All throughout the LORD’s establishment of the law, we see reflected aspects of God’s very own nature. He’s all about relationship. And here before us, in these words of Exodus 22, we’re given a peek at the maturity of relationship God has in mind for His children.
Just as Paul’s words will reveal millennia later, life in God’s kingdom is not for babes. As Jesus tells us, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for us such is the kingdom of heaven ,” the faithing heart of a child is the door through which we enter. However, being a ‘child of God’ is all about conforming to the image of His Son, taking on the mind of Christ, the maturity of a son who had put childishness away, and removed all the Me! Me! Me! and Mine! Mine! Mine! words from His mouth and speaks instead, “Not My will; but Thine be done.”
Maturity is caught … and that’s just what occurs here. A modeling of maturity that walks before us the relationships we’re called to … man to man, and man to God.
How do we recognize our sin? Our need for someone greater than ourselves? Different from these temporary tents that house our soul?
Our first glimpse of our need before God comes in recognizing our responsibility to man. Being taught that we are accountable for our choices. Learning to accept responsibility for our actions. Recognizing that what I do directly impacts others, for good or bad. That just because “I want” or because “It feels good” doesn’t give me license to live as a law unto myself. I am accountable to man, because first of all, I am accountable to God … accountable to act justly, for it is in His imagine, not my own, that I am made.
Verse after verse after verse of Exodus 22 can be found in newspaper after newspaper around the world … by headlines clearly showing the direct consequences of these very boundaries not being abided and walked in by clay declaring godhood.
“If a fire breaks out … the one starting the fire must make restitution” lives every year in Florida, Colorado, California alone.
Exodus 22: 6, seeming little mre than a boundary, becomes the tutor to maturity. A maturity allowing us to recognize the hotter flames. Flames setting lives ablaze, as Paul so aptly reminds us: “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire.” A tutor opening our eyes ever wider to our need for God.
What fires have our tongues started? What lives are aflame because of our words? What restitution is needed to bring restoration, redemption, forgiveness to the lives that our careless words have burned, our carefully aimed verbiage has set ablaze?
God, who’s all about relationship, has not left us to flounder, to find our own way. But He carefully, precept upon precept, has shown us the way from childhood’s tottering steps guided by ‘don’t touch,’ ‘put it back,’ ‘you broke theirs, so give them yours’ to the steady gait of maturity that has learned to esteem others better than ourselves. To the maturity of looking for the good we ought to do, and then doing it. The maturity that rejoices in being God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.