Thursday, November 23, 2017

Benefit of the Covenant with Moses (3) The World

The Law of Moses restrained personal and social evil by providing a way for dealing with crime and settling disputes between people. The laws specified two types of crime. People caught stealing were required to make three- or fourfold restitution. A person guilty of assaulting another was required to pay financial compensation proportional to the harm done to their victims. This compensated the victims of crime and made stealing unattractive. Some people would still steal, but most would not run the risk.

The laws against these crimes were to be enforced by the local judges accepted within each community. These judges would emerge into their role when their wisdom was recognised within their families and tribes. Judges functioning within their local communities were expected to apply God’s law to personal and social disputes.

The law provided a way for large communities of people to live in peace with each other. The law could not eliminate sin, but it removed the worst effects of sin. If God’s laws had been applied, they would have constrained the worst evil in Israel.

God intended Israel to be a light to the nations. If the Israelites had submitted to his law, they would have experienced great blessing. The surrounding nations would see the blessing, and choose to adopt God’s law to get some blessing for themselves.

Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today (Deut 4:6-8)?
The nations would see the blessing that comes from submitting to God and his law. Even if they would not accept God, they would try to get the benefits that came from adopting his law.

Unfortunately, Israel rejected God’s authority and followed the ways of the nations. They lost their blessing and never demonstrated the benefits of God’s law to the nations. Their light was lost. The surrounding nations saw Israel under a curse, so they wanted to have nothing to do with its God.

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