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Victims and Injustice

27 Oct
from Google Images

from Google Images

Everything about us matters to God. When he set Israel apart from other nations, he showed he was intensely interested in their lives—how they behaved toward one another and even how they treated their enemies.[1] In fact, God’s interest in such things becomes even more evident in the diet he commanded for his people. The very food they ate in their daily meals was to remind them of how they should behave toward others. In previous blog-posts I examined the injustice of predatory behavior. Overly aggressive, violent activity and holiness simply do not mix.

Yet, unacceptable behavior as witnessed in the animal kingdom doesn’t end with the predatory animals like the lion and wolf on land, the owl and hawk in the air or the shark in the sea. Scripture also speaks of victimtype animals that are unclean to eat, such as rabbits, voles and other rodents, chameleons and snails etc. All these have their parallels in the vulnerability of some groups of people as they seek to live out their lives.

Consider the powerless laborer. It is only in recent times that he has gained power in uniting, and oh the cost in terms of bloodshed to get that power! Through the centuries he had to accept whatever the wealthy was willing to pay. Scripture tells us that the laborer is worthy of his hire (Luke 10:7), but the greed for more and more within the ranks of the powerful had held the laborer down, so that he had little more than the poorest of the poor, though he filled the storehouses of the rich with goods enough for all. The victimization of our fellow man is an abomination in the eyes of God, but past centuries stand as testimony of how the rich and powerful have sustained their own status off the backs of the powerless?

Consider the widow and the orphan, certainly not abominable themselves, but the social behavior that for centuries had reduced them to their defenseless state is abominable in the eyes of the Lord (Exodus 22:22-24). Under the Mosaic Law one was to provide for them and protect them (Deuteronomy 24:17-21; Isaiah 1:17, 23). Yet, how often have they been taken advantage of through the ages by people using their services for much less than what it was worth, knowing such defenseless groups couldn’t object too loudly without losing their living? Victimizing the powerless is unjust and an abomination to the Lord.

There isn’t much difference between predatory behavior and conduct that victimizes the innocent. The former violently takes the lives of the blameless, while the latter passively lives off and strengthens one’s own status by reducing their brethren to a helpless state, taking away both their power to object and their dignity.

Such things were not to be permitted among God’s people. God even had every meal his people ate reflect the lifestyle he wished them to display before one another and before their enemies. In the New Testament Paul uses the law concerning an ox to show that God intended those who preached the word of God to live off the word of God, that is, those who benefit from their services were to provide for the needs of their spiritual leaders (1Corinthians 9:9-10). This Scripture also implies that whatever God said concerning animals was said for the benefit of mankind, not the beasts themselves. In other words all these things (including what was clean and unclean – cf. 2Corinthians 6:17) have spiritual overtones that we need to consider, as it pertains to our walk with the Lord.

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about “making sense of the Old Testament God” is based upon the book: Is God a Moral Monster by Paul Copan. These are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Paul wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read concerning defending our faith.

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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in apologetics

 

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