每日诗歌: 我要耶穌 (http://www.mbcsfv.org/chinese/library/hymncampanions/016.html)
Exodus 22 [Read]
Exodus 23 [Read]
Exodus 24 [Read]
Matthew 20:17-34 [Read]
After giving the Ten Commandments, God also instructed Moses to teach His people how to live within their covenant community. The order of the so called “book of the covenant” tells us something about God. It started with human related dispute (21:2-36), followed by the instructions about the property related dispute (22:1-15), responsibilities to and justice of the community (22:16-23:9). And there laws were appropriately enclosed at both ends by the instructions about worshiping God (20:22-26, 23:10-19). I believe such arrangement provides us an idea how God wants his people to prioritize things in their life.
Within these instructions, I also notice that only a few things call for severe punishments of losing one’s life. Such cases include worshiping false god, intentional killing others, disrespect towards parents, and mistreating the widows and orphans. The inclusion of the last two items was somewhat surprising, but it clearly brings out the God pleasing ethics for his people, either in the wilderness or in today’s world. First, God wants us to respect our elders. A godly person must be a respectful person, for it is based on the character of humility displayed by our Lord himself. A disrespectful person in God’s eye deserved the same level of punishment as killing someone. Second, God wants us to show mercy to those who are in need. Since God has forgiven our debts, we are obligated to also forgive our debtors. Those who do not show mercy to others will be judged by our God like the unmerciful servant by his master (Matt 18:21-35). All Christians should pay attention to these ancient warnings.
It is coincidental (is there such thing for people of faith?) that we are reading the Matthew passage in which Jesus revealed the cup he was about to drink. It is because the laws we were reading and the sins dwell in us, Jesus had to walk the path of the cross and drink the bitter cup for us. It edifies us greatly to meditate on such grace shown by our Lord. Our God indeed is “the God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6).
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