Restitutions and Respect
(Exodus 21:1-11; 26-27; 29-36; 22:5-17, 25-27)
(Leviticus 19:11-13, 35-37; 24:18; 24:21; 25:44-46)
(Numbers 5:5-10: 30:1-16)
(Deuteronomy 15:1-18; 22:8; 23:15-16, 19-20; 24:6, 10-15, 17; 25:13-16)
Weights and Measures
Our all-wise and sovereign God chose to build His people into a holy nation with orderly government and civilized culture. Central to this plan was a well-organized system of rules and regulations for public and private social conduct.
Today’s Bible readings trace several specific laws to prescribe appropriate restitutions for damages to personnel, livestock or property, as well as basic guidelines for ethical interpersonal and professional dealings.
As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, where they would settle and become a nation, the God-given legal system would become critical to their corporate survival.
The Old Testament instructions for handling accidental and wrongful damages, harm and losses were clearly delineated. The central purpose of the Lord, in providing these requirements, was likely to foster fairness and fellowship among His people.
How are we doing today?
Debts and Decency
Requirements for personal harm, destruction of property and management of slaves provided clear guidelines for judges and leaders. Rules for repayment of loans, without humiliating the borrowers, were specified. Prohibitions were included against enslaving or charging interest against brothers and sisters in the faith. Here, a major emphasis rested on preserving the dignity of all in the Israelite community.
Again, how are we doing in our time?
Interest in Integrity
The Lord emphasized the importance of taking vows seriously. Oaths and promises are serious business to God, even when His people make them with one another.
Business ethics matter much. Honest dealings, accurate measurements and professional accountability demonstrate personal values.
A truly consecrated community will bear the marks of integrity, common decency, compassion and truth. How many of these marks can be seen in our own society? How about in our churches?
Will you pray with me?
Lord of all,
You are truth and justice.
You cannot be otherwise.
Guard our hearts and minds,
And keep us honest
With You and with one another.
May we seek to honor You
In our personal
And professional dealings.
Build Your community among us
For Your glory.