January 26, 2010

Exo 22-24: A Community of Justice

Posted in Foundations, Historical, Israel, The Law tagged , , , , , , at 10:09 pm by Steve

Justice — conformity to truth, fact, or reason. Correctness / Righteousness / Equity

How do you define Justice? We’re pretty good at know when something wrong has been done to us, but less so when we’ve been accused of doing something wrong. When we’re accused we usually have a string of excuses as long as your arm ready for why the action was unavoidable. “I was in a hurry and didn’t mean it.” “After all that has been done to me I didn’t think anyone would notice.” And many more.

IN these passages from Exodus what is striking is the punitive damages that God requires for a crime. They require restitution but then the matter is settled. These laws, while sometimes laborious to get through, tell of a God who is involved in the simplest of details of human life and recognizes that if we cannot find a way to forgive each other, to offer mercy, then our existence will become simply “hell on earth.”

The details of these crimes deal with slaves, animals, the poor, rulers, and every once in awhile, the holiness of God’s name. The topics cover social, religious, economic, and political life. Everything is included. It may seem a bit bizarre to cover all these topics, but for the Hebrews coming out of Egypt, this was radical stuff. They were used to living as tribes under Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and then Pharaoh. They were used to being ruled, now they would have to learn to live co-dependent and as one body.

Could they do it? Can we?

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3 Comments »

  1. Prince's mom said,

    “These laws, while sometimes laborious to get through, tell of a God who is involved in the simplest of details of human life and recognizes that if we cannot find a way to forgive each other, to offer mercy, then our existence will become simply ‘hell on earth.'”

    Mercy…if you will excuse my personal reaction, I just wish I could hug God, like a daughter hugs her father when he is sad or disappointed or disheartened and tell Him that it will be all right and that I understand. All God wants is for us to include Him in “the simplest of details of our human life,” which is actually a gift from Him and to turn to Him; talk to Him; obey Him, depend on Him, as one does a father; and to, just basically, love Him and let Him love us and have us say in return those simplest, yet most meaningful of words, “Thank You.”

    Why is it, why has it been, and why will it continue to be so difficult for His children –children, mind you — to do so to their Father? I just don’t understand! So…I’d just like to hug God and tell Him, “I’m sorry.” He hugs me, and I feel better; maybe if I were able to hug Him, He’d feel better, too.

    Anyway, back to the above cited quote from the original blog:

    So…what do you think?

    If God were to sit in His heaven and put the occurrences and the people about whom Exodus talks in one hand and put us — our occurrences and our people for let’s say the last one hundred years — in the other hand, do you think He would find bunches and bunches of similarities and parallels between the peoples and between our lifestyles epecially in our failures to “forgive each other and to offer mercy”? I think He probably would, and I think we would not only be amazed but we would be humbled and;frightened by the demographics that He would share with us, if, in fact, he would choose to do so.

    If, in fact, we are much like they, then is it possible that we could and should say that our life and existence is currently and will continue being “hell on earth”?

    “They were used to living as tribes under Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and then Pharaoh. They were used to being ruled, now they would have to learn to live co-dependent and as one body.”

    So…the Israelites were now being asked and expected to relinquish their tribal autonomy and “link in community” and “learn in relationships” beyond themselves and with each other.

    Is the reverse for us now true, and is it all that we can expect?

    Although “all things are possible with God,” is it impossible to make this “hell on earth” live as one community under God? Are we now to concentrate on “forgiving and showing mercy” only within our own “autonomous tribes” — churches, communities, our own little spot in the world, our own little world?

    Does God want to bring the world together?

    Does God want to “teach the world to sing” His song in His name?

    Does God intend to bring the world together “to live in gratitude, to lead with grace, to learn in relationships, to link in community, and to love by serving”?

    If so, only a God can do that; only we can choose to not have hardened hearts like Pharaoh while He goes about doing so, and only we can help Him, as His instruments and in spite of our brokenness.

    Oh, that’s right — Mark 16:15 — “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

    We’ve got a lot of work to do! Notice I said, “We.”

    “Where two or more are gathered in My name, there I will be also,” if that’s all there are, then that’s all there are; and if that’s what it takes and how it is to be done, then that is what it takes and how it is to be done.”

    We are wasting time.

  2. Prince's mom said,

    Just a word of thanks —

    I am learning much and thinking bunches, not to mention improving my typing skills while writing my responses — smile please with my last comment.

    Thank you for the discipline you are offering me in the recommending of the reading of specific Bible books and chapters for each day, and thank you for sharing your thoughts about and your perspectives on God’s word. Thank you for your time you share in writing your responses, and thank you for holding me accountable to my individual reading of and thinking about these parts of God Word because I know you are too and because I know that you will be sharing your responses and your thoughts.

    Because you choose to do so, so shall I.

    Because you do so, so shall I.

    Thank you, again.

  3. Steve Gedon said,

    “Why is it, why has it been, and why will it continue to be so difficult for His children –children, mind you — to do so to their Father?”

    Because we’ve been sold a bill of goods. “you too can be like God.” Really? How’s that working out for you? Until we recognize the guilt, embarassment, fear, and self-loathing nothing we will change. We will continue to fill the emptiness in our lives all on our own. I’m sure God’s heart is breaking and as we’ll read in the prophets, He is reaching out to touch our lives and to reveal the reality of our situation. We’re all about helping people to Discover Hope. thus the name of this Bible Study and the website.


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