Body: Read Exodus 23:1-2 I. Alliances. There are laws against bearing false witness. And there are laws against following a crowd into wrong doing.
Applications – - Lying. Notice in vs. 1 of the Sunday School material the teaching against false reports or lying. There are too many who pacify their conscious and or try to calm the grieving of the Holy Spirit by calling some lies, “white lies.”
The truth of the matter is that a lie is a lie, a deception is a deception. Let’s make sure we avoid the sin of being involved in lying. Sometimes we can tell the lie or spread the false report. Sometimes we can help by giving witness or support to the false report.
Think about the false reports of Black being better than White or White being better Black. Think about the pressure to support a friend in wrong doing – covering for them on the job, covering for them with an inquiring spouse, etc.
- Following God’s will or the crowd. Notice in vs. 2 of the Sunday School material the teaching against following a crowd into wrong doing. Some of us learned as a child that what everyone else was doing was not an excuse for us to do it.
If our parents told us to be in the house by a certain time or not to cheat on a test then our talking about what everyone else was doing was not very helpful. It is important for us to follow the principles of God’s word, instead of simply following the crowd.
Matthew 7:13-14 implies that that crowd is often wrong; thus, they have a wide gate to destruction compared to a small gate to life. Let’s work on follow God’s will, instead of simply following the crowd.
Baptist believers would do well to remember that a majority may have a right to govern, but it doesn’t mean that they are right.
Read Exodus 23:3-5 II. Compassion. There are laws about not showing favoritism to a poor person. And there are laws about doing the right thing towards even those who are your enemies.
Applications – - Judicial favoritism. Notice in vs. 3 of the Sunday School material that there should be no favoritism in the administering of justice. If a poor person murders someone, it is as much a crime as if a middle-class or rich person murdered someone.
No one gets a pass for doing wrong. This seems to be a timely application as many urban churches try to make a positive impact on reducing violence in our communities.
No matter how poor a person is or dysfunctional one’s family may be, murder cannot go unpunished. Let’s work on avoiding the sin of favoritism in administering justice.
- Behavioral love. Notice in vss. 4-5 of the Sunday School material the high bar of right living. It is one thing to tell the truth in a court setting. It is something different to act kindly towards those who are your enemies and who hate you.
But yet God is calling His people to such a high level of living. This application challenges us to not only get our emotions right towards people but to also get our behavior right.
God doesn’t only want us to say we love one another, but He wants us to behave accordingly. Such behavior includes helping with day to day challenges. Let’s behave like we love one another.
Read Exodus 23:6-9 III. Justice. There are laws against denying justice to the poor. Putting an innocent man to death will lead to God’s lack of acquitting the wrong doer. Taking bribes and oppressing aliens are prohibited.
Applications – - Bribes. Notice in vs. 8 of the Sunday School material the call to avoid accepting bribes. Whatever people offer us, it cannot compare to what God offers. God can bless us more than people can bless us. And God’s punishment can make the blessings of people of no value.
In other words, what good is a money and position, if God withhold peace of mind and joy and then sends pain into our lives? What good is money, if God puts holes in our pockets? Let's avoid being a recipient or distributor of bribes. We are charged to stand on the truth.
- Aliens. Notice in vs. 9 the call to avoid oppressing the aliens. This is a timely application with so many Mexicans, Haitians, and others coming to America with and without legal papers.
On one hand, a person cannot simply come to America and expect to receive the privileges of citizenship without going through the proper procedures. On the other hand, there is a humane way to treat even those who are here illegally.
Let’s pray for the wisdom and courage to do the right thing with those who may be described as aliens. There are millions of people whose American citizenship is questioned (e.g., children born in America to those who were illegally here).
Conclusion: Let’s work on living justly. God has much for those who obey His will.
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