Bible Readings and Devotion for May 6, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for May 6, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Over the years news reports have told of people robbing the victims of vehicle accidents. One report I saw was of a wrecker driver who worked for the police department in a state. He was called upon to take a damaged car from the highway. The woman who owned the car was sent to the hospital, and then died several days later. Her personal items were still in the car when he arrived. At some point he went through the items and stole her credit card. He used this to pay for various items including his car insurance and the delivery of a pizza. The pizza purchase is how the police found him.
In our reading from Ezekiel 26 today there is a proclamation of condemnation against the city of Tyre. This is a coastal city on the edges of the Holy Land. Here is part of that condemnation: “Mortal, because Tyre said concerning Jerusalem, “Aha, broken is the gateway of the peoples; it has swung open to me; I shall be replenished, now that it is wasted,””
The people of the city are condemned by the Lord because they took advantage of the distress of the people of Jerusalem. When the gates of the city were destroyed by the Babylonians, the people of Tyre took the opportunity to plunder the possessions of the remaining residents of Jerusalem. In a sense, they stole from a weak and injured person.
This sort of behavior is condemned by the Lord in our reading. It is contrary to God’s will and way of love to take advantage of the distress of others. It is never right to steal from another person. It is doubly wrong to take advantage of a weakened person in their distress.
Taking advantage of the distress of others is a problem in this time of the COVID19 pandemic. People have hoarded supplies, and then attempted to sell them to desperate people for 2X, 3X or even much higher prices.
We may not be in a situation of stealing from an injured motorist or even price gouging during a crisis. No matter what, we have the calling to do at least two things. One, is to avoid taking advantage of the distress of our neighbor. The other is to help our neighbor keep one’s things. Here is more about that second calling in Luther’s Small Catechism.
The Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal.
What is this?
We are to fear and love God, so that we neither take our neighbors’ money or property nor acquire them by using shoddy merchandise or crooked deals, but instead help them to improve and protect their property and income.
In all this talk about right and wrong, remember to return to the loving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus Christ came into this world to forgive us and to save us from the eternal destruction which we have wrought upon ourselves and this world. By God’s grace and the Holy Spirit, may we be drawn away from taking advantage of the distress of others, and be drawn to a closer relationship with our loving God.
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son. Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred that infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and, through our struggle and confusion, work to accomplish your purposes on earth; so that, in your good time, every people and nation may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen