You must not curse the deaf or place a stumbling block before the blind, but you are to fear your God. I am the LORD.
I. INTEGRITY IN DAILY TRANSACTIONS - HONESTY. "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely" (verse 11). "Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him" (verse 13; see verses 35, 36). Nothing could be more explicit than this, nothing more comprehensive in suggestion. No member of the Hebrew commonwealth could
(1) deliberately appropriate what he knew was not his own, or
(2) rob his neighbour in the act of trading, or
(3) deal falsely or unrighteously in any transaction or in any relation, without consciously breaking the Law and coming under the displeasure of Jehovah.
The words of the Law are clear and strong, going straight to the understanding and to the conscience. Every man amongst them must have known, as every one amongst us knows well, that dishonesty is sin in the sight of God.
II. INTEGRITY IN OFFICIAL DUTY - JUSTICE. (Verse 15.) It is a pitiful thought that, in every nation, justice has been open to corruption; that men placed in honourable posts in order to do justice between man and man have either sold it to the highest bidder or surrendered and betrayed it from craven fear. God's clear word condemns such rank injustice, and his high displeasure follows the perpetrator of it. He who undertakes to judge his fellows must do so in the fear of God, and if he swerves from his integrity in his public acts, he must lay his account with heaven if not with man.
III. INTEGRITY IN WORD - TRUTH. "Ye shall not lie one to another" (verse 11). This, too, is a universal sin. Some nations may be more prone to it than others, The weak and the oppressed are too ready to take refuge in it; it is the resort of the feeble and the fearful But it is also used with shameful freedom and shocking unconcern, as an instrument of gain and power. God has revealed his holy hatred of it. "Ye shall not lie." "Lying lips are abomination to the Lord;" "the Lord hateth a lying tongue" (Proverbs 12:22; Proverbs 6:17). Under the gospel of Christ, we are earnestly warned against it (Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9). We are reminded that it is
(1) a wrong done to our fellow-men ("we are members," etc.), and
(2) closely associated with heather habits (the "old man," etc.); and we may remember that it is
(3) a habit most demoralizing to ourselves, as well as
(4) something which utterly separates us from our Lord, being so contrary to his Spirit and so grievous in his sight. - C.
Thou shalt not curse the deaf.I. THE MEANNESS OF THE CONDUCT HERE REBUKED. Dishonourable dealing, commercial sharp-practice, trading upon the defects of others, issuing delusive prospectuses to entrap the unwary, traducing our fellows behind their backs so that they cannot learn and answer the charges brought against them — all such action deserves our reprobation and avoidance. The natural ills of humanity call for commiseration and help, rather than for ridicule and maltreatment. Where weakness has been self-incurred, where ignorance is wilful, there is less need of sympathy. Let our young people be early imbued with the feeling that it is wrong to trample upon the defenceless.
II. THE WAY TO GUARD AGAINST INVASION OF THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS. "But shalt fear thy God."
1. Reverence for Jehovah is the best security against violation of His statutes. Remember, that to transgress is to grieve our heavenly Father, to show ourselves unmindful of His claims.
2. The omniscience of Jehovah should restrain from the commission of unfair deeds. He hears every word and sees every act, though the deaf and the blind cannot. Let not mean, cowardly performances expect to pass unnoticed, unpunished.
III. THE COMFORT THE WEAK MAY DERIVE FROM THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE UNDER THE PROTECTION OF GOD. He is seen to cherish them, to make provision for their need; He puts His strong right arm around them, shelters them under His wing. We cannot believe that His fostering care is denied to any class of the infirm, in body, mind, or spirit.
(S. R. Aldridge, B. A.)
(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)
(J. Jortin, D. D.)
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