5 'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' (Exodus 19:5-6)
22 'When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest ; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.' " (Leviticus 23:22 NASB)
12 "Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the LORD'S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good ? 14 "Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. 15 "Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 "So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. 17 "For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. 18 "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. 19 "So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. 20 "You shall fear the LORD your God ; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. 21 "He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen. 22 "Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven. (Deuteronomy 10:12-21 NASB)
"At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. 29 "The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (Deuteronomy 14:28-29 NASB)
15 "You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. 16 "He shall live with you in your midst, in the place which he shall choose in one of your towns where it pleases him; you shall not mistreat him. (Deuteronomy 23:15-16 NASB)
10 "When you make your neighbor a loan of any sort, you shall not enter his house to take his pledge. 11 "You shall remain outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you. 12 "If he is a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge. 13 "When the sun goes down you shall surely return the pledge to him, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you; and it will be righteousness for you before the LORD your God. 14 "You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns. 15 "You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you. 16 "Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers ; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin. 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. (Deuteronomy 24:10-22 NASB)
Yesterday we talked about how God met the people of Israel on Mount Sinai. There he told Moses his plans for Israel, what it was that he wanted. He said that he would make them a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.
What do you think that means?
Do you know what it is that priests do?
Priests are the people that go between everyone else, and the God they worship. In the time of Moses people worshiped all sorts of gods in many different kinds of temples. Most of these gods were represented by statues made of metal or wood and the priests would tell the people what the gods wanted from them, and help the people to ask for favors from the gods.
What God wanted for Israel is that all of them would know him, would know how to tell people what he was like and what he wanted, and be able to go to God on the behalf of others. If the whole nation was full of priests, and holy to God, who would they show God to, if everyone in Israel already knew Him? Any guesses?
If you guessed the rest of the world, you got it right. God wants Israel to display what He is like to the rest of the world.
As Moses talks to God on the mountain God starts to tell him about how he wants the Israelites to behave, in order to be the kind of people that show the world what God is like.
God cares about justice, about the poor, and the needy, and the oppressed, the woman who is all alone, the children who have no food, the stranger in a strange land. God cares about how those people are treated. He tells the Israelites to make sure they have food, that they are treated fairly, that they are helped. Because that's what God is like, he cares about the people in need.