You may not withhold your help

I was reading Deuteronomy 22 this morning and was struck by the first few verses:

Helping Hands

You shall not watch your neighbor’s ox or sheep straying away and ignore them; you shall take them back to their owner. If the owner does not reside near you or you do not know who the owner is, you shall bring it to your own house, and it shall remain with you until the owner claims it; then you shall return it. You shall do the same with a neighbor’s donkey; you shall do the same with a neighbor’s garment; and you shall do the same with anything else that your neighbor loses and you find. You may not withhold your help. You shall not see your neighbor’s donkey or ox fallen on the road and ignore it; you shall help to lift it up. (vv.1-4)

Even from those early days, God was making it clear that “Love your neighbor” was

  1. highly practical and tangible;
  2. not optional, but a commandment.

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