Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Exodus 23: Justice and Kindness

Good evening, dear friends. This evening I'd like to share with you a very important lesson that the Lord has taught me from this chapter. It's something that I have already known from other readings of my Bible but it never hurts to be reminded of our duties before God and others.

Verse 5. "If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him".
This is pretty much the story of the good Samaritan; I'll just explain it to you with a more up-to-date illustration since we don't travel on donkeys anymore!
  • The first thing to notice here is that, sadly, people will hate us, or at least, not like us very much. They hated the Lord Jesus Christ so why wouldn't they hate us when we are nowhere as lovely, gentle or pure as Him? The Jews hated the Samaritan people. You can get the background to this here
  • God reminds His people in verse 5 that if they see the donkey of someone who doesn't like them lying on the ground after falling from the weight of his heavy burden, the natural reaction is to 'forbear to help him'. To forbear means to withhold or stop oneself from doing something. The illustration I came up with is this - imagine that someone, in your work or somewhere else that you go, has a problem with you, maybe you don't even know why they feel like this, and they go out of their way to make life awkward for you. Then, one night you're on your way home from work, it's getting dark and starting to pour with chilly rain. Suddenly, as you're driving along, you see this person standing beside their broken down car in tears. So what do you do? 'Forbear' to help them? Drive on past with a smug smile on your face thinking, 'it serves them right'? Remember in the story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) when the Jew was injured and left to die, it was his own people, both religious men, who walked past on the other side of the road unwilling to put themselves out to help. But along came the Samaritan man, hated by the Jews, and he was the one who helped and cared for this injured enemy of his. He could easily have thought to himself, 'why would I help him? His countrymen have done nothing for me or my people, so he can just lie there.'
  • God tells us the right thing to do is to help, no matter what our own feelings may be. This is what the Lord Jesus would do. In the story of Zacchaeus, the people despised him because they saw him as a thief and a traitor and would do nothing to enable him to see the Saviour. But Christ Himself made sure Zacchaeus saw Him and even met with Him. There is no evidence from the Scriptures that the injured Jew knew the man who had helped him or whether he even met him ever again, but the Lord knew all about him and his story is recorded forever in the Word of God for us to learn from. It is also very possible that the Jew might have been disgusted when he learned that it was a 'Samaritan' who had helped him, and knowing this might be the case, the Samaritan quietly did his good deed and slipped back into obscurity again. People don't always have to know when we do a good deed for them. We can just do it and expect no thanks. But we will certainly be blessed by the Lord for our actions.
Matthew Henry says about this passage: "It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others. But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ's image is renewed in his soul".

Prayer matters: Ask the Lord for a soft and tender heart, especially towards people who you know despise you and ask Him to help you overcome your own feelings and be willing and able to do them some good. Sometimes even praying for them can be a big deal for us, but this is the Lord's desire for us so let's ask Him to help us to be obedient.

Hugs Karen x

No comments:

Post a Comment