May 11, 2020

Not Taking Advantage

Devotion for the Week...

I'm usually the first one up in the mornings on weekdays. Now that we're off, Nathan is often up before me, but he heads down to the family room to play on the Playstation as soon as he's up. That means I usually have breakfast by myself. A little over a year ago, I decided to start reading my Bible while I have breakfast, rather than scrolling mindlessly on my phone. I read the whole New Testament, and now I'm working my way through the Old. Some parts of the Old Testament are just hard to read, though. I'm thinking Leviticus and Numbers, especially. I'm currently almost finished Leviticus, which means I still have Numbers to look forward to, lol.

If you've never read Leviticus, the book records many (many!) laws and regulations that God gave His people, the Isrealites. One such regulation was The Year of Jubilee, which was to happen every 50 years and included canceling all debts and the return of family property to the original owners. Selling any family property required setting a price that took into account the number of years remaining until the next Year of Jubilee, when the land would be returned to the family. "The more years until the next jubilee, the higher the price; the fewer years, the lower the price. After all, the person selling the land is actually selling you a certain number of harvests" (Leviticus 25:16). Obviously, there would still have been a lot of leeway to set the price based on the desirability of the land in question, but the number of years remaining would also affect the price.

It was the next verse that really got my attention, though. "Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other" (v. 17). It made me think of companies today that take advantage of their employees by paying them the lowest wage possible, even when the company is making big money every year, or by offering mostly part-time positions, which don't require giving employees benefits. It seems that our culture is entrenched in the idea of getting as much as you can without considering what that will do to the people around you. That is definitely not the way God would have us do business, though.

I was also intrigued by the thought that not taking advantage of others wasn't just presented as being the right thing to do, but also as a measure of your fear of God. Taking advantage of others, then, would indicate the absence of fear of God. Remember, too, that the phrase 'fear of God' does not mean being afraid of God, but feeling an appropriate respect for Him.

Of course, this doesn't only apply to buying and selling things, and it wasn't only relevant in the Old Testament times. The New Testament includes this verse: "Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too" (Philippians 2:4). Taking an interest in others seems like it would have to start with a desire to not take advantage of anyone.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too |
Background quilt is Hollow Jewels
I don't know about you, but I'm not selling family property and I don't have any employees. Even so, there are plenty of interactions with other people where we could choose to take advantage of someone, either in big or small ways. Choosing not to do so is just one way we can demonstrate our fear of God.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good reminder that God's ways are not the same as the World's.
    I read the Bible in chronological order last year. It was an interesting way to piece the events together. I found I didn't really give myself enough time to reflect on each passage I read - I was feeling pressured to keep up with the reading plan. This year I'm taking my Bible readings at a much more relaxed pace!


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