Some portions of this chapter read like cultural norms of the time, while others make me scratch my head. Have you ever read a warning label that made you question why on earth someone has to be told not to do that? But you know that the warning wouldn’t be there unless someone, at some time, tried to do something so crazy.
The primary take-away from this chapter for our lives is God’s priority on honesty and integrity in our business. Whether you own a business, or work for someone else, God’s Word instructs that we are to use the same measures and prices. As followers of God, our lives should be characterized by being above reproach. Just as the Israelites were to be a testimony of God’s blessings to the nations around them, believers in Christ are called to draw others to the gospel by their witness.
I’m reminded of a line from the movie, “The Book of Eli.” If you haven’t seen it, I’ll offer the warning that it is a post-apocalyptic, rated R, depiction of a world that has almost lost the Word of God completely. Near the end of the movie, Eli (played by Denzel Washington), is forced to give up the precious Bible he has been protecting for nearly thirty years to the villain in order to save the life of Solara. When they’ve escaped the enemy, she says, “I didn't think you'd ever give up the book, I thought it was too important to you.”
Eli replies, “It was. I was carrying and reading it everyday, got so caught up in protecting it, I forgot to live by what I'd learnt from it.”
“And what's that?” Solara asks.
“To do more for others than you do for yourself.”
What a wonderful reminder of how important it is to see beyond individual events recorded in the Bible, or even every specific rule, to apply the heart of God to how we live our lives. In our frail and fallen humanity, we are not able to keep every jot and tittle of the law. And because Christ paid the debt for our sin, we are free of that burden. But as I’ve quoted just a few days ago, Jesus summed up the law and the prophets in a simple theme, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
Whitta, Gary and Denzel Washington, The Book of Eli. DVD. Directed by Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes. (2010, USA: Alcon Entertainment, Silver Pictures, 2010).