Thursday, May 18, 2017

An Old Testament Reflection of Jesus' 2nd Command

Study Starter: An Old Testament Reflection of Jesus' 2nd Command
by: Christopher Wiles
    Jesus blew minds away when He simplified and summed up the commands with  "Love the Lord your God," (Mt 22:37) and "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mt 22:39)  He furthered the declaration which silenced Pharisees and Sadducees by adding, "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."  (Mt 22:40)  These brazen commandments were really nothing new, but rather a simplification of the ten commandments as they were twice shared by Moses to all the children of Israel. (Ex 20:1-17 & Deut 5:7-21)  The challenge for us today is to determine what this simplification looks like in our lives.  In this two part work, we'll first look at the 2nd Command (love your neighbor) and how that was reflected in daily life of the people whom originally were told not to covet, lie, steal, cheat, murder, or dishonor others.

     Deuteronomy is a second telling of the law, which came a dismal forty years after the Israelites suffered through their unfaithfulness and fear by traipsing through the wilderness.  Israel is poised to accept God's gift of the promised land this time, but Moses puts them on pause to stand on a mountainside and share again the Decalogue (10 commandments, Deut 5:7-21) and what it should look like as we live it out (Deut 6-26).   My recent study in Deut 24 gives me insight into the 2nd part of the 10 commandments.  It tells us what daily living would look like if people followed "love your neighbor as yourself." Check out some of the words in these excerpts from the "sundry laws."
  • The former husband isn't allowed to take her again to be his wife… (24:4)
  • When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army… (24:5)
  • No one shall take a pledge, for he would be taking a life… (24:6)
  • If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countryman… then that thief shall die... (24:7)
  • When you make your neighbor a loan… you shall not enter his house to take his pledge… (24:10)
  • You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor or needy… (24:14)
  • Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons… (24:16)
  • Nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers… (24:16)
  • You shall not pervert the just due a sojourner… (24:17,19,21)
  • You shall not pervert the just due a … orphan… (24:17,19,21)
  • You shall not pervert the just due a … widow … (24:17,19,21)
     Loving your neighbor as yourself in just this one chapter includes: honoring your wife, being merciful to the family, showing grace to a debtor, giving justice to your countryman, treating fairly the poor, being accountable for only your own mistakes, blessing the visitor to your land, taking care of the orphans, and providing for the widows This lists of laws in your Old Testament study might seem a little tedious, till we realize they are still the basis of how Jesus expects us to treat people today
     Now, take inventory of your own actions in the past week.  How have you loved your neighbor?  Enjoy reading through more of the sundry laws in Deuteronomy 6-26 as they teach us all how to love our neighbors just as the Lord desires.

Living Lessons & Study Starters are articles written for the weekly Washington Church of Christ bulletin.  You can find more by clicking HERE or searching for "Study Starter" in the right sidebar search.