Today we’re reading Exodus 23, Job 41, and Psalm 71.
This devotional is about Exodus 23.
We all desire acceptance and approval. When we feel like the majority of people around us disagree with us on something, each of us feels a strong psychological pull to fall instep with the opinions of the majority.
Exodus 23:2-3 warn us about allowing social power to control us. Three types of situations were addressed in these verses:
- justifying a sinful action with the rationalization that “everyone is doing it” (v. 2a).
- testifying falsely in court because there are more people on one side of the dispute than on the other (v. 2b).
- letting your sympathy for a poor person cause you to hand down a verdict in court in their favor even though the facts prove that the other party in court is in the right.
Let’s focus on the first of these situations. In verse 2a, God’s command to Israel was, “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.” When groups use their power–either social power or the power of sheer numbers–to overrule what is morally right, that is sinful in the sight of God. Although we may feel a desire to do the sinful thing that they are doing or to do it just to fit in within, God’s word calls us to stand apart even if that means standing alone.
These days, social pressure is being applied to us on a host of moral issues such as cohabitation, abortion, easy divorce, affirming homosexuality or transgenderism. Political correctness mandates that we say only what is societally accepted on these and other issues. Dissent from the prevailing opinion is not allowed. Our options often feel like either to keep quiet or repeat the politically correct position as if we agree with it. Some Christians and churches have come out and affirmed the unbiblical position on these things. They follow the crowd and make it stronger. Already the Christian faith as we practice it is being labeled as bigoted and hateful. Someday–not too far off–there may be calls to censor our doctrine and prosecute our teachers and preachers for hate speech when we teach what the Bible says on these subjects.
Truth is not a matter of public opinion and that is what the laws in the early verses of Exodus 23 are designed to protect. As the Lord’s people, we need to be reminded periodically to be truth-driven, not pressure-driven or personality-driven. Next time you feel pressured to join in or go along with something unbiblical that lots of people are doing, remember what God told Israel in Exodus 23:2: “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong.”