Ancient Wisdom, Modern Dilemmas

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Joshua 19-20; Proverbs 14:28-29

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Joshua 20:9
These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwelt among them, that whoever killed a person accidentally might flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stood before the congregation.

The Bible provides for accidents, and mistakes. God looks at our intentions. He knows when we mean it, and when we don’t. This ancient rule shows how practical God’s commands were. Provisions were made where accidental murderers could flee to, until a proper trial was conducted. The avenger of blood here probably refers to a close relative of the murdered victim, who was obliged to mete out justice on behalf of the clan. Yes, there must be justice. But mercy prevails.

In recent days the 377A debate has ignited again. One reason given for scrapping the law is that it is ancient and therefore outdated. The question is, are all things ancient outdated? C.S. Lewis refers to those who think like this as committing “chronological snobbery”. No one would say that the ancients were wrong about the problem with stealing, murder, or disobeying parents. Yet some today argue for the repealing of the sodomy law because our forefathers were wrong about love and sex. So, is homosexuality a perversion today as it was during Sodom and Gomorrah? Well, yes. But should we consider all practicing gays and lesbians today as criminals of the State? Then how about those who commit adultery and abortion? Surely, these too have practiced perversion, as far as God’s design is concerned.

Lord, grant us wisdom for our times. In our zeal for justice and purity, may we not lose sight of mercy and the power of grace.

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