Deuteronomy: watch out for your neighbour…

Cover to Cover

Reading: Deuteronomy 20:1-23:25

Focus: Deuteronomy 22:1-4

I remember growing up that most of the houses in my neighbourhood were generally fairly open. It was safe to leave your doors open and unlocked, there was little concern about the kids playing out on the streets, and you would, at least, be polite and greet your neighbours as they pass you on the street on the evening walk. Yet, there are few communities where that happens anymore. People are wary of the safety of their houses, their children outside the house, and always eying people with suspicion as you pass them on the street.

However, it is a far cry from the community that we were called to live in. The essence of community is looking out for those around you, for their welfare and well-being. The picture painted in the life of ancient Israel, people were to look out for people’s belongings and possessions (from livestock to clothing). There was no such thing as “finders’ keepers”. It was a matter “finder keeps until owner comes”.

What would the difference be if people took interest in the welfare and well-being of their neighbours? I’m not talking about the wider society, just in their neighbourhoods where people live. What sort of atmosphere would it create? How would it change the way that we lived in our neighbourhoods if people felt safe to leave their doors unlocked? To walk around the street without suspicion of every person they walked past… To allow their kids out and about without having to trace their every step… Just imagine, just imagine.

Next Reading: Deuteronomy 24:1-27:26