Archive for category Justice
Most of these appear pretty similar to our own laws on these subjects with the exception of the commandment for a woman who was not promised in marriage to marry the man who raped her. Now the father of the woman could say no to this marriage. But, I wonder if they are using the term rape more broadly than we do. We define most rape as forcible action against someone’s will, except in the case of children. But this law makes it appear they may be using it for any sexual activity that happened between an unmarried woman and man. Also, the rule that a couple who were married under these circumstances could not divorce, seems to support the idea that the sexual immorality that one could divorce for under Moses’ law was sexual sins committed before marriage.
The punishment stated for stealing, paying back what was taken plus 20% in most cases, seems like a better solution than putting people in jail and not requiring restitution. But maybe that’s just me.
The law of Moses’ anticipated the people’s request to have a human king. The people didn’t understand how great they had it with God as their king and not a man, in part because having no human king, they felt they could do anything they wanted. They used their freedom under God to follow their own desires rather than the good of others. This is an important concept when it comes to the freedom we have in Christ. The New Testament teaches Christ frees us from sin to serve others, not our selfish desires.
God commanded the kings not to accumulate wives, property and wealth from the people. Oh boy, if government would only listen to this. Have you ever noticed that politicians who go to Washington for long periods of time, become very wealthy on incomes just over 100k? God also said the king was supposed to follow the law himself, why do rulers and congressman often exempt themselves from the very laws they create?
The rules for establishing a judicial system was simple and direct. The average person could understand how and why judges were to rule, not so today! The judicial system is ruled and operated by the same group of people (lawyers), who seem to make their own rules as it suits them.
The LORD the God of Israel, Isaac, and Abraham is the God of gods and Lord of lords. I love this section where Moses explains this concept to Israel (Deut 10:14-11:1). Moses explains to Israel that God shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. How then is God’s guidance to Israel not partiality? Moses explains this as well; God loves the aliens, meaning those outside of Israel, and He defends the fatherless and widows, meaning He is actively involved in the lives of everyone. He loves all mankind unconditionally as proven by the love he has for the aliens as well as Israel. And we are not competing for God’s love either as children often do for parents love. He has enough love to share with all people, the only question for us is will we circumcise our hearts, or in other words, will we stop being rebellious children who want what we want when we want it and instead love God and love our neighbor? This is the ultimate challenge God presents to Israel, elevate the importance of others rather than the importance of our desires.
Yet, God will judge all mankind, those who have heard the word of the LORD as well as those who have not. So what advantage is there to hearing the word of God? Paul writes in the book of Romans that there is much in every way. But, Jesus also said that to whom much is given much is required, meaning the more we know the more is expected. In other words the standard by which we are judged changes depending on the knowledge and capabilities with which we are blessed. That also explains why James writes that not many of us ought to be teachers since we will receive a stricter judgment. God judges us on based upon what what we know and are capable of, not a fixed standard or a comparative standard, but a righteous standard for me and you.
Though the love of God is unconditional and the judgment of God always righteous, the blessings of God, are conditional. When we obey He blesses, when we disobey He curses. See Dt 11:26-32. We sometimes wonder why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people, but often the time frame for blessing or cursing has a longer view than one’s life. For example, the blessing of Jesus was promised to Abraham through his descendants, but didn’t happen for approximately 1800 years. Likewise, the curse of exile from the land if Israel practiced idolatry took centuries to be fulfilled in Babylonian captivity. Ultimately the curse of being cast away from God for eternity is the final judgment we hope to avoid.
Remember God is always with you, walk with Him and He will make your way prosper. (By the way, prosperity isn’t always money)
Even though Balaam could not curse Israel, he did the next best thing as far as the enemies of Israel were concerned. He taught Midian and Moab to go to war using seduction and idolatry instead of direct conflict. This story should hit all of us as coming straight from Satan’s playbook. If our faith in God can’t be defeated by direct argument, then Satan will help us fall using our own desires against us.
The women of Midian that entice Israel into idolatry and sexual immorality may be Temple prostitutes that practice sex in their rituals to Baal. You will notice the passage says the sexual immorality happened after the women had invited the men to participate in their sacrifices to their gods. They practiced sexual activity as sacrifices and offerings to their gods, especially this god which was a fertility god.
The response from God and Israel against Midian sometimes troubles people, but the planned attack on Israel by Midian was warfare of a different type and it caused 24,000 people in Israel to die. The response may seem harsh to us, but we don’t understand , as God does, the consequences of little or no action. Every action or lack of action has consequences that is impossible for us to foresee. But God has demonstrated he knows how to deliver his people, especially in Egypt.
It strikes me that justice and righteousness were scarce things in Canaan during this period of time. It seems like people did whatever they thought they could get away with, and since there appears to be no authority larger than a small town, everybody did what was right in their own eyes. It is clearly difficult for us to understand the culture that Jacob and his family live in, but even with that said, how could Shechem think raping Dinah was an effective way to make her his wife? Shechem must not have been a very big city if two men Simeon and Levi could kill all of the men and take everything in their households.
Jacob moves to Bethel at God’s command, you probably don’t want to stay near the relatives of the families your sons just slaughtered. Rachel dies after giving birth to Benjamin, and she was buried on the way to Bethlehem. I wonder what Isaac was doing while living in Hebron all the years that the scriptures focus on Jacob and the growth of his family. Jacob’s life seems filled with trickery and deception, only appropriate, I guess, since he cheated and lied to gain the birthright and blessing of his father. I am reminded that even though we might be forgiven by God for our sin, we still usually face the consequences of what we do in this life.
God was so angry at mankind because their behavior caused Him to feel tremendous sorrow. This is a great reminder that what we do matters to God, and when we behave badly He feels the grief just as parents do when their children behave wickedly.
And yet He gave them 120 years until the end of mankind would come. But why 120 years?
Some of my thoughts:
- To give Noah enough time to build the big wooden box he and his family would live in for a year? That would have been quite a task, the size described is huuuuge.
- Maybe God gave some individuals enough time to pass away naturally before he brought destruction on the rest? Kind of like when He told Abraham that his descendants would receive the land of Israel 400 years later when the iniquity of the inhabitants was full.
The law God gave to Noah of life for life. I don’t understand why so much of the world can’t understand this basic principle, that execution for killing human beings is a just penalty. It doesn’t mean people can’t be forgiven by God, but in our nations we need to practice justice as best we can for everyone’s sake.