Living Holy Lives
God, as I ready today’s passage, help me to notice and ponder one area in particular and then take it on board for myself.
Read Exodus 22:16–31
16 “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. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.
18 “Do not allow a sorceress to live.
19 “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal is to be put to death.
20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.
21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.
25 “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. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 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.
28 “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.
29 “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.
“You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 30 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.
31 “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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat area of life do you need improvement in? Relationships? Work ethic? Truthfulness?
Today’s selection of laws range over several issues loosely related to how we interact with one another in daily life. They are given a kind of theme in the final statement that “you are to be my holy people” (31), which is the first time holiness has been emphasized in the laws of Exodus apart from in connection with the Sabbath being holy.
Holy living, according to this part of the chapter, requires trustworthy speech and action and turning away from spiritual powers other than the God of Israel.
What could it mean for Christians today to take verse 25 seriously? This verse addressed local small-scale loans (26) but clearly points towards a negative general view of “lending at interest.” But imagine a church where people pooled their financial resources by loaning to each other at zero interest: younger people could be enabled to buy houses, and temporary needs could be met by exchanging resources.
Churches that have tried this idea find that it ends up being a radical reorganization of aspects of our society. Could Exodus have had that in mind? A little holiness could spread a long way.
Are you worrying about a practical problem? Take small steps of faithfulness today and let God care for where it goes from there.
My Friend, I praise You that You are interested in the big issues and the small details of my life. Show me how to honor You in all I do.
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