Helpless Enough to Help

The following comes from Solid Joys, the daily devotional app from the ministry of John Piper. View online, or download the app on Google Play or iTunes.

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The LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows his love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:17–19)

God does not take a bribe because he has no motive to take a bribe: he already owns all the money in the universe and he has control over the briber. He is above bribes the way the sun is above candles, or the way beauty is above mirrors.

Moses also says God shows no partiality. That is, he doesn’t try to curry anyone’s favor through special treatment. Showing partiality is like reverse bribery. Except the bribe is not with money but with favored treatment.

God is above that, because he has no need to do it. If he wants to get something done, he is not cornered into coercive strategies. He can just do it.

Showing partiality is what you do when you can’t cope with the consequences of justice. But God is not only able to cope, he is the source of all coping. He depends on no one outside himself. He is transcendently self–sufficient.

Now here comes the most precious part. On the basis of God’s transcendent self–sufficiency, Moses says, “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows his love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”

Since God cannot be bribed by the rich, and has no deficiency to remedy through favoritism, therefore, he works for those who can’t afford bribes and have nothing to attract his partiality — the orphan, the widow, and the refugee.

Then comes the application in verse 19: “So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

We have been the beneficiaries of the overflow of God’s transcendent fullness. And there is every reason to believe that we will continue to be, if we do not try to bribe him with our works, or show off to win his partiality.

If we will recognize our widow–like, orphan–like, refugee–like condition of helplessness, and rely on free grace from a self–sufficient Savior, then we will be loved forever. And being loved like this, we will have power and pleasure in loving like we are loved.

May God make us a tender people to the glory of God’s transcendent self–sufficiency.

“Transcendent Springs of Tenderness”

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What struck me the most in this devotional is verse 19, “So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

I have just finished discussing about “Exodus and Redemption” in Francis Chan’s Multiply with my small group and I have paralleled my own ‘exodus’ from sin to God’s salvation. It is interesting to find that when the New Testament parallels Jesus’s salvation to the Exodus, the primary commands in the Old Testament are valid for us nowadays and one of them is Deuteronomy 10:19.

As we are now aliens with our previous life as sinners, so do we have to show our love for the sinners so that through us they may receive salvation in Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus blesses you!

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