Friday, June 1, 2012

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday June 3, 2012

JUSTICE FOR ALL
(Practice GOD’s justice and mercy)
(Exodus 23:1-9)

In Exodus 23 we see a continuation of the “Covenant Code of Conduct” that GOD expected HIS “chosen community” to adhere to at all times. In verses 1-9 we see an expansion of the ninth commandment which states, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”.
In any family, organization, or nation where there is ignorance or indifference towards GOD, crime and sin will run amok. Anarchy prevails and law and order is swept aside. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a government, business, church, or private family, when we allow wickedness to thrive, we provide fuel for a downward spiral towards immorality, and a gradual slide towards an unstructured existence, much like we already see developing today in every area of our society. GOD did not mean for this to be so.
Public, and private morality, depends heavily on how well we know the Word of GOD, and how well we adhere to HIS laws. In other words, in order for this nation and its individuals to function well, we have to, first, know GOD’ ways, and then, keep HIS laws and directives that HE has set before us. Without GOD’s Word, we abandon ourselves to our own sinful ways, however, by contrast, our obedience to GOD’s Word, ultimately brings joy and peace to our lives.
Oftentimes we are surprised by the ineptness of the “human justice system”. We go to human authorities to obtain justice, but, in reality, there is no guarantee that justice will be done. True satisfying justice can only come from GOD, and GOD will certainly make things right in the end.
The reason why man’s justice is imperfect is because, man himself is imperfect. Therefore, we can’t judge other men the way GOD can, using our own methods, simply because, we’re all ourselves “men under judgment”. An unjust person is an abomination to those who seek to be upright, and obeys GOD’s law. By contrast, a person who seeks to be upright is an abomination to those who are unjust, and are always seeking out new ways to break the law (Proverbs 29:27).
The Old Testament system of justice made it incumbent upon all individuals to tell only the facts of what they knew, in order to help establish the truth involving a case. In GOD’s courtroom, there can be no wicked or unrighteous person giving a testimony, because it is highly unlikely that such a person will ever report the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
That system also warned against shaping one’s testimony to side with the majority. GOD’s courtroom does not allow for the majority to rule. GOD uses a GODly judge who will listen only to HIM, and will not be swayed by what the majority in a courtroom says or thinks.
It also warned against accepting bribes from wealthy wrongdoers, as well as, showing favoritism toward the poor. In GOD’s court there can be no partiality or favoritism between those who are rich, or those who are poor. All people must be judged fairly. We must never, knowingly, condemn an innocent person to death, and never accept bribes to have a case dismissed, or slanted in one person’s favor over another. The only way justice can prevail is by always being partial only to the truth based upon the written Word of GOD.
In the Hebrew the word “zar” is used to describe a “foreigner” or “alien” who is not related to Abraham’s family (the Jews), and the word “ger” is used to describe one who is not a member of the covenant community of Israel. We see in verse 9 of this passage, just how sensitive Old Testament Law is to a foreigner or alien. And while we know that the Israelites were charged by GOD to drive out all idol worshipping pagans from their community, resident aliens (non-Jews who chose to remain in Israel living under the laws of GOD) were to be treated with kindness.
Time and time again the Israelites are reminded in the Old Testament to reflect back on their own former “foreigner status” in the land of Egypt. They are reminded repeatedly to not treat foreigners living among them, in the same unmerciful manner as the Egyptians had treated them. GOD’s law requires HIS chosen community to kindly and mercifully interact with foreigners just as they would with their own people, always treating them fairly and justly.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Larry Dell Alexander (1953–) - Encyclopedia of Arkansas

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