Lessons from the Law: God and Social Justice

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I hit 100 blog followers this week…what?? Thank you so much to all of you wonderful followers! It means so much to me that you take the time to read what I have to say, and I hope it continues to be an encouragement to you!

So far in this series, I’ve covered the sacrificial laws and the building instructions. There’s another major category I have yet to talk about: the social laws, the laws for justice and equality. To get a sense of what I’m talking about, read Exodus 23:1-9.

These are the laws that provided for order in the community, for justice and fairness. They seem mundane, addressing issues like being a court witness, lost animals, dealing with bribes. After talking about the glorious symbolism of the sacrificial system, what’s the point of these? After all, the civil law of the Bible is kinda obsolete. It’s not the civil law of the modern world. Why do we need to know it?

Because of what it teaches us about God’s character. There’s one big thing we can learn from all of these social laws: God cares about justice. 

In fact, the only hope for true social justice lies in God. All the people in our world today who are trying to cure world hunger and get rid of poverty and everything else? Those are noble goals. But they can never be accomplished by fallen humans.

Christianity is the key to true social justice: because being a Christian means loving others, treating them better than ourselves, and believing in the dignity and worth of every human being.

What better foundation for social reform could there be than that? 

Christianity’s social reform is perfectly consistent. Christianity’s social reform is based on eternal things. Christianity’s social reform will succeed when all else fails because it has God behind it. And when it doesn’t succeed in this world, there is always the hope of heaven to look forward to.

In these social justice laws of the Old Testament, we see the foundation of Christianity’s belief in loving others and caring for others. God is justice, and nowhere do we see that better than in the law books. That’s what laws are all about, after all; protecting the innocent and prosecuting the guilty. And that structure ultimately came from God, not men.

That’s why we read the civil law of the Old Testament: because it came straight from God, and it shows us what God values and cares about. And our goal as Christians should always, always be to learn more about the character of God.

love, grace

What do you think? What else have you learned about God’s character from the law books? Share in the comments!

 

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Lessons from the Law: 2 Truths About Worship

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Sorry I didn’t post last week! I was in a show all weekend and just didn’t manage to get something up. 

I think the hardest passages in the entire Bible to get through, besides the genealogies, are the passages with building instructions like the ones in Exodus 25-28. Why do we need to know things like the measurements of the altar or what kind of wood it was made out of? What could that possibly have to do with the message of redemption or instruction for the Christian life?

But God put everything in the Bible for a reason, and there are things to be learned from even the longest passages of measurements and materials. Here are two of them.

1. God cares about how we worship.

The sheer volume of details in the Old Testament about worship rituals and the appearance of the temple should say something to us about our worship. God takes it seriously; therefore we should take it seriously.

Worship is not something to be glossed over, or done however we feel like it at the time. Our worship time is sacred. We are in the presence of God! Worship is a gift, and we should have a sense of the privilege and the gravity of that gift and take the details of it seriously.

In Christ, of course, we no longer have to follow a specific set of regulations and rituals, and there are many “right ways” to worship God. But the principle still stands: we are to put time and thought into how we worship.

2. Worship may not make sense to outsiders.

Sometimes I was reading along in these passages and came across something that sounded really ridiculous. (For example, the ritual described in Exodus 29 where the priests were consecrated by having blood put on the tips of their ears and their thumbs, etc.)

If you think about it, these sacrificial rituals that we read about and are familiar with might have seemed really strange to nations looking in from the outside. But everything God commanded had symbolic significance and a purpose. The same is true today. God’s commandments and the way we live our lives in worship to Him may not always look normal in the eyes of the world. But everything God commands has a purpose, and is for our good and His glory.

Those are just two truths I gleaned from reading about the worship of the Old Testament. I’m sure there is much more to be discovered if you prayerfully do a little digging!

love, grace

What do you think? What has God taught you about worship lately? Do you agree with my points or have anything to add? Share in the comments! 

Read more:

A Day of Rest, Joy, and Worship

A Day of Rest, Joy, and Worship, part 2: My Experience

 

Lessons from the Law: Don’t Ignore the Old Testament!

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What Bible verses do you see quoted most often?

John 3:16, perhaps. Psalm 23. Jeremiah 29:11. 1 Corinthians 13. I’m sure many others come to mind, verses that every Christian falls back on. And it’s true that those verses are the Word of God, wonderful, beautiful, and greatly encouraging in hard times.

But you know what else is also the wonderful, beautiful Word of God?

Exodus. Leviticus. Numbers. Deuteronomy.

If you cringed as you read that, this series is for you.

Why Read the Old Testament?

Many Christians dread reading the Old Testament, especially those first few books that are full of Israel’s laws. So we float around in the New Testament, with maybe some Psalms thrown in for good measure, and somehow never get around to truly reading and understanding the Law.

It’s true that Jesus fulfilled the law of Israel, that we are under a new covenant after his death and resurrection. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important for us anymore.

As I read through the law at the beginning of this year, I tried to come to it with an open mind, and God taught me so many amazing things because of that. The purpose of this series is to share them with you, to help you see the purpose of the Law and its place in the Bible.

Because nothing in the Bible is junk. God gave the entire Bible to us, every single word, for a reason. It is ALL meant to encourage, convict, instruct. I want to fall in love with the entire Bible, and I want you to fall in love with it too.

What We’ll Learn

Over the course of the next few months, we’ll learn about:

The Old Testament sacrificial system and how it points to Jesus

The cleansing laws and how they point to Jesus

Worship in the Old Testament and what we can learn from it

Equality in the law and how amazing it is

How to get started reading the law for yourself

I hope you’re as excited for this series as I am! I can’t wait to share the things I learned as I read through the law, especially Exodus and Leviticus, and to explore how this often-ignored part of the Bible is full of wonderful truth.

love, grace

What do you think? Do you avoid reading the Old Testament? What has God taught you from the law books? Is there anything you want me to cover that wasn’t listed above? Let me know in the comments! 

Read more:

How I Enjoyed Reading Deuteronomy

24 Resolution Ideas for Christian Teens

How to Take Sermon Notes