Meditation for 08/21/2019
“Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. However, if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee to a place I will designate. But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death.” (Exodus 21:12–14)
Accidental killing differs from murder and must be dealt with through different processes of the legal system. Justice demands a system of punishment for criminals. Such punishment must not be more cruel than the crime. The legal system must protect all people living under its jurisdiction.
Jesus taught that retaliation must not become a law dominating our lives so that we seek reasons to punish other persons. Rather, we must seek to show God’s love to all people. The law of revenge sets guidelines for public justice, not demands for private relationships. It leads society to bring the least harm to the most innocent of society. Murder is so serious a rime the Bible sets up the death penalty as the proper legal response. Having worked in the death house in Texas, I can tell you that I have seen many friends and family members who came to watch a criminal die, seeking some “closure” only to leave with a bewildering look on their faces, for what they sought was not what they wanted. An eye for an eye is only a empty term, for something that gives you anything but what one thinks they want.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, we have been taught to love others, as we have been loved. When a friend or family member is murdered, our humanness seeks some form of revenge; yet, we never truly find that in the death of another. Help us to look upon those who murder with love in our hearts, minds, and our words and let love and forgiveness reign in place of hatred and revenge towards those who take a life senselessly. Let Your love and forgiveness touch the hearts and minds of those who commit this crime and let them come to a change in their lives and find You in their life. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Cross has become the ladder to Heaven.”
“Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, ‘This is what God says: Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken he Lord, he has forsake you.’ But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of he Lord’s temple. King Joash did not remember he kindness Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as the lay dying, ‘May the Lord see this and call you to account.’” (2nd Chronicles24:20-22)
Their is a story in Judges 8, whereby Gideon is pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, two Midianite kings. Gideon had 300 men, pursuing 15,000 Midian soldiers and God placed them into Gideon’s hands. Along the way, he asked men of Succoth and Peniel to give his army bread to eat to refresh them and was turned down by both. He told them when God had given Zebah and Zalmunna into his hands, he would return in victory, he would tear the flesh from the men of Succoth and then to tear down their tower. He would use desert thorns and briers on them and make them wish they had been more accommodating. The world we live in is a cause and effect, but rarely do we bother with the why things happen as they do. Caution should be applied whee the initiative comes fro any acts of killing. In Gideon’s case, the biblical emphasis is on punishment of murderers rather than justifying his attitude of vengeance. Vengeance by itself is no better than murder itself.
Christian Ethics, Murder: (1st John3:11-15)
For the disciple murder is an attitude. It arises from guilt and envy and goes on to hatred. Harboring hatred is murder even if no physical act is committed. We avoid murderous hatred through letting Christ’s love live in us. Crystal Clear??
Second Thought of the Day:
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to the brother, ‘Raca’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of he fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
The physical act of taking a life is a grievous thing. Rather than limiting the fulfillment of the moral law to outward conformity, Jesus located the root of murder at the attitude level.
Such a perspective should lead the contemporary Christian to give special attention to those attitudes which may cause actions hurtful to others, whether physically, emotionally, or socially. Such discipline of character takes seriously the sanctity and quality of the life.