The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice. Ezekiel 22:29
Listen: Ezekiel 22
After giving Israel the Ten Commandments, God gives them rules for how they’re to treat the disadvantaged among them. “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner…do not take advantage of the widow or fatherless” (Exodus 22:21-22). God shows his heart of compassion for the less fortunate when he tells Israel what would happen if they ignored these commands. “My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with sword…” (Exodus 22:24). Despite God’s severe warning, Israel failed and fell captive to the Babylonians.
God judges because he cares. When God sees a world filled with oppression and mistreatment of the disadvantaged, his righteous anger is fueled in judgment against the oppressors. He is a God of justice as well as a God of compassion. How we care for the disadvantaged and exploited is of supreme importance to our heavenly Father. Because it’s important to him—it must be important to us. God desires to see what he’s done for us replicated in how we treat the disadvantaged.
Received mercy from God? Show mercy to refugees. Provide food for hungry people. Help people learn to read. Build housing for the homeless. As Pastor Jeff Manion says, “It’s the Grace Effect—mercy in, mercy out. Grace in, grace out.”
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
In your journal, write the question, “How’s my heart of compassion?” Seriously contemplate the condition of your heart regarding the disadvantaged and less fortunate. Is it cold and indifferent? Or is it warm and open? Write your answer and give examples. Use your answer as a point of discussion around the dinner table this evening or with a trusted friend today.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.