Exodus – God’s Way Out
I’m hearing and reading about the weariness many are now feeling from staying isolated. Easter will not be the same without the family gatherings. I’m pretty sure that is at the top of our depression list. But maybe our celebrations needed to be examined by our hearts.
I hear, “our leaders are giving us all these rules just to annoy us and have control over us”. WAIT, WHAT!? NO, our leaders are trying to keep us safe!! We can be so childish, can’t we? WE have new rules to follow to keep us safe. We may not like them but in order to stay safe we follow them, or at least most of us are.
God is trying to do the same for His people. Consider what many generations of His people have experienced in Egypt. They watched and probably participated in all kinds of idol worship that include despicable behavior in doing so. There were sacrifices of children, the building of idols along with the worship of many gods, eating foods not good for their bodies, not to mention nudity and sexual deviations of all kinds to satisfy their self sin nature. As slaves to the Egyptians, they were included.
Now, that I have your attention…Let’s get to why God is giving his people a new set of very specific rules to live by as they learn to follow Him. This wilderness time is a teaching time for God to erase the memories of their previous way of life in Egypt to get ready for His way of life in the Promised Land. Always remember this as we trudge through these mandates.
Exodus 22, The Message
1-3 “If someone steals an ox or a lamb and slaughters or sells it, the thief must pay five cattle in place of the ox and four sheep in place of the lamb. If the thief is caught while breaking in and is hit hard and dies, there is no bloodguilt. But if it happens after daybreak, there is bloodguilt.
3-4 “A thief must make full restitution for what is stolen. The thief who is unable to pay is to be sold for his thieving. If caught red-handed with the stolen goods, and the ox or donkey or lamb is still alive, the thief pays double.
5 “If someone grazes livestock in a field or vineyard but lets them loose so they graze in someone else’s field, restitution must be made from the best of the owner’s field or vineyard.
6 “If fire breaks out and spreads to the brush so that the sheaves of grain or the standing grain or even the whole field is burned up, whoever started the fire must pay for the damages.
7-8 “If someone gives a neighbor money or things for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house, the thief, if caught, must pay back double. If the thief is not caught, the owner must be brought before God to determine whether the owner was the one who took the neighbor’s goods.
9 “In all cases of stolen goods, whether oxen, donkeys, sheep, clothing, anything in fact missing of which someone says, ‘That’s mine,’ both parties must come before the judges. The one the judges pronounce guilty must pay double to the other.
10-13 “If someone gives a donkey or ox or lamb or any kind of animal to another for safekeeping and it dies or is injured or lost and there is no witness, an oath before God must be made between them to decide whether one has laid hands on the property of the other. The owner must accept this and no damages are assessed. But if it turns out it was stolen, the owner must be compensated. If it has been torn by wild beasts, the torn animal must be brought in as evidence; no damages have to be paid.
14-15 “If someone borrows an animal from a neighbor and it gets injured or dies while the owner is not present, he must pay for it. But if the owner was with it, he doesn’t have to pay. If the animal was hired, the payment covers the loss.
16-17 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the marriage price and marry her. If her father absolutely refuses to give her away, the man must still pay the marriage price for virgins.
18 “Don’t let a sorceress live.
19 “Anyone who has sex with an animal gets the death penalty.
20 “Anyone who sacrifices to a god other than God alone must be put to death.
21 “Don’t abuse or take advantage of strangers; you, remember, were once strangers in Egypt.
22-24 “Don’t mistreat widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure I’ll take them most seriously; I’ll show my anger and come raging among you with the sword, and your wives will end up widows and your children orphans.
25 “If you lend money to my people, to any of the down-and-out among you, don’t come down hard on them and gouge them with interest.
26-27 “If you take your neighbor’s coat as security, give it back before nightfall; it may be your neighbor’s only covering—what else does the person have to sleep in? And if I hear the neighbor crying out from the cold, I’ll step in—I’m compassionate.
28 “Don’t curse God; and don’t damn your leaders.
29-30 “Don’t be stingy as your wine vats fill up.
“Dedicate your firstborn sons to me. The same with your cattle and sheep—they are to stay for seven days with their mother, then give them to me.
31 “Be holy for my sake.
“Don’t eat mutilated flesh you find in the fields; throw it to the dogs.”
What we see rising to the top of these rules are the words restitution–being sorry with wanting to make it right; compensation–payment for wrong doing while in your hands); redemption–paying the purchase price, making it yours.
We are taught by Jesus who came to fulfill The Law that we must love God and love others like He loves us. We are to admit and be truly repentant–sorry for our sins and willing to make things right. We must pay back what we owe in whatever form that is to show that we are serious for wanting to make things right as we strive to live God’s way. We accept and believe in the redemption of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who paid the price for our sins, making us now His.
Do you see the connection? God works for our good and for His glory so we will never forget Who He is and what He can do in and through us. Love God. Love Others. These are what all the others laws are based upon. –Jesus
Our good. His glory. May we never forget.
David said it best as he worships God…(Psalm 103)
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
God is unchanging, forever faithful and relentless in His love and care for us. Our good. His glory. Yes, and Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are in still in the wilderness days of isolation and we are growing weary without the community we long to be with so help us through it. Encourage us. Help us to see what you are teaching us. May we see your glory for our good in it. May we think higher thoughts that bring you praise this day. May we reflect on this day called “Good Friday” all you did to redeem us, to purchase our souls back from sin and evil at a very high price. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you are words to small, so listen to my heart.
In Jesus Name, Amen