Exodus 22:21 Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him for you were aliens in Egypt. Exodus 23:9 Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt. – Now when God says almost the same thing in the same days reading during your quiet time it gets your attention like He is trying to underline a concept. The word YOU WERE stood out in both above verses. Nothing like being told you were an alien first thing in the morning right?! God likes to keep it real though and I’m thankful for that! Also what stood out were the words I AM compassionate. In Exodus 22:27 He says I am compassionate and that follows His instructions to lend to those in need and not charge interest…I mean really…by definition “in need” means they don’t have extra lying around… so to charge interest?!? Wheres your heart? And if you take your neighbors cloak as a pledge return it by sunset because for goodness sake that may be the only covering he has to keep warm at night! These instructions may seem obvious but He wouldn’t waste breath speaking them if we didn’t need to hear it! We are to be compassionate like He is compassionate. I’m reminded of just before He is getting ready to sacrifice Himself on the cross for all humanity and He is telling His disciples not to be afraid! I think He had more than enough reason to be completely losing it but in His compassion He consoled THEM and washed THEIR feet!! (John 13) Sometimes God gives us a gentle wake up call through our children. Like watching your child write all their valentines for each classmate and even though they have 23 people in their class and they have chosen a box of 24 of their favorite candy to go with their valentines you see her pause on the last one and hear her say to herself (unbeknownst to her that you are listening) I’ll give this one to my teacher (which would make 24 and would leave her without one of her favorite candies for herself) I don’t really need one anyway. As you watch her give away her last valentine candy putting others above herself your heart swells. Or when you watch your son dump all his handful of coins and a few crumpled up one dollar bills out on the kitchen table and you see him counting it all out… you ask what are you doing hon and he says I’m trying to see if I have enough to buy grandma and grandpa plane tickets to come visit us. Again, your heart swells. You can never out give God and children seem to get that far better than adults sometimes. I’m reminded of Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. – I think just as when parents see the compassionate selfless hearts of their children their own hearts swell to bursting with emotion so it is with our heavenly Father when He sees us looking out for others trusting Him to take care of our own needs… He can’t help but open the floodgates of heaven to bless us! This kind of compassion is not a natural human characteristic when it really comes down to it. Think of a two year olds favorite word… “Mine!” and we certainly live in a me, myself and I centered world right! So these reminders to keep our eyes on Him and be compassionate are needed and I think one of the best reminders and checks God gives us to combat the sickness of “self” is a memory, and in the top verses I first mentioned He is asking us to exercise that memory! Remember what you once were!! God may forgive and choose to forget your past sin however He leaves it in our memory for a reason…. do not forget where I pulled you from, where I saved you and who you are apart from Me. To keep us from returning to our own pit of sin but also that memory should serve us well in acting compassionate right! Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Phil. 2:3-4 Assisting someone doesn’t mean reaching down to give them a hand up, it means getting ourselves down underneath them and lifting them up. John 15:5 I am the vine you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – Not somethings that verse says NOTHING, nothing of any kingdom worth can be accomplished apart from Him so today lets get real and remember if it weren’t for Jesus we’d all be lost, really LOST wondering around like aliens aimlessly but thanks be to Jesus He chose to take hold of us so lets take hold of that which He took hold of us for! Not forgetting who we were before… an alien living in sin yet God saw fit to show us compassion and make us His child… and that’s what we as former aliens can proclaim to current aliens out there…. Come to Him who sees you as more than an alien, He calls you to be His child, a child of the King!