We come to the part where God lays down the law. Verse after verse of rules and regulations for EVERYTHING. Some of the punishments for breaking the rules are harsh – like the death penalty for cursing your parents. Many include some sort of retribution.
In fact, in regard to injuring a pregnant woman we read, “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (21:23-25)
In regard to your neighbor’s bull, you break it, you buy it.
Now I am aware we live under grace. But does that mean we should throw out the rules? Does God’s grace negate consequences?
A while back I was talking to the 3-5 graders in our Good News Club about rules, and asked them what our club would be like if there were no rules. It was an interesting, lively conversation. After trying to picture what a club with no rules would look like, we decided rules aren’t such a bad thing after all.
Rules are boundaries that make life better.
But we live in a society that’s nibbling at the rules. In fact, we are encouraged to live by our own rules. Can a society survive without rules, or with an infinite number of rule-sets? Can you picture what that would look like?
Oh yeah. I saw it on the news last night.
God gave the rules we read here in Exodus for a reason, so that the Jewish people would enjoy a safe, and caring lifestyle. God’s rules made life better for them.
And they still do for us. I don’t have a bull, or a slave. But if I read these rules God specified, and apply the principles to my life and in my dealings with people, my life and theirs would be better.
Rules are not meant to be broken, but rather followed, and taught. Without them, our world would be nothing but chaos. Without rules, our society will crumble.
Thank God for rules.