God makes as a condition of Judah’s judgment their goodness to others, that they will treat well those who are lost, harmed, poor, and abused. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place’” (Jeremiah 22:3). Yet later, when asked why they are being judged, the answer is, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them” (Jeremiah 22:9). So, which is it that brings judgment against Judah, their indifference toward others or their idolatry against God?
Jesus was asked which commandment is greatest. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” But he wasn’t finished, “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Two commandments, together the greatest, essential to each other, neither stands alone. Indifference is idolatry; compassion is worship.
“The righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” ~Matthew 25:37-40
Our love for God is only as true as it is displayed in our love for others, and our love for others is only as true as our devotion to God and his ways.
Wonderful God, I am learning to love You better by learning to love others more. You are teaching me humility and service by doing it Yourself first. I would not know You unless You had sacrificed Yourself for me; You loved me that much. May I love that much.
I cannot worship my Creator without caring for those You created, those who bear Your very image. May I love actively, seeking opportunities to serve and to share. May others find You in my actions toward them, recognizing Your grace and goodness in all I do.