“Now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them:…” Exodus 21:1
What is law and order? What is its purpose? Who defines it and specifically what is God's law and order?
When you read any book of the Bible, you will soon see that man, when left to himself, without any guidance, standards, or boundaries will live a life without restraint. If there are no rules or precepts in place or enforced, man is left to his own demise and will cause disorder and chaos to himself and to those around him. For this reason, there must be established law and order to provide guidance, boundaries, establish standards for what is right and wrong, govern behaviors, and among other things, convey consequences for disorder and disobedience.
God is the only one who defines what is good and He gives His standards for what are right and wrong and in doing so; He gives us a depiction of His holiness, the magnitude of sin, and the consequences that occur when His standards are violated. We see this example in the laws and ordinances given in Exodus 21- 23, as God demonstrates a picture of His holiness and as He also gives guidance to man in how to love Him and one another.
Immediately after the Ten Commandments were spoken to Moses, the Lord gave laws and ordinances that were to be obeyed by the Israelites. With these statutes, the Lord was establishing a covenant that He would be their God and they would be His people. The covenant was the agreement that the Israelites were to worship and serve Him alone. As we read the laws and ordinances, we clearly see what man would dare to do, if left to himself. Therefore, each law and ordinance given provided guidance on how to treat one another fairly, justly, as well as recompensing another when the unintentional happened and when intentional injustice occurred. The Lord intentionally detailed each case of what could occur between man and He judged the case with what must be done to provide justice. Without the established law and ordinances, man would seek to resolve matters in their favor and attempt to do what is right in their own eyes (Proverbs 21:2-3).
Take some time to read Exodus 21-23 and notice what the chapters tell us about God and what they also reveal about man. Although the specific laws and ordinances were given to the Israelites, the principles of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness remain. The thoughts, attitudes, and behavior of the Israelites are not different from mankind in this present generation. God’s law and order exuded His immense holiness and revealed the depravity (corruption, evil, immorality, wickedness) of man (Leviticus 20:26; Galatians 5:19-21). God, in His great love and mercy, sent Christ to die to save man from the wages of sin (depravity) so that man would not receive the judgment of wrath that is deserved from the consequences and penalty of sin (Romans 5:9; Romans 6:23). Christ paid and satisfied the penalty for sin as only He could (Acts 4:12; 1 John 2:2).
As you read Exodus 21-23, remember these laws and ordinances were specifically for the Israelites; however, God’s holiness has not changed and man’s depravity has not changed. The reflection of His love and holiness, as well as the overall principles of loving God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself still require obedience and demand justice and judgment from the one, true, and holy God (Mark 12:30-31).
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,