Exodus 22 continues the list of laws and rules for the people. They cover a number of scenarios: “steals…..breaking in……grazed over…..fire (arson)”. Many of these involve property or livestock which were precious to people in that day. Those things were what allowed them to make a living and feed their families. They address money and the relationship between people when borrowing or caring for another’s property. At first these laws and rules may seem like they are totally irrelevant to today. But we get to the root of a few key areas as we read on.
Scripture defines many of these as a “breach of trust” between people. That is serious business. Life is filled with lots of relationships and actions based on trust. In our culture, for the most part it works well. In some cultures that is not the case. But trust happens between people when we rely on each other for a certain outcome. When that trust is broken, it is a serious problem. And God cares about it too. He insists here on restitution and making things right.
As we go on through the chapter we get to some areas that are near and dear to God’s heart. “If a man seduces a virgin…..he shall…..pay….and make her his wife”. Now that would change things wouldn’t it. If there were personal responsibility for the way people engage in sexual activity to the point that they were required to take care of the situation they create. Sex is not a casual thing in God’s eyes.
As the chapter draws to a close we get a good picture of God’s heart. There are some things very important to Him. “You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child….lend money to any of my people with you who is poor….you shall not exact interest”. God has a heart for the widows, orphans, poor and hungry. We see that throughout scripture. We need to pay attention on our journey through scripture to understand just how important these folks are to Him and what His expectations are for us to respond. Are you serving these people in your patch?