After the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, God proceeds to outline in chapters 21-23 the way He wants the people of Israel to arrange their social life with one another. In the verses we are looking at, God is especially concerned with the way His people treat their neighbors, especially the most vulnerable. There are at least two reasons for this.
First of all, because God Himself is a God who cares deeply about the poor and oppressed. Again and again God identifies Himself as the God of the orphan, widow and oppressed. God wants his people to share His character. In a world of injustice and corruption, God wants His people to live as a community of justice among the nations.
Secondly, God wants His people to remember that they too have been in a vulnerable position, and they must treat others in the way that God has treated them. As He says to them in 23:9, “You shall not oppress a foreigner, for you know the heart of the foreigner, for you too were a foreigner in the land of Egypt.”
We’ll learn this week about what it would mean for us as a community to become more of a people of justice who reflect God’s character to our city and world.
Our weekly Worship Guide can be downloaded by clicking the image below.
For an overview of the Preparing a People sermon series, click HERE.
21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.
25 “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.
28 “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.
29 “Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.
“You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 30 Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.
31 “You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.
1 “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.
2 “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, 3 and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit. 4 “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. 5 If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. 6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. 8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent. 9 “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
Notes on our Worship Space:
The Cross, the Font, the Table, the Book
As we explore what it means to be the people of God, we have positioned these four symbols prominently to remind us of God’s faithfulness and where we find life, hope and our identity. The cross speaks of Jesus’ atoning death, the Font speaks of the new life he gives us through baptism, the Table speaks of our resurrected Savior who continues to gather us around his table of grace, and the Bible speaks of our source of authority and comfort as God speaks through his living word even today.
The 10 banners hanging in the sanctuary represent the messages in our series on Exodus. It is not just the spoken word but the creative, visual word that tells us of God’s love and faithfulness. See if you can guess which banner goes with which story! Many thanks to the team of Third artists who put them together: Mark Sprinkle, Holly Smith, Kathy Ames and Sarah Hale.