Posted by: robbiexgibson | 20 July, 2008

Mission Possible: recap

Better late than never (again), here’s the summary of last week’s discussion:

  1. I was very struck by the injunction to lend “without usury” in verse 5. Working for a bank, I could take the easy way out and interpret it as lending without “excessive interest”, but, coupled with Trevor’s sermon from Sunday 13 July it has got me looking at an alternative economic system called “binary economics”, which claims to put justice at the centre of society and is based around interest-free loans (as far as I can tell so far). It was pointed out that no system can bring improvement without God at the centre of people’s lives.
    For those of us who deal less directly with financial interest, the principle of not keeping score in our dealings with others (for example, I’ll do something for you, but I’ll remember that I’ve done it and make sure that know that you owe me one) was invoked.
  2. There was lots of discussion around the idea of “despising the vile man” (v. 4). It can seem quite “Old Testament” to feel free to despise people like this, is it still applicable today for us who live in post-resurrection times? Well, the purposes of God must be the same in the OT and the NT (even if sometimes the methods seem very different); there was a parallel drawn with the NT command to “expel the immoral brother” (1 Cor 5:13); but it was also raised that it is possible, paradoxically though it may seem, to love someone and despise them at the same time! That is, we can hate someone’s actions, but still express love for them though our desire to see them changed. C.S. Lewis reportedly prayed every day for Mussolini & Hitler. (I can’t find anything to back this up though.) Of course, the problem here is to figure out when someone is “vile” in God’s eyes, and not just our own.
  3. We talked about slander and its overlap with criticism. Again, it can difficult for us to see where someone is acting against the will of God and when it’s against our own will. (See also Trevor’s sermon from 20 July about the tares and the wheat and his injunction to avoid judging others.)
  4. God’s “holy hill” (v. 2) was seen as representing protection in the sense of one’s enemies finding it hard to get in, which fits with the earlier word “sanctuary”. Coming in to God’s presence is a place of safety.
  5. We finally said that being contented could be a sign of holiness, but I don’t see where we got that from!


  1. Thanks for the feedback Robbie. I think the “contendedness issue” was coming from the comments around the injunctions to managing our finances responsibly and treating our neighbour fairly. In other words, not getting so worked up about our finances or social standing that we resort to ursury, bribes, slander, etc. to advance ourselves….

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