Leader Reminder: A devotional should take less than 10 minutes and drive home one main point. Be sure to practice before you lead a devotional. To create your own biblical devotional, click HERE for help. If this is a discussion-oriented devotional, correct answers appear in <these brackets>. ©2011 Rev. Douglas W. Merkey
DEUTERONOMY 24:17 "You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow's garment in pledge. 18 "But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing. 19 "When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 "When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. 21 "When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. 22 "You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.
Main Point: Because God has rescued us in the gospel, we must live as rescuers.
1. Where do we see God reminding His people of their identity as those He’s rescued?
<In vv. 18 and 20 He reminds them of their slavery in Egypt and His rescuing them from that horror. For more on this, read Exodus 1-15.>
2. Where do we see God’s people told to live as rescuers?
<In vv. 17, and 19-21 God commands His people to rescue others in peril.>
3. Who are those God’s commanded Israel to rescue? Who are they in modern context?
<Those Israel were to rescue are mentioned 4 times in vv. 17, 19, 20, and 21 as the alien, orphan and widow. The latter 2 are easy enough to understand, but the “alien” means anyone sojourning with Israel who was not an ethnic Israelite; someone who looked different and was easy to ostracize and take advantage of.>
<Today, the alien would be anyone coming to our church who doesn’t look or act Christian. It could include those who’ve had an abortion or who have led promiscuous lives and who feel unforgiven or unwelcomed in our church community. The orphan are literal orphans, both born and unborn, who have been abandoned or imperiled by their parents. The widows are literal widows, but could also include women abandoned by men when they become pregnant.>
4. How, specifically, are God’s people to rescue the alien, orphan, and widow?
<By providing the basic necessities for human survival: v. 17a – justice, v. 17b clothing and shelter (a “widow’s garment was more than clothes, it was also for physical protection and housing,” and vv. 19-21 – food (notice the necessities here of grain (v. 19), olives (v. 20), and grapes (v. 21). The imperiled today (see answer to #3, above, need these same basic things: justice, clothing, shelter, and food.”
5. How does God link His peoples’ being-rescued with their living as rescuers?
<The word “therefore” in vv. 18 and 22 pivots Israel’s/our rescuing activity on the basis of their/our already being-rescued. God intends our rescuing activity to be a natural outflow or result of His spectacular rescue of us. Furthermore, He uses the word “remember” in vv. 18 and 22 to instruct us to live in constant awareness of our being-rescued. It may help to understand that the New Testament equates our rescue from sin and condemnation with Israel’s rescue from bondage in Egypt.>
6. How does this dynamic to our personal lives? To our Team?
<As individuals, we must stir up real, daily awareness of our being-rescued and let the joy that results flow through us as rescuers.?>
<As a Team, it’s good for us to explicitly remind ourselves of the gospel and this dynamic at every meeting and bring it to the forefront in our initiatives. This will guard us from motivating people by guilt! Instead, our mantra should be, “We’re glad to seek those in peril because we were in peril and Christ recued us! This initiative helps us live that out as rescued rescuers! Take care to explicitly root your invitations and initiatives in the gospel and help people see the link God highlights in this text; that is, that we rescue others because we, ourselves, have already been rescued by Him.>