Richard Agee

Exodus 22-23: Judgments teach us about God

Richard AgeeThe judgments that God gave Moshe (Moses) to teach the Israelite people tell us a lot about God’s character and personality. We learn how God sees us as well. It’s a difficult section to go through because these judgments cover so many issues that aren’t related directly to one another but these things have been written down for us to learn. These judgments are written for us so we can avoid incurring them on ourselves. 

There’s a lot more to the Law than the 10 Commandments. There seems to be a different way of looking at things here. How would we avoid these type of judgments? The fear of the Lord is in these judgments.

If a person breaks into a house at night, and the owner of the home kills them, the owner has no blood on their hands but if a thief breaks into a home in broad daylight and they can be clearly seen and they are killed by the owner, the owner of the home has blood on his hands. If the thief is caught, he is to pay back what he stole but if he has nothing to pay back, he is supposed to be sold to pay the debt. 

Let’s move on the judgment on treatment of “the other”:

“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 22:21)

The Israelites were gerim, or strangers, in Egypt and they are not to treat the ger in their land the way they were treated in Egypt, with oppression and violence. 

“You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.” (Ex. 22:21–24)

It’s easy to avoid these judgments by not doing these things that God hates. This is God’s love for the widow and orphan that He is their defense, not the courts or the society. If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest.

“If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body. What else shall he sleep in? And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious.” (Ex. 22:25–27)

These rules are to protect God’s people. If you are a part of Israel, you are to treat your fellow Israelite the way God tells you to. If you don’t God’s judgement will be upon you. 

“You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.” (Ex. 22:29–30)

Yeshua was taken to the Temple on the eighth day to be circumcised and to give Him to God. Samuel, the prophet, was Hannah’s first-born son, he was not redeemed, he was given to God. 

“You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice.” (Ex. 23:2)

This applies to any gang, any type of riot, flash mob intent on evil. You do not even support it vicariously through your verbal support. 

The next sentence is very important, which says “nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute” (Ex. 23:3). Even if the mobs are poor or they are rioting in support of a poor person’s cause, you are not to support it. There is nothing about “social justice,” in which the disadvantaged are given preferential bias at court. The rich man and the poor man are equal before the law. We are to be in the world, not of it. 

“Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.” (Ex. 23:13)

We are to put a hedge around everything God says because we are to be inside God’s protection, not outside. We are not to look at issues from “all angles” but from God’s angle. When you look at issues from “all angles” put you in danger of compromising God’s rules with the world’s “justice.” 

“You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the LORD your God.” (Ex. 23:19)

The beginning of the harvest is to be brought to God but you are to bring these harvests at the proper time. As the second part of this verse says, “You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother.” You are not to bring a young goat (or any young animal) before its seven days of nursing are completed. Zealousness for God’s law is not an excuse to bump up that timetable. 

“Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” (Ex. 23:20)

Who is preparing this place? There were six nations in this land and God used them to prepare the land for His people. 

“Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him.” (Ex. 23:21) 

It is not this angel’s job to grant mercy, that’s God’s job. If they obey the angel’s voice, God will be on their side and prepare the way by cleaning out the land of the wicked, idolatrous people and bringing Israel in. The angel will be on their side when they are on God’s side, but if the people reject God and are no longer on His side, the angel will not help them. 

In Daniel 12, we are told about an angel named Michael (“Who Is Like God”) who will stand up and fight for Israel. Angels have power, remember Gabriel was able to mute Zachariah’s mouth for nine months when he expressed doubt of his prophesy. Even animals see the angels and obey them, like Balaam’s donkey. Sometimes animals have more sense than humans do. 

This is an interesting section and it can be a hard section to go through because these judgments cover so many issues that aren’t related directly to one another but these things have been written down for us to learn. These judgments are written for us so we can avoid incurring them on ourselves. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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