|photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc|
The first time I read this verse I had to read it again. Did I just read that God cares about someone being cold at night? Doesn't he have bigger things to worry about? Not according to this verse. Here, God is giving instructions to Israel about their social responsibilities. He gives them instructions on capital punishment for sorcerers, bestiality, and idolatry. He gives them instructions on treating foreigners right, honoring the widows and fatherless, and being merciful to the poor. It is at this point that God says "if you take your neighbors cloak as a pledge..." What is a pledge? A pledge is a promise. In this case taking someones cloak as a pledge means that they owe you money and you are taking their cloak as a promise that they will pay you the money. If they don't you keep the pledge. If they do you give it back. However, God has a different way of looking at it. If by the end of the day the guy who owes you money hasn't paid you back, return his cloak to him. Why? "[B]ecause that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in?" And then he goes on to say, "When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate."
Wow. God cares if we are comfortable when we sleep at night. He is such a just God that he notices the small things. If God hears a man who says, "Lord I cant sleep because its too cold and my neighbor wont return my cloak to me because I owe him money" how much more will he hear the victims of abuse, terrorism, extortion and violence? How much more will he hear the cry of the woman who lost her child or the soldier who lost his legs? How much more will he hear the cry of the hard worker who lost his job and has been cheated of all his benefits? How much more will he hear the cry of the betrayed and abandoned?
Yes, God cares. God hears. God is compassionate. And though it may not be in our time, He will repay, for He has said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay...” (Deut. 32:35).