Daily Devotional, December 22nd
In the Philippines, the door is always open at mealtime. Even if you're a stranger, a Filipino will insist that you stay and eat your fill. If he does not have enough, your host will give you his portion. Relationships are valued above one's own comfort and well-being.
When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He emphasized hospitality and generosity to strangers. "[God] shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing," Moses told the people. "So you, too, must show love to foreigners" (Deuteronomy 10:18-19).
There's a deeper lesson here. The Israelites were given a system, the Ten Commandments and its accompanying rules, to guide their lives. But outward adherence to rules counts for nothing. So Moses cut to . . . well, the heart of the matter. "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you?" (Deuteronomy 10:12). His conclusion? "Change your hearts and stop being stubborn" (v.16). The Hebrew actually says, "Circumcise the foreskin of your hearts." That earthy phrase ties directly to the New Testament. In Ephesians 2, Paul told the new Gentile believers: "You were called â€˜uncircumcised heathens' by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts" (v.11). The Ten Commandments are powerless to change the human heart. Only God can do that.
The Gentiles then, and we today, were once spiritual foreigners, dead in our sin, separated from God (Ephesians 2:5). Paul reminded them, "Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to Him through the blood of Christ" (v.13). The result: "He united Jews and Gentiles into one people" (v.14). In Christ, there are no foreigners. , Tim Gustafson, Our Daily Journey
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