Dear God, You are my anchor of hope in the storms of life. My hope is in Your grace and truth.
Read Exodus 21:1-11
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.
Jesus said that the way we treat the needy and the vulnerable reveals our attitude to him (Matt. 21:28-46). We need to show respect and care to everyone, without exceptions.
The next few chapters (21-24), sometimes called the Book of the Covenant, deal with civil matters whose details may not apply to us but whose principles may well be relevant. We believe in the rule of law, but that must be qualified by careful scrutiny of the laws that are made. Some societies confuse the rule of law for rule by law. New laws should be carefully examined, not the least for any unintended consequences.
The first section deals with a form of slavery which differs from the Afro-American slave trade. In the first place it only lasted seven years and then the slave was set free. The slave never lost his value as a human being or as a Hebrew. Life becomes more complicated if a slave marries while serving his time and his wife was given to him by his master. He is free, but not his wife or children. Of course he could delay his marriage until he secured his freedom, but if he chose not to do so, he could choose to remain a slave. Here it becomes an employment option and an appropriate piercing is given to mark this free choice for life.
As with much else, there is a different procedure for women, but they too are not without their rights. A female slave can be sold if the arrangement is not working. If marriage results to a member of the family then her rights are secured, whether the marriage works or breaks down. In many ways this is early employment legislation and is more enlightened than much of what transpired thousands of years later! Slavery may be a person’s role but it never defines who they are. Nor does it ever justify cruelty or neglect. Consideration and care are requirements under the law.
How do these laws show a concern for fairness and justice? How do they show a concern for the poor and oppressed? What personal lessons have you leaned from the principles outlined in this passage?
Lord, help me to see everyone through Your eyes, to appreciate, help and encourage. Save me from labeling and dismissing people.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.