Scripture: Leviticus 19: 9 & 10
“9When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap to the very edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You must not strip your vineyard bare or gather its fallen grapes. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident: I am Yahweh your God.” (Holeman Christian Standard Bible)
Leviticus is the third book of our Bible, the third book of the Pentatuch, and the third of the five books of the Torah. The Hebrew name of the book is Vaikra and can be translated “He [God] called.”
We know this book as a book of God’s Law but as Christians we cannot afford to say it belongs to the Hebrews and has no force over us. Jesus told us himself that he came not to abolish the law or the prophets but to fulfill them. For us, Leviticus is less about a bunch of rules that can put us to sleep if read in order to say that we’ve read the Bible from cover to cover – it is more of an invitation to us to live in harmony with God’s purpose for mankind. We are told how to live with each other because he called.
I read several translations, perhaps looking for a loophole. I found none.
It is God’s wish, His Will, for us to make provision for the foreign resident and the poor. We are not farmers in La Crescenta so how do we do this? It was fortuitous that during our recently completed rummage sale we had the opportunity to put aside part of our haul of items for sale to donate to a refugee family, new foreign residents. What if we don’t have an opportunity drop in our lap like this? Then we designate some of our crop, our wages, and we prepare “Welcome Kits” as we are doing as a church, or we search for other ways to support organizations that support dispossessed peoples. We must be intentional in living out God’s will for us and taking care of those be brings to us.
It goes deeper than the act of leaving something behind for the poor and people who have been completely dispossessed. We are seeing strangers who are hungry and feeding them, thirsty and giving them drink, in need of clothes and clothing them and we are doing these things for Jesus. (Matt. 25: 31-46) We are fulfilling one of the two great commandments Jesus left us by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
He called us in the book of instructions, Leviticus, to find Jesus in the stranger and do him a kindness.
In His grip, jerry
PS – The various translations I visited refer to the poor and then a list of interpretations as follows: foreigner (several), foreign resident (Holeman Christian Standard Bible), sojourner (English Standard Version), the stranger (New American Standard Bible), and the resident alien (International Standard Version).