Thursday, January 15, 2015

Justice For All

I'm studying Exodus 23:1-4, 6-9 this week, the Laws of Justice and Mercy. These are the rules handed down from God to Moses, who in turn decreed them to the Israelites. People seem to get hung up on all the rules instead of looking at the big picture of what the Old Testament really is.

I believe the books of the Old Testament is an account of God in His great love showing His people exactly how much they need Him. There is no earthly, man-made way to follow all the rules He gave. 

You cannot rely on yourself. 

You must rely on Him.

You NEED a Savior.

Okay. I got a little sidetracked...but I needed to be write it. :) Back to Exodus 23...
after reading the verses over the course of this week, I realized I was bogged down by the 'Must Nots' of it all. In order to turn it around and make better sense of it, I wrote the opposites, or the 'Must Do' of the verses.

From, here are the verses in the New Living Translation (NLT) and my take on the command in the form of "Must Do" in red.

You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand. Tell the truth. Be a truthful witness.
You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. Follow God and His commands. Speak truth...even when the world believes another view.
And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor.. Be equally matter a person's circumstance.
If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has strayed away, take it back to its owner. Give back what belongs to another...even if the person is your enemy.
In a lawsuit, you must not deny justice to the poor. Give justice equality to all people.
Be sure never to charge anyone falsely with evil. Never sentence an innocent or blameless person to death, for I never declare a guilty person to be innocent. Stand up when someone is falsely accused. God will judge me if I let an innocent be made guilty.
Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the truth. Be above-board and that I may see clearly.
You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Treat a stranger as I would a friend. Remember how it feels to stand alone.

It's a lot of rules God gave in this little chapter. The one thing I should remember...we are all equal in God's eyes. He loves you and me dearly...and desires to know us and be known. 

What are your thoughts
on the rules God gave in the OT?