Exodus 22: More ordinances and rules from God. The beginning ones (verses 1-15) are about loss of property, not including slaves. We then get to what happens if a man seduces a virgins and has sex with her (he either marries her or doesn’t, but in both cases, he pays her father). Sorcery and bestiality are punishable by death. So is sacrificing to another god. Now, this is where we get into the importance of helping those in need or less fortunate than you:
- “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt” (Ex. 22.21).
- “If you lend money to my people, to the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them” (Ex. 22.25).
The notes add this little tidbit: “Concern for the disadvantaged appears repeatedly in the Pentateuch (e.g., 23.6,9–12; Lev 19.33–34; 23.22; Deut 1.16; 10.18–19; 24.17–22)” (p. 114).
I’m willing to bet that a lot of people are NOT familiar with these two ordinances from God. The first one can directly relate to current struggles in the world, especially in the US with respect to refugees. As far as I can remember, the first Americans were aliens. Perhaps this is something to think about?
Exodus 23: We get more ordinances and rules from God for most of this chapter. We see a few more references to how one should treat those less fortunate. For example, “You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in their lawsuits” (23.6) and “You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt” (23.9). We then get to God promising to destroy different groups of people to protect the Israelites as long as they continue to worship him. Not really much to say about this chapter. I just like to see more emphasis on helping those less fortunate.
Exodus 24: Moses writes down all of these ordinances and shares them with the people (24.4). But later in this same chapter we see this: “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” (24.12) So it’s unclear who actually wrote it down. No biggie though. We do learn at the end of this chapter that Moses is with god for forty days and forty nights.
Luke 21:This one starts with the story of some rich people putting gifts into the treasury followed by a poor woman putting in two small copper coins. Jesus notices this and says: “‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; ⁴ for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on’” (Luke 21.3-4). Yet another example of Jesus recognizing the poor. In this situation it is the contribution to the church from a poor woman. I do like that he doesn’t directly attack the rich people who put in money. He recognizes that her contribution will have a greater impact on her than their contribution will have on them. Good!
The rest of this chapter is about Jesus’ prediction of the end times, of all of the terrible destruction that will happen. He is talking to his disciples and he tells them to recognize these signs as his return. I do wonder how they felt when he foretold their persecutions. It would be really interesting if we could have seen this from their perspective. I wish Luke had addressed this. He pointed out in other places how his disciples push back at times or at least shared their perspective. It would’ve been interesting to see that here.