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Don't Let The 'Animal
Bible Passage Deuteronomy 22:1-4
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books Deuteronomy, Luke, Matthew, Philippians.

Don’t Let The ‘Animal Part’ Be Displayed

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached April 26, 2022

1 “When you see the ox or sheep of your fellow countryman straying, don’t go away and leave them. Instead, be sure to return them to him.

2 If your fellow countryman doesn’t live near you or you don’t know who he is, bring the animal to your house and let it remain with you until he claims it. Then return it to him.

3 Do the same for his donkey, his garment, and for anything lost that belongs to your fellow countryman. When you find it, you must not ignore it.

4 When you see the donkey or the ox of your fellow countryman fallen on the road, don’t ignore them. Instead be sure to help them get up.”

Deuteronomy 22 concludes a section of the book that started in Deuteronomy 12. Deuteronomy 12-22 are an elaboration of the 10 commandments God has given on the stone tablets. In the section of Deuteronomy 12:1-16:18, we see an elaboration of the commandments of the first tablet that govern the relationship between God and human beings. The second table is about the relationship between human beings and their neighbours. This can be seen in the section of Deuteronomy 16:18-22:30

People must help their neighbours when their neighbour’s animals were causing trouble. People from other countries and even the enemies of the Israelites had to obey this law too. Jesus taught the same thing in the story of the Good Samaritan. (See Luke 10:30-37.) Samaritans and Jews were enemies! But the Good Samaritan helped the Jew who was in trouble.

The Israelites should care about animals and birds. The laws about birds and about how to plough with animals show how to use them properly. Luke 12:6 says, ‘People sell 5 birds for 2 small coins. But God does not forget one bird.’

In the text, we see the opposite of “you shall not steal”, namely that we must see to it that our brother does not lose anything. What applies in the case of an enemy (Exo 23:4), applies all the more to a brother/sister. For us, the literal meaning of the ten commandments and their effect is not the first meaning, but the spiritual meaning.

Not bringing back something our neighbour has lost is the same as stealing. We have a responsibility to bring it back. It is an act according to the principle of Matthew 7 (Mt 7:12).
”Therefore, whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them, because this summarizes the Law and the Prophets.”

There is no self-interest present. Everything speaks of the care for the fellow brother or sister (cf. Phil 2:21) and not what our advantage/gain is.

In verse 4, donkey and ox are both a picture of service (Deut 22:10). A person who wants to do a service for Christ can be so weighed down by it that he/she succumbs and gives up. If we see that, we should not impose any more burdens on them. It is important to encourage them and help them stand up.

🔷 There’s no need for any relationship or kindred for a believer to do good to others

🔷 We must support failing and weak neighbours with our love and care

💥 Thank God for His love and care for you
💥 Ask for forgiveness for any act of wickedness and revenge against a neighbour
💥 Pray for those troubled

Do not withdraw love from people. Not even those who hate you should force you to show any ‘animal part’. Be free, open-minded, ready to help weak souls and never ready to pay evil for evil, and the Almighty God will equally do for you more of what you do for others.

In series Bright Morning Reflections