God’s heart for the outcast, broken-hearted, and unloved shines in today’s reading. He shows care for slave women, unloved wives with firstborn sons, wives falsely accused by their husbands, brothers with lost items, women who were raped, runaway slaves, poor servants, strangers, fatherless, widows, and so forth. These people might not be seen by society, but God sees them, loves them, protects them, and will take vengeance on anyone mistreating them.
The Lord calls His people to protect the outcast and to remember that they too were once outcasts who were saved by grace. Therefore, His people should extend the same grace the Lord showed them to others:
- “You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow’s garment as a pledge. But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this thing.”
- “When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this thing.”
The Lord also gives instructions regarding levirate marriages, which means if a married man dies without a child, his widow would marry the brother-in-law, and the first son born from the brother-in-law would be considered an heir of the widow’s deceased husband. With the story of Judah, we saw that Judah did not obey the levirate law with his widowed daughter-in-law Tamar (Genesis 38). However, later in the story we will meet a descendant of Judah’s, Boaz, who will abide by the levirate law with a young lady named Ruth, who comes to glean from his field. We will learn more about Boaz and Ruth when we reach the Judges Era.
Today’s reading ends with Moses reminding the Israelites of how the Amalekites attacked them when they came out of Egypt – “Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.” Later, in the Kingdom Era, we will see the downfall of a king due to his disobedience with the Lord’s orders against the Amalekites. And during the Return Era, we will meet a descendant of the Amalekites, Haman, who is set on destroying God’s people, which illustrates that there are always long lasting consequences to disobeying the Lord.
Tomorrow Moses gives the Israelites instructions for a corporate ceremony they will perform when they cross the Jordan into the promised land. Keep reading. (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19)