"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”.
The rulings contained in Exodus 21-24 provide us with a big window into the heart of the Father. How more sensible our world would be if it acknowledged God’s wisdom in His approach to government. This is the problem today with the Bible: so few ever tried it! Maybe they will one day, probably out of desperation when the best of man’s efforts will have only led to catastrophe.
For millennia the world has not been able to care for its poor. Even today, with all our sophistication all the world has to offer is a ‘slave-master’ economy based on cruel usury (Proverbs 22:7) which is forbidden in God’s eyes (Exodus 22:25-27). In the Torah, lending to the poor in need is not an option, it is a commandment witch Yeshua reiterated in, Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you (Matthew 5:42). An idea for the Messianic communities would be to emulate Jewish communities and create interest-free lending funds. As times worsen, we certainly need to pool our resources. God is generous; He cares for the downtrodden; He is One who has compassion on the poor and gives freely. We should be the same.
Another ruling that we should be careful to observe is "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people (Exodus 22:28). Miriam was afflicted with Biblical leprosy as a result of disobeying this commandment (Numbers 12). If the English wording in this verse seems strange, it is because the original Hebrew in the text of this whole chapter merges the identities of God and of ‘Judges of the people’ into one. In essence, in cursing or blessing the spiritual authority God has set upon you, you curse or bless God.
This commandment is still relevant and here is an important precedent for it. After Paul publicly reviled a corrupt Sadducee High-Priest who was trying to unjustly condemn him and had even smitten his face, the apostle apologized saying, "I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest”. Paul then justified his apology quoting from Exodus, “for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people (Acts 23:5).'" This is a condition-less commandment. Even if the ruler is curse-worthy, we are not to curse him with gossip, criticism or open challenge. Let’s say you don’t like the way things are in your congregation, after humbly presenting your point to the persons involved, if things don’t change, just leave and go where you can feel happy. It is certainly a sin to openly challenge leaders and create a mutiny. If you do it, it will surely happen to you in return, either in your congregation or in your family. God will see to it.
May we learn to live by God’s rulings; Yeshua did!