At first glance, Exodus chapters 21-23 seem to be a running list of ancient rules and regulations. So the tendency is to skim through these chapters as if they aren’t that important.
But rules and regulations are important for many reasons…
- They help identify a group of people.
- They unify a group of people.
- They protect a group of people.
- They promote the prosperity of a group of people.
The rules and regulations God calls us to follow are important for the same reasons. They are not a means for God to exercise control over His people. (He already has control.) They are for our betterment, whether it feels that way or not.
The key is to not get so hung up in the rules and regulations that you pay more attention to the rules than the rule giver. Our focus should be more on worshipping God than worrying about rules. So the latter part of these chapters (Ex. 23:20-33) reminds us that…
- Worshipping God is our first and ultimate priority.
- True worship involves obedience.
- Worship produces results. Sometimes the results are immediate and sometimes they are slow and progressive.
The bottom line is that God’s rules and regulations are important, because God is important. Worshiping and obeying God are two sides of the same coin. You can’t worship God fully while obeying Him partially.
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.