SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- God gives explanation for how slaves should be treated. While God acknowledges slavery, it should be understood that He is not condoning it.
- God also gives rules to His people regarding basic human rights. For the most part, he is directing His people to treat others as they wish to be treated. However, there were a few direct circumstances He addresses, such as striking a pregnant woman, handling animals acting wildly, or an irresponsible worker.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- This chapter is often the subject of much debate. First, we must understand the context in which it was written. God had rescued His people from Egypt and was directing them toward their own civilization.
- With the luxury of time, we can look back and see many ways their society was very primitive and some of these rules are a good example of that. It may seem extreme to put to death anyone who dishonors their mother or father. However, can you imagine a society flourishing where the elder members of their society were disregarded and even discarded? There is a reason many leaders in our society have much life experience.
- God's people were in their infancy as a nation. Much like you might have rules for a 2-year-old that you wouldn't have for a 16-year-old, God used these laws to help shape his nation to be a blessing to the world
- Even though some of these seem harsh, the general principle is clear that God is a God who protects life. He takes seriously the violent and harsh abuse of people. You can be sure the Israelites were not treated as kindly in Egypt as God was directing them to treat their slaves.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- While we (thankfully) no longer live in a nation where slavery exists, it is estimated there are roughly 21 million slaves still in the world. God has called us to fight for human rights wherever they are being abused. What have you done lately to support the fair treatment of human's worldwide?
- Poverty was the cause of much of the slavery we read about in the Old Testament. One of the organizations we have partnered with to put an end to poverty in the world is Compassion International. Sponsoring a child through Compassion ensures that child will be fed, given and education, and taught about Jesus. You can learn more about Compassion on their website.