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Exodus 21





BY: Jeremy Witt

As we begin these chapters involving the Law, one of the first questions many ask is whether these laws apply to us today since we are under the new covenant.  Let me answer that question first by saying, “Yes” and “No.”  Yes, they apply to us today specifically when they are repeated in the New Testament.  So any laws repeated apply to us today, but those laws that are not repeated give us truths and principles that will help us while the specific law itself may not apply. 

For example, in chapter 21, it speaks of slaves in verses 1-11.  We do not own slaves, but we can learn principles how we should treat people properly. 

Verses 12-36 speak of how to properly deal with others, their property, etc when injury or damage is done.  As you read, do you notice where grace and mercy are shown?  But do you notice judgment for wrongdoing?  God cares about people regardless of class, race, education, etc and calls us to treat people honorably and respectfully.  Don’t get caught up in all the laws but see the big picture.  God was calling the people to be different from everyone else.  These laws were given to help the Israelites be different and to be the people of God.  Keep this in mind as we read through these laws.  The purpose behind the Law was to help the people worship God and to be the priests of God. 

That bears the question, so what were the priests to do?  The priest’s purpose was to take the  people to God.  The priest would take the sins of the people to God and ask for forgiveness to God.  The priest would offer sacrifices for the people to God.  So what about the prophets in the Old Testament?  The role of the prophet in the Old Testament was to speak for God to the   people.  Since we live in the New Testament or under the new covenant because of what Jesus did for us, we are to be the priests to the nations today.  Wherever we go, we are to help take people to the LORD God. 

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Exodus 20





BY: Jeremy Witt

The nation of Israel is at the foot of Mount Sinai, or we could say that they are at the foundation of the mountain.  As they begin to follow God and hear His Law for the first time, they are at the beginning of their foundation as a people.  God will show them what He expects from them and how they are to live as His priests to the nations.  Remember that His purpose for them was to impact the nations so that the nation could follow the LORD God as well.

We are given the 10 Commandments in verses 1-17.  These are the foundations for the rest of the Law.  The ancient rabbis isolated 613 other commandments in the Law, but these are the foundation of the rest.  The first four commandments deal with man and their relationship with God.  The next six deal with man’s relationship with other people. 

Let’s put on the sandals of the original audience.  You have been slaves in Egypt your entire life.  Your masters worshipped more gods than you could count.  Maybe you have started    worshipping some of these gods too.  Moses shows up and through a lot of  amazing,   unnatural, “I can’t believe that just happened” events, and you are now leaving what you have always known as home to go out into the wilderness.  It just doesn’t make sense to you what is going on.  But you are experiencing and seeing things that this God does that you have not even     imagined or dreamt of, so you follow along with your family and neighbors.  You are lead through this barren wilderness by a cloud at day and pillar of fire at night.  You hear of this promise of a new land that has everything you can imagine.  Now you are at the base of a mountain and seeing a lightning storm and hearing this voice speak.  What are you to do?    Moses has come down from the mountain and told everyone the things that he has been told by the LORD.  He gives you these rules or commandments to follow.  No other gods?  Really?  No idols, but how can we worship something we can’t see or touch?  You think to yourself, “we have never done it this way before.  How will we do this?”

This is why God gives us the rest of the Law.  God loves us so much that He doesn’t leave us or the Israelites alone to figure it out.  He gave us the rest of the Law.  He gave us the “how do you do this” so that we would know what He expects.  This is why Leviticus has all those laws and is so hard for us today to read.  God cares about us even when we don’t understand the why of the moment.

Notice verse 18-21 as the people were scared out of their minds.  God was laying the foundation and it was way out of their comfort zones.  Yet, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.  God did this so that the people would listen to Moses and Aaron.  They needed to know that the LORD God was not like those gods in Egypt, but that the LORD God has true, real power.  Their relationship with God was just beginning, but God was preparing them for what was to come, just as He does with us today.  Sometimes God speaks to us with a majestic display of power and at times He simply speaks with a whisper, but let’s remember that God speaks to us.  He does it through His Word, in times of prayer, through other Christ followers, and even through nature.  Yet God speaks to us and cares for us and it is always for His will and for our best even when we don’t understand.

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