Overcoming Our Human Nature

Yael Eckstein  |  August 31, 2023

dawn of a new day

If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. — Exodus 23:4

Miracles are central to both the Jewish and Christian faiths, and both biblical narratives are replete with miracles. Enjoy this collection of devotional teachings on the nature of God’s awe-inspiring signs and wonders.

The Bible is full of miracles. From the splitting of sea and the manna from heaven to water emerging from rocks, these tales tell us of God’s power. However, most of the Bible is far less fascinating, made up of laws that govern the way in which we interact with one another and build a society. The commentary on these laws fills volumes of books that have been studied in study halls around the world for hundreds of years.

Why do these technical rules get so much more attention than the extraordinary miracles?

Because it is through these laws that the lessons of the Bible come to life. Let me explain. Once, my daughter found a sparkly pink headband in the park. Now, it would not be unexpected for my daughter to simply add the headband to her collection, but she had a different plan. “We have to give it back to whoever lost it,” she declared, and then she spent the afternoon hanging up signs around the park urging the owner to call to get it back.

Overcoming Our Human Nature

Her actions were based on the values expressed through today’s verse: “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it.” This law is interpreted to mean that a person has an obligation to return lost objects to their owner—even if the owner is your enemy.

While no one ever called and the headband ended up in my daughter’s collection, I was moved that she not only knew the laws of “returning a lost object,” but also understood that they were not something archaic and theoretical—they govern how we live our lives.

Miracles are only one way that God reveals His greatness to the world. Another way, perhaps less glamorous, is through laws that show us how we ourselves can become great, thereby demonstrating to others God’s greatness.

God’s miracles overturn the laws of nature. Perhaps it is no less miraculous that when we keep God’s law, it overcomes our own human nature.

Your Turn:

When you find yourself in an ethical dilemma, remember that doing the right thing not only makes you better, but also increases God’s presence in the world.