Life of Moses Lesson 9 Day 2

Photo Credit Michael McFatridge CC

My answers to BSF study questions for Life of Moses Exodus 21:1-32

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

Comments are welcomed and appreciated.

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21 thoughts on “Life of Moses Lesson 9 Day 2

  1. We have a parent- child relationship with God. Are we not more accountable to our parents than other people? We are heirs to His throne. Jeremiah 29:11 ” for I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you…. “. Luke 2:48 “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded, and from the one who has entrusted with much, much will be asked. Jesus died for us, how much does that make us accountable!!

  2. c. Why are people God calls to a special task more accountable than others?

    I at first tied it to James 3:1. That is what at first came to my mind, but reading some of the other comments I am leaning towards a mixed answer.

    If God calls us to special tasks (commandments) We are more accountable than others (non-Christians) because we know the truth and what the commandments say. I think this is why Jesus relates to them for this day and age.

    Ps yes I am a few days behind, but absolutely LOVED these notes, so informing.

  3. I saw this question a little differently… By “specific task” I assumed they were talking about teachers, preachers, etc. Using “any Scripture passages” I was drawn to James 3:1, 2Pe2:2, Rom2:21-24 these verses speak to the responsibility these people (and all believers because we can all fit into a category if we are serving in some capacity) as representatives of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to not blaspheme Gods name among the people…just my humble thoughts…thanks for your post. Some interesting conversations. God bless!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope some will share any other views picked up from group discussion or lecture.

  4. I too was stumped by 3c.

    I tied 3b to 3c – (3b)How does this other name help you to understand why God gave such specific laws to Israel but not to other nations? (3c) Why are people God calls to a special task more accountable than others?

    specific laws (commandments) = special tasks

    Ex 21:12 You should not murder – Ex 20:13 Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death (if intentional)

    Maybe Ex 21:17 is a better example: Anyone who curses (does not honor) their father or mother is to be put to death.

    So if you’re in a nation other than Israel, maybe the parents would punish you and you’d get grounded. But if you’re an Israelite, you’d be put to death. Course I’m assuming “curse” is not fatal.

    My rationale is because the Israelites saw first hand the power of God. They are God’s treasured possession, God’s kingdom of priests and a holy nation. In other words, they should fear God and they did. Plus they said they would do whatever God told them to do.

    If someone disobeyed the commandments, then that would mean they didn’t believe God delivered them from Egypt. It would also tarnish the image of God and his Majesty before other nations. So severe punishment protects God’s image. Just like when you do something wrong and someone says “I thought you were Christian and that wasn’t a Christian thing to do”. How could other nations begin to believe in God if the Israelites showed disobedience?

    Anyway, I could be way off base here, but that’s how I translated it.

    Also, it ties in with Luke 12:48, Matt 18:6 and James 3:1. They all have to do with mis-guiding, stumbling blocks and leading others away from God.

    Question 4: I basically translated this to mean – Why did God have “The Book of the Covenant” created?

    Hope this helps…

    God Bless

    • Russ, Excellent! That makes sense. I will add an update to direct others to read the comments. Thanks again so much. Comments like yours and Candice’s are exactly what I hoped would happen here. The discussion time in class is so rushed and often dominated by a few, there is little time to cover the difficult or controversial topics.

  5. Here are some scripture passages to support question 3c if you feel that some should be more accountable than others. If I find more I’ll let you know.

    James 3:1 “Dear brothers and sisters,[a] not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

    Luke 12:48 “But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”

    • Thanks, Candice. Those are probably the verses the question is looking for. Did you figure out the tie in with the passage in Exodus?

    • Lynn I think the tie in is that those given special tasks(which ultimately are all Christians), like the Israelites, are called to be set apart, holy and priest like in their actions. So as leaders, teachers, student’s of God Word, etc God has chosen and gifted us to have a special task of being light to others in a dark world. Therefore we will be judged more strictly and we will be entrusted with much because we know the commandments of God and fear Him and only Him.

  6. those called to special jobs are held to higher “responsibility” or accoutability, such as teachers, levites, deacons, elders

    • I think the connection is “covenant”. Israel was entering into covenant with God. Like a marriage, she would bear His name. Her purpose was to make Him known to the world–Israel was chosen “from” the nations “for” the nations–to be a blessing to them by making and His glorious grace known.
      Isaiah 49:3: you are My servant–Israel–in whom I will be glorified.
      Psa. 106:7-8: He saved them for His name sake–that He might make known His mighty power.
      Isaiah 43:6-7: everyone who is called by My name–whom I created for My glory.

    • I think they got the question from the fact that the laws are dealing with accountability. If one disobeyed, say, the Law Concerning Violence, they would be held accountable and the penalty would be whichever one applied. Therefore, while we all will be held accountable for what we do (or don’t do) those called by God to a special task will be held to a stricter accountability at the Day of Judgement. Hope this helps.

    • Thanks, Laquita. Several others shared something similar. I guess word “task” is what threw me. Not the first time one of the questions stumped me, and I’m sure it won’t be that last. ;-) I appreciate all who have left a comment to help me out.