I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Leviticus 19:9-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
9 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.
11 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12 And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.
13 You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14 You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer[a] among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood[b] of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
This is one of the two passages Jesus quotes as the summary of “all the law and the prophets”: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The other passage is from the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
That pretty well sums it up, but there is more detail here that we need to ponder. It seems that God does get involved in the details and cares deeply about how we treat one another:
- Don’t take all the profits, but make sure that even the poorest have enough. (19:9-10)
- Don’t steal.
- Don’t deal falsely.
- Don’t lie. (19:11)
- Don’t swear falsely by God’s name. (19:12)
- Don’t defraud your neighbor.
- Pay people for the work they do in a timely manner. (19:13)
- Make provisions for those with special needs.
- Have reverence for God. (19:14)
- Don’t render and unjust judgment—being partial to the poor or deferring to the great—but judge with justice. (19:15)
- Don’t slander another person.
- Don’t profit in any way that harms another person. (19:16)
- Don’t hate.
- Stand up for what is right. (19:17)
- Don’t take revenge.
- Don’t bear a grudge. (19:18)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus, in this life and his teachings, fulfills the law. He takes the laws about how we are to treat one another and not only lives them out but challenges us to do the same. Jesus envisioned the fullness of the kingdom of God in which God’s will is done “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Read that list again and think about how much better our world would be if everyone followed these provisions of the law in the Hebrew Scriptures and how Jesus summed it up” Love your neighbor as yourself.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster