Monday, March 8

Do good to all

Scripture: Numbers 15-16, Psalm 29, Matthew 8

Numbers 15:14–16 For the generations to come, whenever a foreigner or anyone else living among you presents a food offering as an aroma pleasing to the Lord, they must do exactly as you do. 15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the foreigner shall be the same before the Lord: 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.’ ”

Observation

This idea is repeated several times in the Mosaic Law: “The community is to have the same rules for you and for the foreigner residing among you…You and the foreigner shall be same before the Lord.”

God called Israel to be His people and intended them to be a blessing to the whole world (see Genesis 12:1-3).  God’s call was not to be exclusive, but extended and inclusive.  This is clearly seen in these verses where God made provision for outsiders to join Israel’s worship as equals, full partners in worship—“the same before the Lord.”

OT history reflects how often Israel forgot this.  She was to be a light to the nations, a blessing to the world, God’s representative to bring His goodness to all.  

Application

As Christians, we represent God before a watching world.  We are to be inclusive and bring the blessing and goodness of God to all.  We are to bring the good news and be the good news.  We work for human flourishing wherever we are and whomever we are with, knowing this is the will of God.  

Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Let us do good to all people—insiders and outsiders alike—knowing that we carry the promised blessing of Abraham through Jesus to the whole world.  

I love what Pope Francis is doing in Iraq right now—appealing for tolerance, grace, and forgiveness from all sides, so that they can live together in peace and everyone can flourish, Christians and Muslims alike.  Is he negating the uniqueness of Jesus?  No—he knows that Jesus is the way.  But he is representing Jesus well by treating everyone “the same before the Lord”, doing “good to all people” so that everyone can flourish.  We are more likely to win people to Jesus than by including everyone in God’s goodness than by harsh exclusivity.  

I see in these verses in Numbers a hint of the gospel, the good news that Jesus is for everyone—what Paul would later call “the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 3:2-6).  

Prayer: Thank you Lord for Your great grace that wants the best for all of us.  Help me to be the good news today whomever I’m with, and to do good for all.