Jan. 21, 2014
Exodus 23-Part 2
Keep thee far from a false matter. Exodus 23:7a
LET IT GLOW
Whether it is serving on a jury or helping two friends mend their differences when feelings are hurt, I need discernment from God as to how to best handle the situation. I need instructions as to how to handle myself, also. What should or should not influence my judgments? When a friend has been hacked on the internet and their post is bad language and inappropriate material under their name, how do I react? Do I believe that it was not their doing, but a revengeful person trying to hurt their witness? Do I do nothing or try to help?
Dispensing justice is the topic of the first nine verses of chapter 23. God was teaching His newly formed nation of Israel how to establish their relationship with Him, with others, and their judicial system. Their judicial system depended on just laws, honest judges, and faithful witnesses. Although God's laws were just, they could be misinterpreted by an unjust judge, or a lying witness giving false testimony, as in our day.
There are some things which are not supposed to influence our judgment (whether serving on a jury or in everyday life):
- numbers-We are not to spread false reports, follow a crowd that gives a wrong testimony, perverts justice, nor show favoritism. (verse 2)
- money-We are not to side with the poor man in his lawsuit because of his situation, nor to deny him justice because he is poor; do not accept a bribe, for it binds us to those who see and twist the words of the righteousness. (verses 3 ,6, 8)
- personal feelings- Keep your feelings toward a person out of the situation, so you can have clear judgment. An example is given of your enemy's animal found wandering off, then return it to them; help your enemy that is having a difficult situation. (verses 4-5)
- social status-Do not oppress an alien, a stranger, since Israel themselves were strangers in Egypt. Oppress, in Hebrew is the word lachats (law-khats'), which means distress, afflict, force, holdfast.
- false testimony-Do not have anything to do with a false charge. Also, do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for God will not acquit the guilty.
Here we see the protection of equitable and impartial justice for all.
The attitude of impartiality was to include the helping of another with his animals, regardless of whether he was friend or foe. If no help was given, his livelihood could very well be adversely affected, which was a situation that others in the community could not allow to happen. (McArthur)
It sounds like sound advice given to us so we can give sound judgment and truth prevails. Just don't be influenced by outside things. Ask the Lord to reveal the truth of the situation and the solution.
LET IT GROW
What does the New Testament say about these?
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus told us to Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24d, You cannot serve God and money.
1 Corinthians 15:33 where Paul tells us, do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.
We are not to show partiality to the poor or rich.
Are we like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37?
Paul instructed in his letter, 1 Timothy 5:21, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. (NIV)
Do I prefer some and show partiality; biased and show favoritism?
Do I run with the crowd, even though they may circulate a false report or gossip?
The inventor and receiver of false and slanderous reports, are almost equally criminal. (Clarke)
Since the issue is a false report, it is proper to ask-and demand-proof from the person bringing the report, and proof as required in the Bible-from two or three witnesses. (Guzik)
LET IT GO
Pray for discernment in situations.
Let go of prejudices, favoritism.
Do what is right according to the Bible.