Exodus 22: Lessons Regarding God’s Justice and Righteousness

Introduction – God wants both justice and righteousness: Chapter 22 continues God’s ordinances for mankind. In the context of restitution, Chapter 22 continues with examples of divine justice. But this chapter differs from the prior chapter by concluding with rules requiring that God’s people be righteous. The rules for righteousness follow the rules for justice because the two concepts are related. In God’s eyes, true justice does not exist unless it is accompanied with righteousness. As an example to us, God rules through these two divine qualities: “Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” (Ps. 97:2). God further expects civil leaders to administer justice and righteousness together (e.g., 2 Sam. 8:15; Ps. 99:4). These attributes are also important for the individual. For example, God chose Abraham because he lived a life of both “justice and righteousness.” (Gen. 18:19). Thus, your walk with God should also include these two divine attributes.

Justice and righteousness defined: If God requires justice and righteousness, we must first understand the meaning behind these terms. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “justice” is defined as “the maintenance or administration of what is just, especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” Examples seen in Exodus 21 include the requirement that intentional murder and negligent homicide be punished differently. Other examples include the right to a trial by an impartial judge or jury. Another example from Chapter 21 includes the principle of restitution for wrongs. Still another example includes protections for those who have unequal bargaining power, like indentured servants. By contrast, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “righteousness” as “acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin.” In the context of this discussion, righteousness includes following God’s standards of conduct, even when society might hold a different notion of right and wrong. Righteousness also has a component of being blameless under the Law. Through the New Testament, God reveals that only Christ can make you blameless under the Law. Yet, that does not mean that you should give up on trying to live a righteous life. Jesus made this point clear when He exhorted believers to always try to follow God’s Law: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48).

Application in Exodus 22: In Exodus Chapter 22, God reveals seven important lessons for how believers can be both just and righteous in how they live their lives. First, much like the rules requiring restitution for damaged property, divine justice requires restitution in the case of theft. God reveals that the different kinds of theft can also carry additional penalties. Second, God also requires restitution for damages caused through negligence. He further reveals that divine justice requires that disputes about allegedly negligent conduct be resolved through an impartial trial before a judge or jury. Third, as a rule for righteousness, He reveals penalties for the man who seduces an unmarried woman. He desires for civil law to discourage premarital sex and protect the institution of holy marriage. Fourth, as another part of keeping His people holy, He prohibits them from engaging in acts of idolatry that put people in communion with demons. This includes, but is not limited to, sorcery. Fifth, as another part of righteousness, He requires that His people show kindness toward immigrants and strangers. Sixth, He further requires that civil society protect the most vulnerable members. This includes the widow, the orphan, and the poor. To protect the poor, He also prohibits putting a person into economic bondage through loans with interest. Finally, in order for His people to be a light to others, He requires that the people show themselves to be holy in all their thoughts and actions.

1. Theft. Ex. 22:1-3.

  • The laws of restitution following theft. The Eighth Commandment bars any kind of theft (Ex. 20:15; Dt. 5:19). In the last chapter, God separately addressed the most offensive kind of theft; kidnapping to sell a person into slavery (Ex. 21:16). In this chapter, He explains the penalties for all other kinds of theft. Although the penalties vary based upon the severity of the theft, God’s system of divine justice requires that the thief make his or her victim whole by fully reimbursing the victim back in excess of the value of the stolen items. The purpose of the extra penalty was to compensate the victim for the loss of use of the items. Under God’s Law, a thief cannot simply apologize to God and the victim and expect to set things right: “1 If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.” (Ex. 22:1). The thief’s debt, however, would not be passed onto his or her family if he died in the theft: “If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. 3 But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account.” (Ex. 22:2-3(a)). In Moses’ day, no jails existed for punishment. Thus, if a thief could not fully restore his or her victim, the thief would be sold as an indentured servant to pay off the thief’s debts: “He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” (Ex. 22:3(b)). But, as established in the prior chapter, the term of this indentured servitude could not exceed more than six years, no matter how large the theft (Ex. 21:2; Dt. 15:12). Conversely, the amount of time of indentured servitude would likely be less than the maximum six years where the amount stolen that could not be repaid was small. Although society has prisons to punish criminals today, the principle of restitution remains unchanged. If you steal, God will forgive your sins if you repent of them (1 Jo. 1:9). But He still expects you to restore those you have harmed before you turn to Him (Matt. 5:23-24).

God requires any thief to restore his or her victims1

  • Special penalties in the case of theft. Because God is just, His penalties vary in proportion to the seriousness of the offense. In addition to regular restitution, He imposed additional penalties for theft. First, theft of all kinds is an offense against God. Thus, He separately requires a “guilt” offering (Lev. 6:1-4). The Hebrew word for “guilt offering” is Asham. It means that the sinner must make the victim whole. In the case of any type of theft, the sinner is to restore all of the stolen funds plus at least a fifth of the value of the stolen property as a penalty or 120% total (Lev. 6:5). Second, where the thief deprives someone of their livelihood (symbolized by animals), the penalty was twice the value of the stolen property: “If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.” (Ex. 22:4). By contrast, if the thief felt remorse and voluntarily gave back the stolen property, he did not pay an extra penalty: “[I]f they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die.” (Ez. 33:15). Third, in the case of fraud or theft by false pretenses, God required that the restitution equal four times the value of the times stolen: “He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” (2 Sam. 12:6). Because Zaccheus had defrauded others in the past, he told Jesus that he would pay restitution four times above the amount that he had taken from others in the past: “Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’’ (Lk. 19:8). Jesus did not correct him or state that this was unnecessary. God’s requirement that civil law reflect increasing levels of penalties based upon the kind of theft was not rendered moot by Christ’s death. If a believer is defrauded, the believer must forgive the perpetrator. Yet, if a believer steals, the believer must still restore his or her victim and pay the victim a proper penalty.

2. Negligence. Ex. 22:5-15.

  • The law of restitution following negligent acts. In the prior chapter in the context of dangerous animals, God introduced the laws regarding negligence (Ex. 21:28-29). Here, He expands upon the consequences for negligent conduct. As a part of divine justice, He requires the payment of restitution following an act of negligence that causes foreseeable damage to another. For example, if an owner lets his animals loose for grazing, he is liable for damages that his animals might cause to another person’s field if left unsupervised: “If a man lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard.” (Ex. 22:5). Damage resulting from unwatched grazing animals is a foreseeable hazard to other land owners. This is one of the reasons why livestock owners in those times employed the services of a shepherd. As another example, a person who starts a fire by failing to put it out is liable for any damages if the fire spreads and hurts others: “If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution.” (Ex. 22:6). Damage stemming from an unwatched fire or a fire that is not properly extinguished is foreseeable. Thus, the negligent party is liable for all damage caused by his or her fire. If the tortfeasor could not pay for his damage, he would be required to sell his labor for no more than six years. God’s system of justice placed a higher priority on making victims whole than keeping a tortfeasor free from the consequences of his or her negligence.

  • God’s requirement for negligence to be determined in a court of law. Frequently, the responsibility for damage is unclear. Thus, to sort out responsibility for actions resulting in damage to another, God requires that each dispute be decided by an impartial judge in a court of law. As one example of this, God requires a court to resolve disputes stemming from damaged property held by one person for another in trust. In modern terms, a “bailee” holds the property in trust for another person who is called a “bailor”. A valet parking attendant is one example of this. Under God’s law, a bailor is liable for damage caused to the bailee’s property if the bailor’s damage was the result of foreseeable negligence. What constitutes foreseeable negligence? God gave a few examples but left the specific answer to an impartial judge who would hear the individual facts of each case in a court of law: “If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him and it is stolen from the man’s house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor’s property. For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. 10 If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking, 11 an oath before the Lord shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor’s property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution. 12 But if it is actually stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner. 13 If it is all torn to pieces, let him bring it as evidence; he shall not make restitution for what has been torn to pieces. 14 If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution. 15 If its owner is with it, he shall not make restitution; if it is hired, it came for its hire.” (Ex. 22:7-15). These examples were meant to illustrate the principles of restitution based upon the degree of the bailor’s negligence. These principles are still instructive today. Christians must be an example by restoring their victims. This is true even if the believer did not intend to cause harm to another.

3. Premarital sex. Ex. 22:16-17.

  • The laws regarding premarital sex. Beginning in verse 16, the subject of God’s civil laws more expressly include divine “righteousness”. Yet, because “righteousness” is a religious concept, most non-believers reject any civil law that is based upon this principle. Thus, God’s rules become controversial at this point. The first example is sex outside of marriage. Although sex outside of marriage is an accepted practice today, it is offensive to God. His thoughts and ways are not ours (Is. 55:8). When a man and woman come together, they become “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24; Mk. 10:8). Any act that breaks this bond is against God’s law. Thus, He expressly prohibited adultery in Seventh Commandment (Ex. 20:14; Dt. 5:18; Ro. 13:9). For the unsaved, this offense carries the eternal penalty of death (Dt. 22:22; Lev. 20:10; 18:20). God also prohibits rape. Although no jails existed in Moses’ day, a person found guilty of rape after a trial was required to pay a fine worth 50 silver shekels (Dt. 22:25-29). If this sounds small, the average male laborer in Moses’ day earned approximately one silver shekel per month (Wenham, Gordon, The Book of Leviticus (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979), p. 338). Thus, for the average male laborer aged 20 to 60 earning 1 shekel a month, it would take 50 months, or four years and two months, to pay for a rape. Because few could pay a fine of 4.2 years of wages, most would be sold as indentured servants for up to six years. But what about consensual sex before marriage? This was also abhorrent to God. As a punishment, the man was required to pay a dowry and was given no choice in marrying the woman: “16 If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife.” (Ex. 22:16). Yet, it the girl refused to marry the man, the woman could prevent the marriage through her father and still require the man to pay her a dowry as restitution: “17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.” (Ex. 22:17). There are still vestiges of these laws in modern society. In most states, a male who engages in consensual sex with a woman under 18 engages in an act of “statutory rape.” But society is rapidly moving away from the laws of righteousness that God wrote on every person’s heart (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 8:10). Today, sex outside of marriage is glamorized in society. Believers have sadly become numb to this sin. “This law emphasized the principle that there is no such thing as casual sex. Both Old and New Testaments state that sexual relations carry lasting consequences (1 Corinthians 6:15-16).” (David Guzik Exodus 22).2

Sebastiano Ricci (1659 – 1734) “The Rape of Dinah” (painting 1700)3

  • The higher standard for sexual morality and fornication in the New Testament. Some believers try to dismiss God’s rules on premarital sex as alleged relics of the Old Testament. But Jesus did not come to repeal the laws of sexual morality. Instead, He raised the bar on the type of conduct that He expects from believers. He warns that even a lustful look is an act of adultery in God’s eyes: “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28). For an unsaved person, fornication will also be severely judged in heaven: “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 6:9). Are you staying pure for God? Are you teaching your children the importance of sexual purity?

4. Idolatry. Ex. 22:18-20.

  • The law against sorcery. Idolatry violates the Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4-6; Dt. 5:8-10). Thus, as part of God’s laws establishing “righteousness”, He prohibits idolatrous practices that put believers into communion with demons. This includes sorcery. For the unsaved, the penalty for sorcery is death: “18 You shall not allow a sorceress to live.” (Ex. 22:18). These rules are found throughout the Torah: “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:31). “As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.” (Lev. 20:6). “There shall not be found among you anyone . . . who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.” (Dt. 18:10-11). Years later, Saul tested God by turning to a medium (1 Sam. 28:7-8). God responded by making an example out of Saul by killing him (1 Chron. 10:13). Believers cannot prevent non-believers from engaging in these practices. But believers must guard themselves and their kids from horoscopes, mediums, astrologers, tarot card readers, hand readers, or Ouija boards. These things put believers into communion with demons.

After Saul turned to sorcery, Samuel pronounced God’s judgment on Saul4

  • The law against bestiality. Although unimaginable today, having sex with animals was among the horrific sexual practices that some followed in Canaan in Moses’ day. Bestiality is obviously against God’s law (Lev. 18:23). Because this act also puts believers in communion with demons, it is also a capital offense for the unsaved: “19 Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.” (Ex. 22:19; Lev. 20:15-16). A person who breaks this law also lives under a curse while alive: “Cursed is he who lies with any animal. And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (Dt. 27:21). Laws against bestiality are still common in civil society. Yet, they exist today primarily to protect the animal from cruelty.

  • The law against idolatrous practices. After listing these two examples of idolatrous worship, God banned any other type of idolatrous worship that the human mind might imagine: “20 He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the Lord alone, shall be utterly destroyed.” (Ex. 22:20). “They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons with which they play the harlot. This shall be a permanent statute to them throughout their generations.” (Lev. 17:7). Paul explained that any sacrifice to a different god puts the believer into communion with demons: “No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.” (1 Cor. 10:20). Believers cannot stop a nonbeliever from idolatry. Yet, they can still guard themselves and their families from idols. This includes, but is not limited to, drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, money, fame, and even your job.

5. Kindness Toward Immigrants and Strangers. Ex. 22:21.

God protects immigrants5

  • The law protecting immigrants. Among the requirements of “righteousness” the most difficult for some is showing compassion toward immigrants and strangers. In the case of immigrants, believers have the right to expect that their immigration laws be enforced (Ro. 13:1-4). But believers are also mandated to show compassion toward immigrants and strangers: “You shall not wrong a stranger [foreigner] or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 22:21). Possibly because most believers have difficulty following this law, God repeated it multiple times throughout the Torah: “You shall not oppress a stranger [foreigner], since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 23:9). “When a stranger [foreigner] resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger [foreigner] who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.” (Lev. 19:33-34). “So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” (Dt. 10:19). “You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow's garment in pledge. But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.” (Dt. 24:17-18). God watches over the aliens or immigrants in the land (Ps. 146:9). When you help a stranger (which includes immigrants) you may even be entertaining angels: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Heb. 13:2). Is your heart hardened toward strangers and immigrants?

6. Protections for the Poor. Ex. 22:22-27.

  • The law protecting widows and the poor. Another part of righteousness requires that believers protect the most vulnerable members of society. These include, but are not limited to, widows and orphans: “22 You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. 23 If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; 24 and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.” (Ex. 22:22-24). “He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.” (Dt. 10:18). “[L]earn to do good, seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, [and] plead for the widow.” (Is. 1:17; Micah. 6:8). “He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.” (Prov. 22:16). “The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, the wicked does not understand such concern.” (Prov. 29:7; 14:31; 31:9; Dt. 27:19). God required that the Jews give generously to those in need even if they did not expect their money to be paid back (Dt. 15:7-8). Land owners were likewise required to allow the poor to glean the fields so that they would not go hungry (Ex. 23:10-13; Lev. 19:9-10; 23:22; Dt. 24:19-21). In heaven, Jesus will ask what you did for the poor and the needy (Matt. 25:40). Will you have anything to share with Jesus on this subject?

Jesus advocated to protect, restore, and empower the poor and disadvantaged6

  • The law prohibited certain types of lending. In order to protect the poor, God also prohibited the Jews from charging them interest on any loan: “25 If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest. 26 If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, 27 for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body. What else shall he sleep in? And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious.” (Ex. 22:25-27). “You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain.” (Lev. 25:37). When Moses repeated this rule in Deuteronomy, he did not repeat that these rules were to protect the poor: “You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest.” (Dt. 23:19). Lending to a foreigner with interest was, however, allowed: “You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess.” (Dt. 23:20). Orthodox Jews later followed the more broadly worded rules to prohibit Jews from charging interest on any loan to any other Jew. But many Jews later realized that this rule was unworkable in a commercial society. Thus, the Jews came up with ways to get around their own rules. After Jesus died, some rabbis created a legal loophole in Jewish law (called a “Prozbul”) to get around both their prohibition on interest and the cancellation of debts on the Sabbath year. It was a legal document that accompanied any loan. It transferred title to the loan to a court entity, which the rabbis then labeled as exempt from God’s rules. For businesses or the wealthy, it also created a partnership for loans to be paid back with profits, not interest. But these legal loopholes were unnecessary. God’s rules were designed to protect the poor, not commercial enterprises and the wealthy. God made this clear through later warnings in the Bible against charging exorbitant interest that might place people into economic bondage (Prov. 28:8). Through Ezekiel, God is also described as a “righteous person”, the one who did not charge usury or excessive interest (Ezek. 18:8; cf. 18:13, 17; 22:12). Likewise, in the parable of the talents, Jesus implied that interest on a business investment was not unlawful: “Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.” (Matt. 25:27; Lk. 19:23). Today, believers seem little concerned with the debate on where to draw the line in charging interest on a loan. They have discarded these rules in all contexts. Most believers either don’t know of these rules or assume that Jesus must have fulfilled them. Today, credit card companies are free to charge high interest rates to the poor. Some would say that high interest loans perform a valuable service for the poor. But high interest loans place the poor into economic bondage. The Church must not stay silent while its poorest members become burdened by high interest debt. Are you placing yourself into economic bondage?

  • Christ calls upon believers to lend to the poor, even if the loan might not be returned. The rules on lending to the poor did not disappear with Christ’s death. Even when you don’t expect to be repaid, Christ commands that you lend to those in need: “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.” (Lk. 6:34). “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” (Matt. 5:44). “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,” (Lk. 14:13). “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 Jo. 3:17; see also, Prov. 28:5; Jer, 22:3; Eze. 18:21; Zeck 7:9; Matt. 23:23; Jam. 1:27). Are you giving freely to charities which help the poor?

  • Don’t allow your giving to return a person to a bondage or addiction. Although Jesus calls upon believers to be generous, He also cautions: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matt. 7:6). In the parable of the prodigal son, the wayward son had to hit rock bottom before he realized what he had given up. If someone had enabled him by constantly giving him money to squander, he never would have realized his mistakes (Lk. 15:11-32). There are many organizations that can help a drug or alcohol addicted person. Are you using people’s bondage to addictions as an excuse not to help at all?

7. Being Holy. Ex. 22:28-31.

  • The law against cursing authority. As part of the laws of righteousness, God prohibited believers from cursing either Him or civil authority: “28 You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” (Ex. 22:28). Cursing God violates the Third Commandment (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11). For the unsaved, the penalty for this offense in heaven is also death (Lev. 24:16). Cursing civil authority is also prohibited under God’s law. Satan’s goal has always been to break down authority through rebellion. His goal is to create chaos and misery. His first rebellion led a third of the angels in rebellion against God’s rule (Rev. 12:3-9). He then led Eve to rebel against God’s rules (Gen. 3:1-4). He then led Adam and Eve to rebel against each other (Gen. 3:16). Jesus once quoted a prophecy: “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” (Mk. 14:23). Only when our authorities refuse to follow God’s law can we ignore them (Acts. 4:19). Believers cannot curtail the right of nonbelievers to curse God or civil authority. But they can lead by example. Are you cursing the leaders that you disagree with? Or, are you praying for them?

Shimei broke God’s Law when he cursed David7

  • The law of tithing. Another part of living a righteous life is tithing promptly. This is God’s means of helping those in need and ministering to His full-time servants: “29 You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. 30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.” (Ex. 22:29-30). When you fail to tithe you rob from God and profane His holy name (Mal. 1:11-14). Your tithing should include giving the “first fruits” of your own life (Lev. 23:17). Because your wealth comes from God (Jam. 1:17), giving ten percent is the amount that is the minimum that is expected but not required (Gen. 28:22; Nu. 18:21-28; Dt. 14:22-28; 2 Chr. 31:12). Are you giving back at least ten percent of God’s money to help support the poor and those in full time ministry? Are you also giving your time and your God-given talents?

  • Give joyfully. God never wants you to give out of obligation or ritual (Prov. 5:8; Isa. 1:13; Jer. 7:21-24; Amos 5:21-24). Nor does He want you to boast about your giving (Matt. 6:3). You are instead commanded to be a cheerful giver: “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6-7). When the Jews donated to build the tabernacle, Moses had to request that the workers stop giving because there was an outpouring of generosity (Ex. 36:2-7; see also 2 Cor. 9:6, 8-14). Are you giving cheerfully for those who are in need?

  • The law of holiness. Finally, God concludes with a requirement that His people be holy in all that they do: “31 You shall be holy men to Me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh torn to pieces in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.” (Ex. 22:31). “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” (Lev. 11:44(a)). Today, believers are still commanded to be Holy. “You shall be holy, For I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16). When you are holy through moral conduct and a loving heart, you become a light to others (Dt. 4:5-6; Matt. 5:14). Conversely, you dishonor God and repel others when you break the law: “You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you,’ just as it is written.” (Ro. 2:23-24). You may be the only Bible that a nonbeliever ever reads. Are you a light to others by your example?