In our text for this morning, the giving of the covenant concludes with an epilogue. As the Lord gives the Law, the Lord has again and again stressed obedience. But this passage is also about what God will do for his covenant people. In this epilogue to the covenant, we see what God will do for Israel if they keep covenant. That stipulation is important.
Worship is vital in Yahweh’s covenant with Israel. There is nothing more important than God. There is no being higher than God. There is no one more deserving of worship than the one true God. For these reasons, God surrounds all of Israel’s life in covenant community with the priority of worship. In Ex 23, we see how central worship is in God’s covenant with Israel. Israel is not a secular nation. She is a sacred nation, a kingdom of priests, and God demands not only her obedience, but her worship. This text from the old covenant teaches us how essential worship is for man.
Today, we see that the Lord wants his people to magnify his justice. He wants his people to uphold and protect justice. He wants his justice, as much as is humanly possible, to reflected in the resolution of disputes among his people.
This morning, we see several times where Yahweh demands that his people be like himself, the God of the covenant. This is our focus on as we look at the Scriptures this morning, to notice the link between Israel’s Law and God’s will that his people be like him. For the purposes of structure, I’ve divided our text into three different ideas.
The passage before us this morning is in the middle of what Ex 21:1 calls the rules of God’s covenant with Israel. After God spoke the Decalogue to Israel from Sinai, Israel pleaded with Moses that he be their mediator so that they no longer had to listen to God. Following laws about altars, Ex 21:1 introduces the long section we are now in.This morning, we consider more of these rules. In particular, we will look at God’s laws concerning restitution
It is fitting that the Lord begins his rules in the Law with slavery and then murder. He wants Israel not to be like Egypt, a nation that brutally enslaves and murders, but like himself, a God who protects human dignity and life. That’s the main point of chapter 21. God’s people must preserve dignity and life as God does.