"Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly" by Bob Donohue
Text: Exodus 21:1-23:9
Romans 2:28-29, “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.”
We engage in politics, but we do not entrust ourselves to the outcome.
Christians are, or should be when they are not, the best citizens of every country.
Revelation 11:15, “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.'”
Mark 12:17, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
1. Slavery, Exodus 21:2-6
2. Personal Injury, Exodus 21:22-25
3. Property Damage, Exodus 22:7-9
4. Treatment of Sojourners/Immigrants and the Poor, Exodus 22:21-27; Bob’s brother-in-law, who lived in China, told him about how old women there would fall off a bus, and people would just step over them instead of helping.
1. Fairness Towards Neighbors. God’s law in Exodus is not as concerned about public structures and policy as it is about taking personal responsibility for the mistakes we make.
2. Compassion Towards the Vulnerable
Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.” — Why did David say that he delights in the Law? It’s not so much because of the first list above, but because of His compassion toward the vulnerable.
There are many differences between the ethnic, forced, immoral slavery in American history and what we see here, such as Ex. 21:16, which would require the death of a slave trader, and anyone who is in possession of someone purchased from a slave trader. Abducting another human being is deplorable to God. This is why “slave” in the Bible is sometimes translated “indentured servant”, because it wasn’t forced. It was voluntary. It enabled people to get out of debt, to be employed, and even to become part of a household. But it also had great potential for abuse. For that reason, God puts a limit on those with power and means by giving a slave freedom after six years of service (Ex. 21:2).
Exodus 21:7-8, “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.”
Psalm 40:6-8; This is about Jesus, and parallels Ex. 21:5-6. He became like us, married us when we were slaves, and was pierced by the Father to remain with us.
In God’s kingdom, our obedience comes from being revolutionized by what the Lord has done for us. You must know the heart of a sojourner. Do you remember what it was like? Do you remember living under the tyranny of slavery? The entire law begins with these words, “You were in the house of slavery.” You were in bondage. You were in sin. You were the vulnerable. You were the poor. You were the destitute. Do you remember that? Do you remember the heart of a sojourner, when you didn’t have a home, when you didn’t belong to God, when you were an orphan and without a home? Do you remember that? You must have that heart. You must be deeply affected by the gospel which says, “You didn’t deserve love! You didn’t deserve adoption!” The law stood against you and had condemned you. Do you remember living under that? Do you remember the guilt? Do you remember the emptiness? Do you remember the hopelessness?
When we ponder all of the requirements of scripture, this is the starting place: You were a sojourner. You were lost. The more we rehearse that, believe that, don’t forget that, and don’t move on from that, the more amazed, grateful, and obedient we will be. That is the driver of all of these laws. So the master doesn’t wake up and say, “What does the law say that I’m supposed to do again?” No! He thinks, “Granddad was a slave in Egypt. Why aren’t I?”
Only the heart of a sojourner, of a slave, can show mercy. It’s only in being aware that God was compassionate to us that we can extend that compassion to others.