Going through today’s reading made me realise more that the instructions God gave the Israelites were to protect everyone.
I wonder the difference between when a burglar breaks in during the day and at night in 22:4? For the former, God says the Israelites are guilty of murder, and the latter they are not — in both cases, where the burglar is killed. Could it be because they could identify the burglar easily by day?
You can see how God expects the Israelites to be careful with others possessions. You can be careless even when doing someone a favour. It’s better to say no than accept responsibility and be careless about it.
22:21 says, ‘Do not mistreat or abuse foreigners who live among you. Remember, you were foreigners in Egypt’. It is repeated in 23:9. This is very important. When my daughters changed schools, my older who moved to junior high, struggled to make friends and felt lonely. When she told me about this, one of the things I told her was that when there is a new student in their school, she should make sure the person doesn’t feel that way. She should check in on that person once in a while to know if they are settling in ok. While I empathised with her, I told her sometimes, when we go through stuff, one of the lessons is to ensure we behave better to others who would be in our shoes later on.
In talking about justice for all, God said not to favour the poor simply because they are poor (23:3). It means everyone should be judged, irrespective of their status, fairly. 23:6 talks about equal justice for the poor. This is so true today, in two ways. People come down really hard at rich people and question their wealth. if there is an issue between a rich person and an average person, the tendency is to support the latter. Some also begin to question the rich's source of wealth. I am not oblivious to the fact that some do absurd things to get rich, but their are genuine people and I wonder if it is a crime to be rich. The second is also not to favour the rich above the poor. It is why the bible says judges should not take a bribe (23:8) as it would skew their judgement. I like that God balanced this.
A lot of what we are reading are pretty valid today, even though we may not be able to relate to some of the death sentences allowed back in those days.
God talks about rest again in 23:10. There is a place for rest, and it is for our benefit. We humans need to stop these bragging rights about not resting. I recently started fasting from my phone once to twice a week. I love the rest and tranquility I feel, not having to worry about emails, work notifications, news and all. God commanded even the animals to rest in 23:12. 🙂
In 23:20–31, God said he’ll make certain nations run from the Israelites, but what stood out to me was in verses 29 -30 was that God said he won’t do it at once, but little by little, so the land doesn’t become poor. Process! It struck me that we humans are not patient, and we often want to move from 1 to 100 quickly. In building, there is something like trying to grow too fast. It was one of the lessons I had to learn as a business owner. We expanded our company so fast that we were forced to slow down at some point. All these lessons are in how God has done his things. Wow! This does also applies to new habits we want to develop or any new skill. Once of the reasons we give up is because we want to to be perfect or be a professional overnight. Little by little…
In Chapter 24, we read that the Israelites agree to obey what God has said. I am learning here in 24:9–11 that not only Moses saw God, but the seventy elders did and were not punished. It’s new information to me 🙂 God is merciful.
Moses then went up to Mount Sinai to be with God for forty days and nights.