If you look at v 4, you’ll see a list of garments Israel is to make: a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, a coat of checker work, a turban, and a sash. The breastpiece and ephod go together, and they are together at the heart of the high priests’ garments. The instructions for the Tabernacle began with the Ark, at the heart of the Tabernacle. So God begins with the heart of the priestly garments, the ephod and the breastpiece.
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.
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