Journey of Justice Part #4

Posted: April 25, 2012 in Pastor Posts
Deuteronomy 27:14-26

14 And the Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel in a loud voice:

15  “‘Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the Lord, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

16  “‘Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

17  “‘Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

18  “‘Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

19  “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

20  “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s nakedness.’[a] And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

21  “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with any kind of animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

22  “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

23  “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

24  “‘Cursed be anyone who strikes down his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

25  “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

26  “‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Deuteronomy 27 and Justice:

We, to our detriment, have ranked sin according to our sensibilities and cultural understandings. As such, we need to consider how our sensibilities and cultural understandings match up with God’s standard. We must work hard to find out what God thinks about sin rather than accept what our culture says about sin. Some of the “gray area” issues in our culture are found in scripture to be very black and white. When these apparent “gray areas” are compared to other sins that they are contextually linked with, the results are often shocking. In Deut. 27:14-26 we have a list of some fairly intense sins. God commands that His people not: worship idols, cheat their neighbors, commit extreme sexual perversion, murder, accept money to perform contract killings, and more.

Within this list however, is verse 19, “Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” We know that it is evil to “sleep” with your mother-in-law, to murder, and to worship idols. Yet, according to this passage, the sin of those who act unjustly towards those who need justice the most is just as evil. The list of the needy given here is common throughout the Old Testament: the alien, the orphan and the widow, often including the poor. Some have called this list the “quartet of the vulnerable.” Justice for the downtrodden is of the utmost importance to our Heavenly Father.

Written by Pastor Dave Bertolini

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