Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 19-28, Ps 27
Moses’ final instructions to the people of Israel continue in today’s chapters, concluding with a stern warning–failure to adhere to God’s commandments will have disastrous consequences.
Included in these commandments is the expectation that the Israelites will show integrity in their business dealings with one another: “Use only one weight, a true and honest weight, and one measure, a true and honest measure, so that you will live a long time on the land that God, your God, is giving you” (Deuteronomy 25:15). In previous days, we have seen plans being carefully laid so that there will be a fair and just distribution of resources in the land–everyone will have enough. Yet, before the Israelites have even reached the land, the threat exists that they will resort to cheating and deceiving one another in order to get more than their fair share.
This kind of behavior violates not only the other person, but also one’s relationship with God. It fails to remember all that God has already done and, therefore, fails to trust God to provide for one’s future. Perhaps this is why the very next set of instructions is on the practice of bringing firstfruits to the Altar. Setting aside a portion of what one has received as an act of remembrance and gratitude to God helps shield us from the temptation to become greedy.
Today, integrity is one of the concrete ways we can live out our faith. When we commit to deal honestly with others in all things, we show honor to one another and reverence to God. A community bound by honesty and integrity, and responding to God’s providence with remembrance and gratitude, will not easily be broken.