The laws God gave to Moses in Exodus were not just “do’s and don’ts”. There were also guidelines to help them live healthier and safer, and to help them know how to treat their neighbors, and strangers, justly. At this time, there were perhaps two million Israelites, so they were going to have disputes and problems!
This passage stood out to me this morning:
“You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.” ~ Exodus 23:2-3
Sometimes things seem so skewed, but justice must be done. We may want someone to win a dispute simply because they need help or are weaker or are hurting, but if it isn’t just, then it will cause worse problems in the end. Now, it is not wrong to show mercy and grace to others, and we can do that one on one with the people we come in contact with daily, and we should. But we cannot favor someone over another when it comes to justice, or else an injustice will be done. Tough stuff to understand and to think about. Good thing God knows best!
Later, He gave His people this promise, if only they would follow Him and not serve other gods:
“‘But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.'” ~ Exodus 23:25-26
Wow, if only they had stayed faithful to God! Food, water, no sickness, lots of healthy babies, and long lives… But unfortunately, as we know from reading the rest of the Old Testament, they turned away from Him, time after time after time after time. He dealt justly with them, and they suffered some harsh consequences, but He also gave them His love, mercy and grace, time after time after time after time.
Thank you, God, for being just, but also for being “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth” ~ Exodus 34:6b