I was a Stranger Challenge Days 11 and 12: Deuteronomy 24:14-15

As guilty as I felt in my last post about falling so dreadfully behind on the 40 Day Challenge, I suppose there’s not reason my 40 days have to be all in a row!  I’m going to press on!  Surely I can finish before the end of summer!  Here we have it – days 11 and 12. Be thankful I didn’t put all 15 days of catch up on here in 1 post – that was my original plan!

I was a Stranger Challenge Day 11: Deuteronomy 24:14-15

14 “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. 15 You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin.

I was a Stranger Challenge Day 12: Deuteronomy 24:17-18

17 “You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge, 18 but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.

The themes repeat time and time again.  It’s not accident.  Perhaps we need to hear it over and over and over again.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to be told something many, many times before I really get it.  After all, hearing it time and time again will hopefully keep these truths and commands in the forefront of our minds, lest we forget in the busyness of the day to day and neglect to act in a way honoring to the Lord.

Playing Tourist!

Days upon days have passed and I’m failing miserably at posting the 40 Day Challenge.  But I have a good excuse!  We’ve been traveling and had out of town guests.  And I also think I’ve learned my lesson – 40 days straight of blogging is far too ambitious for me!

So what have we been so busy with that we’ve been unable to keep up with the blog?
First, we went to Phoenix for the high school graduation of some very good friends.  Dylan and Delaney were 6 months old when they moved in next door to us in Indiana.  I was 11….which now means I’m getting old!
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Then we drove back to Pasadena with my parents to spend a week together.  We went whale watching at Newport Beach, we saw Saturn from the Griffith Observatory and of course the Hollywood sign (surprisingly my first time seeing it!).  We also went to a Dodgers game (I don’t know much about baseball but that 0-7 loss makes me think the Cubs have a better chance at the World Series this year!) and visited some of our favorite local restaurants.  It’s so fun to have visitors – in addition to seeing people you love, it’s nice to finally fit some sightseeing in and play tourist!
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That took us up to Memorial Day Weekend – after taking my parents to the airport we explored Chinatown.  I’m pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s only a 15-20 minute train ride from where we live!  Oh the memories that come back wandering through the streets of Chinatown…  And the smells…

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Then after the Sunday Community Meal we drove over to Palm Springs for a couple of days of relaxation and sunshine in the desert!  It was great to get some extra sleep, read and work on our tans.  Ok, I worked on my tan…Than…well…I’m letting him believe he looks darker! 😉

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I was a Stranger Challenge Days 10 and 11

Day 10: Deuteronomy 10:18-19

18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Sometimes one of the most concrete ways we can love people is by providing for basic needs like food and shelter.  Is it a regular part of my life to give the basics to those in need? Is it more than something I do once or twice a year?

Day 11: Deuteronomy 24:14-15

14 “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. 15 You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin.

At this point you’re probably starting to see a theme.  I feel like we are writing the same things over and over!  But when God repeats something I think that’s a good indicator that we need to listen up and take action!

thats my spot I married a sleep talker.  Normally it’s not disruptive – just a little bit humorous.  However last night, things were taken to an entirely new level. It was 2:14 am when I was awakened from my sleep to the sounds of yelling.  Alarmed, I pinched myself to see if it was real life or if I was dreaming.  I felt the pinch so I decided to stand up.  You know, just to double check.

Oh yes, the yelling was coming from my sound-asleep husband.  I listened a little more carefully only to discover him repeating (VERY loudly) the following phrase:

“No, Ru. That’s my spot. No, Ru. That’s my spot.”

Umm…hello Sheldon Cooper!!  Clearly we’ve been watching too much Big Bang Theory before bed!

I rolled him over which made the yelling stop (yay!) and got up for a drink of water.  I returned to bed only to realize that he decided to claim my pillow as “his spot” as well!  Haha – oh the joys of being married to a sleep talker…or sleep yeller!

Sadly the next morning (after convincing Than that this really did happen!) he couldn’t recall what he was dreaming about.  Lesson learned – no more Big Bang Theory before bed!

“I was a Stranger” Days 8 & 9 – Numbers 15:14-16, Deuteronomy 1:16-17

Numbers 15:14-16

14 And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do. 15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. 16 One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.”

Deuteronomy 1:16-17

16 And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. 17 You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’’

One of the things that stood out to us in this passage is that there is ONE LAW, regardless of foreigner or citizen. And I think about Jesus, as the “new law”, as the judge, that he has died for us and forgiven us our many sins and thus we too should be merciful. For those situations which are difficult, we must always remember to take to God in prayer and allow him to judge those situations which are beyond us.

 

Catching Up – “I Was a Stranger” Days 5-7

Day 5: Leviticus 19:9-10

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

Day 6: Leviticus 19:33-34

33 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Day 7: Leviticus 23:22

22 “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”

I wonder what the equivalent is for gleaning in Los Angeles in 2013.  I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of “extra” in my life.  Our pantry is full, things fall out of the freezer every time I open it, and I’m always short on hangers when I’m putting the laundry away.  Yes, my life is certainly full of excess.  There seems to be call in these verses to give away our excess…or perhaps event to ensure that there is excess to give away to those in need.

Opportunities surround me on a daily basis to provide for those in need – to share out of my abundance.  Food drives, dropping off clothes at the thrift store, donating baby supplies to the crisis pregnancy center, donating professional clothes I never wear now that I work at home to Dress for Success to help women who are looking for jobs look the part…  The list goes on and on. What am I waiting for?  There’s a bag of clothes sitting in our bedroom to be donated and an empty bag to be filled with food to donate to our community. As one called to love others, I have no excuse for not giving out of the abundance God has provided for me.

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.” -Victor Hugo

“I Was a Stranger” Day 4: Exodus 23:12

12 “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.

It happens around us all the time. Strangers in our land are worked to death. Laws are not followed. Wages are not fair. Hours are not reasonable. Benefits are nonexistent.  If you’re an employer there are some direct questions to ask. Do you provide all employees with an opportunity to rest?  Are your employees treated equally no matter where they’re from?  How about for those of us involved indirectly?  Are we supporting places that are treating “strangers” unjustly?

It’s also important to mention that the point of rest is not solely economic.  It’s religious. God wants us to rest from work so we can worship Him TOGETHER. Not segmented into our different ethnic backgrounds at different locations across the city.  Together – as brothers and sisters worshiping the same Father.

Mother Teresa’s Humility List

Something to ponder…

mother teresa

1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid curiosity.
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
8. Give in to the will of others.
9. Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
15. Choose always the more difficult task.

 

“I Was a Stranger” Challenge: Day 3 – Exodus 23:9

9 “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

It’s impossible to know the heart of someone else, thought certainly we could speculate what might be happening in their hearts.  To be a stranger in the land perhaps leaves one feeling vulnerable.  Uncertain. Fearful. Lonely. Weary.  Perhaps you can relate to some of these feelings.  Perhaps there’s something we can do…

One thing that is clear. Throughout Scripture we see many glimpses of God’s heart for the defenseless – whether that be the poor, widows, children, and the alien.  The stranger.  When you look at the providential care God shows the defenseless, there’s no question in my mind that He expects us to care for the defenseless.  As Christians, God uses us as His hands and His feet, so surely it aligns with His heart when we reach out and care for the poor, the windows, the children, and the aliens.

“I was a Stranger” Day 2: Exodus 22:21

21 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it easy to breeze past portions of Scripture that talk about oppression.   When I think of oppression I think of dictators – horribly mean people and surely I don’t fall into the category of being an oppressor!  However as people freed from the oppression of sin, we have a responsibility.  God has freed us from oppression and if we are to reflect the Good News of Christ’s death, do we not have a responsibility to free others from oppression in whatever form that might take?  If I don’t take action against those who are oppressed, am I not at fault? Is helping those who are oppressed a regular part of your life? What does that look like? Oppression takes many different forms and surrounds us on a daily basis – may we wake up each morning grateful for the freedom we have found in Christ and asking God how He might use us that day to help those who are oppressed.

Additionally, we are all sojourners in this world.  This world is not our home. This is temporary.  In the second part of this verse, Egpyt could be viewed as a metaphor for the world – it doesn’t belong to us and we don’t belong here ultimately. However we have been given the blessing and opportunity to live in this place.  It’s not about what I own. It’s not about me.  How can I be a good steward of where I live for God?  What does being a good steward look like in light of the oppression that happens in our community, our country and our world?