Exodus 22, Job 40, Luke 4

Read Exodus 22, Job 40, and Luke 4.

This devotional is about Exodus 22.

God gave Israel two kinds of laws:

  1. Apodictic laws are broad principles like everything in the 10 commandments: “Do not lie, steal, etc. These laws typically take the form of “You shall” or “you shall not.”
  2. Casuistic laws are case laws. These laws apply the principles spelled out in the apodictic law. These laws typically take the form of “if…, then.”

After God gave the apodictic laws known as the 10 commandments in Exodus 20, he began giving Moses a series of case (or casuistic) laws. These are recorded in Exodus 21-23.

Here in Exodus 22, then, we read some specific cases where God applied his laws to Israel.

In Exodus 20 God gave the apodictic law, “Do not steal.” Here in Exodus 22, that law is applied. If someone were to steal, God required them to pay restitution (v.1). That is because God is a just God. If we want to live righteously as the people of God, we must be prepared to compensate others if we rob them of their property. This is true whether we rob them directly and intentionally (v. 1) or whether we do it through carelessness (v. 6). If you accidentally scratch someone else’s car, our desire to live a righteous life calls us to own up to what we did and to pay for the damage.

Have you done something accidentally that damaged someone else’s property? If so, go to that person, own up to what you did, and find a way to make restitution to him or her.

Whenever you encounter one of God’s broader, apodictic commands, think about the specific (casuistic) ways in which it applies to your life. Then, be sure to do, specifically, what the principle requires. This is how we apply the Bible to our lives and put it into practice through obedience.

Exodus 22, Job 40, and Psalm 70

Today we’re reading Exodus 22, Job 40, and Psalm 70.

This devotional is about Exodus 22.

The New Testament teaches us that we are not under the Law of Moses. That means we are not to try to earn saving favor with God by keeping his commands. There are two reasons why we should not try to be justified by keeping the Law:

  1. Because we can’t do it. Compared to the federal, state, and local codes we live under, God’s law is short and simple. Still, because we are sinners, none of us has obeyed it or could obey it perfectly.
  2. Because Jesus did it for us. The reason why we are declared righteous before God when we trust in Jesus is that Jesus kept the law perfectly (we call this his active obedience) and he paid the penalty for all the ways we’ve broken the laws (we call this his passive obedience).

So because we are in Christ, we do not try to earn God’s favor by keeping the law. But that doesn’t mean that the moral laws of God are irrelevant to us. In this chapter God spelled out some important laws for his people to follow. In verses 1-15, he commanded someone who deprived another person of their property to pay it back–often more than was taken. It does matter if it was outright theft (vv. 1-4) or carelessness / negligence (vv. 5-7, 10-15).

A major purpose of these (and all of God’s) laws were to set his people apart from those around them. Verse 31a says, “You are to be my holy people.” This means a people set apart from the world around them. The world around them sought to get away with stealing from others or depriving them through negligence. God wanted his people to act ethically and responsibly in these situations. Laws like these should get us to reflect on our own lives. Do we take value from others directly or refuse to pay if we take value from them inadvertently? These are sins in the sight of God just as much as they were when God’s people were in the desert.

Want to stand out in the world for the glory of Christ? Then be honest and ethical in the way you deal with others. Take responsibility and pay up when you’ve caused someone else a loss. When we do these things, are not trying to win God’s favor. Instead, God’s gracious gift of spiritual life is compelling us to be honest and ethical, pure and righteous in our dealings with others.