Deuteronomy 24:14 “Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns.”
Some of the Old Testament laws sound really bizarre, and we scratch our heads about why they’re there. Others seem unduly harsh. If the Old Testament laws were still in force, there would not be many children left in Westford…it seems like they were sentenced to death for the slightest infraction! But then there are other laws that seem as current as the nightly news, and this one from Deuteronomy 24 is a prime example.
reform has been all across the headlines in these last weeks. People are entering the
I don’t pretend to have the answers for what specific legislation ought to be passed. That’s not my strength. But there are Biblical principles that can guide Christians who wrestle with the questions. The first of those principles is in this law from Deuteronomy. When the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” arrive here—legally or otherwise—we are not to exploit them for cheap labor. If we are going to be freed from the issues surrounding illegal immigration, we have got to be willing to let go of our greed. Corporate greed that wants to be freed from paying a living wage or benefits must be stopped, and we consumers must be willing to pay a bit more for our goods and services so that businesses truly struggling can treat workers fairly and stay afloat.
Daily Walk program starts reading in the prophets in a few months, you’ll see
that they yell about the lack of justice for the poor a lot. At the root of that is often the reminder for
seems obvious that we should not be faulting the hungry for going to a place
that promises bread. I often wonder what
would happen if the citizen militias who have taken it on themselves to patrol
our southern border put as much effort into boosting the economy of Mexican
border towns. Suppose we worked to make
Probably there are a thousand reasons why that won’t work…just like there are thousands of reasons why “love your enemy” is not a practical philosophy. But I think that, practical or not, the principle of not exploiting the poor, even the “alien living in one of your towns,” is still the standard we are called to live by, and our Christian duty to care for the poor doesn’t stop at the Mexican border. Certainly we need secure borders to defend against terrorism and to keep out smugglers, gangs, and others seeking our harm. But I think there must be a better way to deal with those we have expressly invited…the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Both Moses and Jesus call us to a higher standard.
God of the alien living in our towns and the citizens of our land, help us all to find our way to justice. Amen.
SpiritWalkers is available in audio as a podcast. Visit www.annerobertson.com/poddevotions.html to subscribe or to listen online.