Jan. 20, 2014
Exodus 22-Part 2
...For I am gracious. Exodus 22:27c
LET IT GLOW
A preacher brought a very informative message at a meeting I attended this past weekend. He talked about meeting the needs of the children who are spiritual orphans. They were described as children whose parents or family do not attend church. Therefore, these children have no one to train them, supervise them, lead them to faith in Jesus. Everything is unfamiliar to these children. We people who grew up in church automatically know where our class is located, how to find books in the Bible, what is and is not appropriate behavior and dress for services. Are we willing to give up some of our time and energy to help? They may even need a snack to sustain them between classes or a ride to worship. (Perhaps they need shoes or a coat.) Can we as mature adults help meet those needs of children who are spiritual orphans? The preacher informed us that as a child, he was a spiritual orphan. His church helped train him in spiritual matters as he grew up. They even provided monetarily his way to camps, college, and seminary. What a way to invest! Shall we look around and adopt a spiritual orphan? After all, I was one, too.
In our key verse, God says that He is gracious. Webster Dictionary defines gracious as kindly, charming. Grace is a divine favor, elegance of manner or movement. Are we gracious to others, too?
After Israel received the Law of God through the Ten Commandments, Moses explained and applied that Law to various aspects of human life. So far in chapter 21, we have discussed the caring for servants, compensating personal injuries, and protecting personal property.
In the rest of the chapter we will see how we are to respect humanity and not exploit them:
- The Virgin-Verses 16-17 concern the virgin who has been enticed by a man and violated. she is not pledged to be married. How is this to be handled? The man can marry the girl. If her father prohibits this, the wicked enticer is to give a heavy payment for his actions, bride-price. The girl was free to marry later, but may suffer rejection (Deut. 22: 23-24; 24:1). (Do we hold accountable the actions of men today?)
- A witch-Verse 18 is clear that the witch, wizard, sorceress was to not be allowed to live in their camp. The nations surrounding Israel worshiped gods, which were under the demonic powers. Today we have occults that allow Satan to deceive, work, and destroy lives. (Lev. 19:31; 20:27; Deut. 18:9-12)
- Bestiality-Verse 19 prohibits sexual relations with an animal. It is another sin punishable by death. These practices were a part of heathen worship of idols. Human sexuality is a precious gift from God and has guidelines, under marriage of a man and a woman. (Lev. 20:15-16; Deut. 27:21) Sacrificing to any god is prohibited by verse 20. Only the Lord God is to be given sacrifices. (Lev. 17:7, Joshua 7:2)
- Mistreating a stranger, taking advantage of a widow or orphan is not acceptable (verses 21-22). God will kill those who do. (verse 24)
- Loaning money to the poor-It was a loaned as a favor, without paying interest(verse 25). (Do we take advantage of the poor and needy in our business?)
- A cloak taken as collateral, verse 25, was to be returned by sundown, to keep him warm at night.
- Blaspheming God or a ruler of their people is prohibited (verse 28). this teaches respect for men in authority. The word gods (elohim in Hebrew) sometimes refers to human leaders, judges, or those who are mighty. (Falwell)
- No delay in offering to God what is required (verses 29-30) and refraining from using what is forbidden. Give God their firstborn son for His service.
- Be holy people (verse 31). Israel was to have a set-apart lifestyle impacting every area of life. (MacArthur)
- Flesh torn of beasts was unclean, having been killed by another animal. Insects and not properly drained blood made the meat unclean. (verse 31)
LET IT GLOW
What does the New Testament have to say concerning these matters?
- Love God. (Mark 12:30)
- Love your neighbor. (Mark 12:31)
- Treat others like you want to be treated.
- Love your enemy. (Matt. 5:44)
- Take care of widows and orphans. (1 Timothy 5)
- Be careful not to value money more than it should be. (1 Tim. 6:10)
- Give and it will be given unto you. (Luke 6:38)
LET IT GO
Turn from being selfish and self-centered.
Love God and love others.
Have a lifestyle that is set apart from the world and unto Christ.
Be gracious and kind to others today.