Holy God, help me to hear Your voice today. May Your Word make a difference in every aspect of my life.
Read Exodus 22:16-31
 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.  If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.  “Do not allow a sorceress to live.  “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal is to be put to death.  “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.  “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.  “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.  If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.  My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.  “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.  If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset,  because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.  “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.  “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. “You must give me the firstborn of your sons.  Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.  “You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow is God's mercy shown in these verses?
This passage, like others this week, gives more examples about how to apply the Ten Commandments in different and wider contexts–especially around one’s behavior and lifestyle. So if a man takes a woman’s virginity (16,17), that’s theft (20:15). Putting God first comes with an expectation about how we live as well as what we say (20:3,4). God wants the Israelites to have compassion for the vulnerable (21-27), and to honor God with their money and with their possessions (28-31). Jesus summarizes it even more simply, that we should love God and love our neighbor (Matt. 22:37,38). This passage is full of examples of how to apply the principles of the Ten Commandments in a society in a time of transition. Not all will have been relevant to everyone. In our context today, which are the areas that you are being challenged to explore and apply in light of the ten guidelines from God? It might be about a Christian attitude to business, toward asylum-seekers, or migrant workers; about how to dedicate our “first fruits” to God; or where God is in our priority list for time and money.
Today–at home or at work–pray that you will be willing to apply God’s guidelines about loving him and your neighbor.
Lord Jesus, help me to have persistence and passion. You have promised that they will bring results for Your glory.
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