When the laws of the United States were drawn up, Jewish law was used as a guideline. That’s why at one time, there were “usury laws,” limiting the amount of interest which could be charged. (You can see that God views it as immoral to charge too much interest).
In fact, among countrymen, no interest was to be charged at all. (Deuteronomy 23:19) No one made a living just by charging interest on money.
Furthermore, it’s clear that the poor were to be treated with dignity. If you took collateral for a loan, the poor man was to be given it back before nightfall. And if you hired a poor man to work for you, you were to pay him at the end of the day.(24:10-15)
Then there were the fields. We’ve already discussed this, but the fields were not to be harvested to completion. Neither were the Olive trees, nor the grape vines. All of these were to be kept for the poor to glean their food after the harvest. Provision without handouts.(24:19-21)
Then there is this. Each person should feel free to eat some of the fruit or grain from their neighbor’s field, as long as they didn’t harvest it for further use. Such hospitality!
Can you see a pattern? Kindness and generosity were being taught to these Jews. They were to look out for the welfare of each other and consider others’ needs as well as their own. They were being taught to love their brother.
Honesty and integrity were also important principles. There were not to be two different weights in the bag.(25:13). In those days, the farm products were sold by weight, and sometimes deceitful people would play tricks in the bargain. They would have two differing weights that were marked the same. When they were selling, they would use the light weight, which would make the customer think they were getting more than they were. Yet when they were buying, they would use the heavy weight, so that they were getting a bigger portion. Not so, says God.
No tricks for God’s people. Just honesty and integrity. One weight for all purposes, making the transactions just and fair.
Isn’t it comforting to know that our God, the One in whom we trust our lives, is toally just and fair to all of us.
It’s worth noting that just after the woman with the alabaster box of costly perfume had poured it out on Jesus, Judas went to the chief priests to plot against his Lord. Greed will do a number on a person. Judas carried the money bag for Jesus, and used to steal from it. I believe that he was the one who was so offended at the “waste” of the costly perfume.
He just didn’t get it. This woman was pouring the perfume over Jesus, when they could sell it and give the money to the poor. She was worshiping Jesus extravagantly. Judas didn’t have a heart for that. He was just thinking about the money.
John 12:6 says that Judas objected, not because he cared about the poor, but because he wanted the money in the bag so he could steal it.
Over the years, I have encountered people who didn’t like worship and prayer. Sometimes new believers don’t know yet how to worship and pray, but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about people who have been Christians for a while, but who get annoyed when worship or prayer lasts too long or gets too intense.
Usually those people were also stingy with their money. They didn’t want to give too much to the poor, or the church, or to missions. Just a little.
I want to be an extravagant worshiper. I want to stay in my Father’s presence long enough to hear what He is saying to me. And I want to be generous to give to His causes.