3. Exodus 21-23—Civil Law for the nation of Israel
a. Exodus 24:7— The Civil Law is also called Covenant Scroll in the HCSB and Book of the Covenant in NASB.
b. God had a special relationship with the Israelites. The law was their part of the covenant He made with them. God proved Himself faithful by delivering them from harsh slavery. “This promise of the Israelites being God’s peculiar treasure was conditional upon them obeying His voice and keeping His covenant.” Andrew Wommack
c. Why are people God calls to a special task more accountable than others?
In this passage, everyone is accountable for his or her own behavior. It seems likely, these laws addressed the issues Moses previously dealt with all day long.
- Those who took on a servant as repayment for a debt are prohibited from taking unfair advantage of the situation.
- Those who were negligent in any way such as neglecting to kill their vicious animal are accountable as stewards of that animal.
- Those who accidentally kill or injure someone are allowed to seek safety.
- Those who kill or injure someone on purpose must face a suitable consequence.
Aside from those issues, I’m having a hard time with the premise of this question. I’ve wrestled with it for two days now.
Am I reading the wrong text? Am I missing something?
This passage in Exodus doesn’t deal with God’s calling anyone. Nor are “special tasks” mentioned.
UPDATE: This question is the main search criteria that landed people on this post today. I’m obviously not the only one baffled by it.
SEE THE COMMENT SECTION following this post—Some excellent input regarding this question.
What makes a task “special” anyway?
Aren’t all believers called to a special task? Or is a task special only if it has the word “minister” or “ministry” after it?
We are all accountable as spouses, parents, caregivers, neighbors, employers, employees, etc. We are responsible for our behavior and for those in our care.
Some of the laws sound harsh, but before the new birth, a person’s nature was not expected to change.
Jesus totally reversed the eye for an eye instructions in Matthew 5:38-41 — “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”
d. At first I supposed this question is trying to get at the idea of pastors and other leaders being held accountable for gross misdeeds that mislead or cause their followers to sin or turn away. I didn’t understand how that tied to the scripture text.
Certainly, God holds all believers accountable. The parable of the talents is a New Covenant example. In that example, the expected return is relative to the task given.
Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I was privy to the ugly inner workings of religious institutions. As an adult, I’ve attended several now-defunct churches whose pastors, their wives, deacons, etc. committed gross misconduct and abuse of the congregation. I could give some specifics that would make your head spin.
I know God forgives us in situations like these, but then there’s this—”but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6
Lord, help me never be one of those. And please forgive me because I probably have been.
I commend all of you Bereans who are diving into Bible study and not just idolizing or blindly following someone who tells you what to believe.
Again, thank you to those who left comments.
4. God’s concern in the laws in exodus 21:1-32 —
- Issues of fairness
- Responsibility for preventing rogue animals from hurting others
- Responsibility for reckless behavior
- Personal liability