Synopsis Deuteronomy 23:5-17 3/7/2018
Moses commanded that people from Moab and Midian should not be accepted into the Lord’s assembly to the 10th generation. Alternatively people from Edom could join the assembly of the Lord in the 3rd generation.
He also gave commands concerning camp cleanliness during expeditions. Interestingly, he commanded that escaped slaves who fled to Israel should not be returned to their masters.
No human person was born to be a slave. So it comes as little surprise, even in the midst of a world steeped in the tradition of enslavement, that all of Israel would be a sanctuary and refuge for escaped slaves.
Moses reminded the people that they were themselves, escaped slaves. It was fitting that he commanded that these people should be welcomed as refugees. They were granted the right to settle anywhere in Israel as resident aliens.
God’s Chosen People
God’s chosen people were themselves escaped slaves. Their slavery wasn’t essential to their nature but it was a part of their experience – both individually and communally. They were slaves individually. But they were also a community of slaves – an entire race enslaved.
God chose the Israelites and called them out of slavery. He called them to be a separate, chosen people. They were called out of slavery to be a nation of kings and priests to mediate between the God of Creation and the people of the world. He called them to freedom in order to serve Him.
Calling all slaves wherever you may be – The call of Christ is for anyone who can hear it.
Though enslavement is not an essential quality of any human person, we have all known slavery. We have all sinned.
I am not called because of my own goodness or righteousness. I am not attractive because of my personal history nor because of the decisions I’ve made. And there is nothing I could do to undo the marks of my slavery.
Yet, for those who are called, each is called in this way – out of slavery. And from this, we are called into the freedom to serve the one, true God of all Creation.
“For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” Gal 5:1