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Most Vulnerable and Least Protected

Daily Reading: Exodus 21

Scripture Focus: When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out... If there is harm, then you shall pay life for life. (Exodus 21.22-23)

Devotional Thought: Protection and justice loom large in the chapters of Exodus following the Ten Commandments. Throughout these chapters of Exodus, we find an over-arching concern for the most vulnerable and least protected classes of society.

Some of the rules sound strange to us because we read them through the lens of 21st Century America. For instance we read the admonitions about slavery and wonder why the Bible seemingly justifies the practice. Through the eyes of an ancient slave, however, the protection afforded was significant. (Remember, too, that the term 'slave' connotes a wide variety of indentured servitude and employment contracts as well as what we would typically think of as a slave.)

We need to look for the principles as they are expressed within the framework of a nomadic 15th Century BC culture. It is exciting and enlightening to read these chapters asking the question, "What underlies this practice?"

One such principle is that the life of an unborn child is equally valuable as that of another person. The unborn needed to be singled out for protection because they were the most vulnerable. They had no voice in government, no powers of coercion, no means of protecting themselves. But in Exodus 21, God spoke out for them! A person who caused the death of a child in utero, was liable to the death penalty just as if they had murdered someone on the street. You shall pay life for life.

Are we protecting the most vulnerable in our midst?

Prayer: Father, open my eyes that I can see and open my mind that I can understand the principles underlying the rules found in Exodus. And help me to be a voice of protection for the most vulnerable of our society. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. 17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me! (Psalms 66:16-20)

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