In the chapters we read today, and will read in the days to come, God is spelling out his demands for holy living. There is absolutely a right and a wrong and it’s right here in front of us in black and white. Those who think “right” is an arbitrary set of rules decided by individuals to suit their own needs is wrong, wrong, wrong.
I’ve often heard, “an eye for an eye” and it’s first said here in Exodus. It is included in the verses that talk about how to handle it when a pregnant woman gets injured when two men are fighting. But the principal applies to life. Jesus even talked about it.
But when Jesus talked about it in Matthew 5, he turned things around a bit. He says if someone slaps you, don’t slap back. Turn the other cheek. He’s using these passages in Exodus to make a point. Sin isn’t just sin when acted out. Sin is a heart condition.
For years, when I was a Middle School Guidance Counselor and did “guidance” activities with sixth graders, I showed the movie “The Buttercream Gang.” There’s a line in there that came to mind this morning as I thought about what God would say to me in His word. Here’s the line:
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, Pete.
Seriously, getting even never makes things even. Tailgating the driver who cut you off doesn’t even the score, except to make you both look ridiculous. Hurting someone who hurts you only makes both of you guilty.
I’ve found that I am happier, life is better, if I let God be judge and jury. He’s much better than I. And in the end, he’s gonna judge me, too.
Holy God, I pray that as we read your rules for living we will bow to You in complete obedience. I thank you that I live this side of the cross, where I know following rules cannot buy my salvation. And I want to remember that Jesus took these rules one step further, that my heart’s condition is so important. But You gave these rules to us to make our lives richer, our relationship with you purer. I want to be obedient, repentant when I sin, and love you with my whole self. Make me holy through Jesus’ blood. Thank you for wanting to.