commands. We'll come back to this tax tomorrow when we look at chapter 26. It's a very interesting passage, prescribing a private worship moment in the central sanctuary where the Declaration of the Creed. Is a very important part of the of the of the ritual. But here in these verses, he says. He prescribes. When you are presenting this to the Lord your God, you say, Before I brought it here, past tense, I've taken the consecrated portion ornament. I've reserved it. I've set it aside for the Levite, the alien and the fatherless. And what I bring now is there's not a part of that. It's extra. But I am reminding myself that I've done my ethical duty before I do my liturgical duty. If our life isn't a life of worship, the cultic stuff we do in church means nothing to God, nothing positive. It could mean something to God. It's actually negative if it is not that way. Well, in 27, in a few places, we have the consequences of not maintaining justice for the alien. What happens if we don't remember those those 12 curses? At the end of the ritual, when they cross the Jordan at Mount Gerizim and Evil 12 Curses verse 19 Cursed is anyone who perverts the justice do the alien, the fatherless and the widow, and all the people say Amen. They sign on. That is really heavy. They are saying, in effect, May I be damned? If I don't do this, that's what they're signing on to. Or the next chapter. Now, if you will not faithfully listen to the voice of Yahweh, your God, and are not careful to put into practice all those commands that I charge you today, then all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.
[00:32:31] You will father sons and daughters, but they will not remain yours because they will be taken prisoner. Warring insects will take possession of all your trees and your lands produce. This is from chapter 28. The resident alien among you will rise higher and higher above you while you sink lower and lower. You see the correlation? If you don't live according to the revealed will of God in the Torah, assuming that the resident alien is sociologically beneath you. If you persist in not living in obedience to God, this whole thing tips over and the resident alien takes your place. That's a part of the curse. And so he will lend to you, but you won't lend to him. He will be the head and you will be the tail. All these curses will come, pursue and overtake you. And here the curses are presented like a wild animal. That's after you. Again, the picture is the opposite of the we talk about this the other day. I forget where I've talked about whatever, Psalm 23. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies? Surely goodness and mercy will hound me all the days of my life. The verb there is not follow its pursue me. Goodness. Tovah has said. God sends after us the hounds of heaven. Goodness and mercy. Know what happens here? These curses will. God will send after you. His curses. Disaster. Upsetting everything. Chaos. All these curses will come and overtake you and devour you. Since you didn't obey our whole, you got to keep the commands. So there you've got the aliens. How about chapter 29? That was 28. Or this? These are the final procedures of the covenant ceremony. All of you are standing today before you apply your God, your leaders, tribes, elders, officials, all the men of Israel, children, wives, resident aliens in your camps who cut wood and draw your water.
[00:34:45] What? What are they doing here? They have been invited to participate in the covenant renewal ceremonies, which means technically. Not just morally, technically, they have signed on. And you know that when they're standing beside you affirming this, you are becoming brothers and sisters to them and they are accepting them as your brothers and sisters. This is an amazing image. It caught me so surprised by such surprise. Originally when it dawned on me that this is not a narrow and ethnocentric. Enterprise. The world is in view. I've set you high above the nations for praise, honor and glory so that the world will say, You know, I wish I was a resident alien living in Israel. Wouldn't that be cool? Because that is paradise. See how they love one another. Yes. Well. But notice even at the end so that you may enter into the covenant, he may establish you today as his people, and he may be your God as you promised and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Really. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were literally the fathers of everybody here. And of course, this opens up the door to Paul's discussion of what does it mean to be the seed of Abraham in Romans chapter four. I mean, it's amazing. Built into the Torah is the integration of outsiders who are not physical seed of Abraham, but they choose to be spiritual seed of Abraham. Caleb is one of these guys. I mean, I'm amazed that Caleb and the son of Jeff, who neither can recite. That's it on my tribe. They're not even Israelites. And yet he is so integrated into the life of this community that he represents Judah as as the scout. And he is described as a person full after God, Yahweh ful after me.
[00:37:13] And he has a different spirit. This is a new covenant believer in old covenant times. It's an amazing story. Well. 31. Then Moses wrote this Torah and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the Ark of the Covenant and all the elders. And he commanded them at the end of every seven year at the set time of the year of release at the Feast of Boost, when all Israel comes to appear before Yahweh, your God at the place He will choose. You shall read the Torah before all in their hearing assembled. The people, men, women, little ones, resident alien within your towns that they may all learn to hear, hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this Torah and that their children who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God. As long as you live in the land you're going over to Jordan to possess. Again, the aliens are involved in this. In the hearing of the Torah, they are integrated into the covenant community. There's no reference here to circumcision. They are voluntarily. Join the people. Well, here's the Deuteronomy. Formula for Life read that. They may hear that. They may learn that. They may fear that they may obey. That they may live. Who? Aliens. This is the mission. This is the mission. This is a centripetal approach to missions as opposed to the New Testament centrifugal goal you into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. We're not going into all the world. All the worlds coming here. This is what this is the vision that the world may say, Wow, what a privilege this nation is.
[00:39:11] What which nation has a god so near and which nation has a Torah so righteous? Well, some concluding reflections regarding motivation for compassionate treatment of aliens. A couple of things to notice. One, the defiant, a logical ethic. We are kind to aliens because God tells us to be. Yeah, but that gets that gets reduced very quickly to a legalistic kind of thing. There's far more to it. Second, we are kind to aliens because God is kind to elsewhere. Or he will say, Be holy as I am holy here. He says, Love the alien as I love alien. This is Emeritus CEO Daly. We are walk in the ways of God, which means where you walk as God walks. Third, a covenantal ethic Jesus summary statement you shall demonstrate love for for the Lord your God with all your inner being, with all your body and with all your resources and your neighbor as yourself. And of course, presumably it is with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength for toward the neighbor, too. It's not begrudging charity. Love is what drives us. Not just as a passion and saying, I love you. Those words are empty if they're not demonstrated. Covenantal ethic memory as motivation. Remember where you come from? Most of us come from. Outside this country. Our roots are my roots are in Russia. My father lived through the horrific Stalin purges and all the rest of it. The last image his father, anybody in his family has of my grandfather was in in a hospital in is sort of on the Volga River. The last image anybody has of him, he is cut up all in pieces. Horrific. That's the last we know, 1932. My dad came in 1926 to Canada.
[00:41:29] Terrible stories he lived through and and they didn't all get out. My father's family didn't all get out. Most of them got sentence schlepped off to the gulag and whatever's horrific. My dad did not like to talk about Russia. No. That's what we escaped. And we come to this continent. We remember what it was like. Don't treat the people coming in the way you were treated back there. You escaped here to get out of that. Kindness. Well, regarding motivation. Yeah. Implications for modern discussion. So now the question is, so what? What about all them? You know, people coming in over the southern border? What are we going to do with this? Well, there are a couple of things. Comments. One. A Christian response to aliens should differ from standard political responses. We cannot become the talking heads for the political parties. We serve a different. King. Our citizenship is elsewhere. Our fundamental disposition is. God's heart. Has to be. Has to be. I'm not saying that's easy. And it's a very complicated world in which we live, but we live in a world of paranoia. Where. Or on the one hand, the aliens become the cause of paranoia, or they become pawns for political advancement. We can't go there. A second point. The arrival of aliens should remind us of our past and an awaken in us the determination not to treat them as we were treated in the countries from which we came. For me on my father's side, it's within a generation. On my mother's side, it's one generation longer. They escaped something to come here and they fight. And. We ought to be those kinds of hosts. Third. The plight of aliens offers us a chance to display the transforming power of the gospel.
[00:43:50] So to come across the border and the first time in their lives they encountered the love of Christ embodied. Then his people. For every alien is an image of God. Even the criminal alien. And our response needs to respect that. Five. Speaking of criminal elements, this may be one of the differences between biblical instructions on the treatment of aliens and what we've got going on now. We are all aware that the circumstances under which most of us came here were quite different than they are now. We came legally. We moved across the border in 1983 and it was quite a process to get my green card so that I could start teaching my class at Bethel Seminary on a particular day. And it came two days on the Friday. I was supposed to start teaching on Monday. It came on a Friday. So Friday, quickly we loaded up the truck in Winnipeg and drove down with a U-Haul. And then while my wife unpacked, I was teaching. That was a process. But we came as green cards. But. Thankfully, people welcomed us. We found a home and we've been here now since 1983. We were very grateful for that, but we came legally. This is a this is a huge difference now. A community must be driven by principle and by laws, and it cannot be chaos. And so. I think that's where the differences lie. The war. They could not have imagined this world. They didn't have strict boundaries, territorial boundaries like this, but they knew where the boundaries were and they were quite porous. But the people moving around were like Bedouins. They're not criminals. They're just trying to stay alive. It's subsurface subsistence existence, and they're not overtly violating anybody's laws. But what you have happening here is in Israel, they should feel welcome.
[00:46:17] Make it work for them. That's very difficult. When what? What we've got going on here. It's difficult to make this one work. And so it all of these principles apply, but they complicate what's going on in this country. And I don't know what the answers are, but I know what we need to be. We need to be. I mean, we've got lots of these people working in the retirement community where we are. And I tell you, they're the ones working with us are the most pleasant people you've ever seen. And I think they're shocked to find us and find us to be pleasant. Because the world is so hostile. But I'm glad I'm not a politician. I don't know how I would solve the problem. I would. We have to be a country of laws driven by the principles on which it was founded. That is. That is certainly true. And you have to you have to do all you can to prevent chaos. The country is an extended household, and it is up to the administrators of the household to be sure that everybody who lives here is safe. Uh, it's extremely complicated. But I think this is where we need to have lots of conversations among each other. How do we treat these people among us? How do we invite them to the gospel? How do we live with what we have when it's less than ideal? And make the Lord's best of it. The roofs that show up at the doorstep. I mean, Boaz is amazing. Everybody else in Israel is a jerk at this time. And you've got this this oasis of righteousness in the household of Boaz. It's an amazing story. Would that we would be like that anyhow. That's probably as far as we can take this.
[00:48:24] I am not a politician, nor a political scientist, nor sociologist. I just play with the text and I pray to God that it would help me be what I need to be. And that I would be humble in pontificating on how others need to be. Because at the moment this is how I see it that doesn't make it normative. And my way is always open to correction. So we need to be humble before the scriptures.