SOAP Journal – 01 March 2017 (Leviticus 24:22)

There shall be one judgment for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 24:22

As God has handed down the commandments, He has often repeated phrases like You shall be holy. The Israelites were were to be a separate people, different from their neighbors and pretty much any nation in the history of nations. There are only a few more chapters before Leviticus ends and it is at this point that God says something that was unusual in its time: There shall be one judgment for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native.

Even today, there are plenty of nations that have one set of laws that govern the citizens of that country and another set that govern non-citizens. God tells the Israelites that they are not to have another set of laws. One set of laws will suffice. The way that He makes the statement also says something else: The Israelites are not to hand down judgments or disciplinary actions differently for Israelites than for people living in their country. If the sentence for a particular crime is to make restitution and add 20%, then the same recompense will be paid by an Israelite and , say, a Moabite or a Midianite.

Jesus will, in the gospels, say something similar when He tells His disciples that the same measure we use to judge is the one by which we will be judged. Do I want to receive grace? Then I must be gracious to others. Do I want forgiveness? Then I must forgive.

This hits home for me in large part because of the way politics have been going in the United States in recent times. There have been double-standards in abundance. One group claims that they can say or do something, but let the group that they have set up opposite themselves try and there is hue and cry for days. I do not want to single out any group, because I suspect that we are all guilty of applying our standards inconsistently — myself included. I merely note that the inconsistent application of laws and standards is what God specifically warned the Israelites not to do and that I see the same thing happening around me.

I cannot change others, but I can address myself. As one once sang, “I’m looking at the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.” I must examine myself and my actions and the way that I evaluate myself and others. If my self-evaluation and my evaluation of others are not using the same measure, then I am in the wrong and must address that. If I apply God’s standard to everyone, then I am doing just fine and need only stay the course.

Father, please help me to examine myself and the standards I apply. If I apply Your standards; Your Law to every person and every situation in the same way, then please help me to see that and to be encouraged to continue. If I am, as is more likely, inconsistent, please enable me to correct course and to judge with Your righteous judgment. Thank You that You only use one measure: whether or not I have accepted the gift of salvation.

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