Mitzvot Defined

Mitzvot [Mitz-vote] are the 613 commands that God gives His people in the first five books of the Old Testament. More generally, the term mitzvot refers to customs, laws, practices, and commands for God’s chosen people. Today, the term mitzvot refers to “good deeds”.

God commands His people over and over in the Old Testament to care for the orphan, the fatherless, the widows, the aliens, and the poor: “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.” Exodus 22:22, “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11.

The New Testament is also rich with commands, parables, and teaching to care for the marginalized, the oppressed, and the cast outs. Perhaps the most famous challenge for followers of Christ to care for the poor comes from James 2. “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

And so the concept of mitzvot; the idea of doing good – the practice of caring for the poor, the fatherless, the orphan, the widow, the refugees, the immigrants, the marginalized is critical for followers of Christ. By doing good, Christians are showing others that their faith is real, tangible, and alive, and by doing good, Christians fuel their faith.

I take seriously commands, the teachings, and pleadings of God to care for the marginalized. I want to be a part of God’s redemption and restoration of the world. That’s why I’m a social worker, that’s why I’m writing this blog. This blog will be my forum to share personal stories and convictions about acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

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