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100 - I Wanna Live in This Country!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
June 25, 2022 2:53 pm

100 - I Wanna Live in This Country!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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June 25, 2022 2:53 pm

Episode 100 - I Wanna Live in This Country! (25 June 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink.

Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, I want to live in this country. And why is that? Well, because the laws deal so well with people who have no power, who are weak, who are vulnerable.

And historically, there are countless thousands of people lining up to immigrate to this country. Why is that? Yeah, they see what I see. Well, believe it or not, the wealth of our justice comes from and stems from the Ten Commandments.

And we'll see that today in detail on More Than Ink. Well, good morning. This is Jim.

And this is Dorothy. And we're delighted you're with us. This airs locally in Salt Lake City on Saturday morning. So we hope you're joining us for that. If not on the internet, we're glad you're joining with us here as we explore our way through the Bible and introduce to you how you yourself, not a professional, can read the Word and understand it. And as usual, we're sitting here at our dining room table with a cup of coffee in front of us. And that's where we are to be found pretty much every morning of the week with the Word of God open and coffee in front of us. Not always here at the dining room table with the microphones. Right, right, right, right.

Well, usually not. But this is one of the most delightful things we do during the week. Yeah, and not because we're supposed to be students of the Bible, but because in a leisurely context, we just can't stop ourselves reading this thing. So God's Word is just an amazing thing. And last week, we were looking at the expansion of the Ten Commandments is what we call it. You take the Ten Commandments and you work them out and how do you do a broader, detailed application. And we talked a lot about property rights kinds of things.

Like if someone borrows your stuff or you have a loss, how do you make restitution? Well, we're past the property stuff. Now we're into more, I don't know what you want to call it. I called it moral justice things, but these are still laws.

This is working out of the law in critical matters. This is more relational. That was about stuff. This is about how you relate to the people you live alongside. Right, so we're going to continue for the next two times together to continue to expand the law. And I got to tell you, when I read these, well, when I listened to the last show, I was encouraged. I'm thinking, I want to live in that country.

That's a place I want to live. Well, when you say expand the law, we're not expanding the law like making it reach farther. We're opening it up or adding to it. And you know, that set me in mind of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus comments, he creates a commentary on the law. You've heard it said, but I say to you, and that was kind of a rabbinic custom. They would say, you know that here's what the actual text says, but that's, here's what it means. And so that's kind of what's happening here is that Moses is opening up. Here's what it means in a practical way to live as God's people. So let's look at what this young society, how it's going to rule itself. This is largely advice to judges, but it's also, it's strong rejoinders to us about how to live life well.

And it's not just advice. This is, I mean, the word is translated ordinances, but it's mishpat. It is, these are the verdicts. These are the formal decrees of the way this works.

These are the judgments, the appropriate, the measured, the limited, the protective, what is just and right. Right. And this reflects God's character in terms of justice and what's right and right.

And his people will live according to his justice and righteousness. So let's keep going. So we're starting into chapter 22 today, not starting into chapter 22. We've already gone halfway through it, but we're starting in verse 16 in chapter 22.

So why don't you take it off for us and let's look at what we're supposed to be doing. Now it's interesting where this begins because it kind of almost bridges coming from property rights into relational things. So here we go. Verse 16, if a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride price for virgins. We need to stop there because we said last week in the talking about property rights and all that, there was great respect and value given to women, to female slaves, as you recall that conversation. And so here we're kind of moving away from slaves. We've moved to any young girl who's still living in the home of her father and is not yet pledged to a man as his wife. And so this is fascinating to me that the value of this young woman is clearly stated here. You, as my people, cannot just willy-nilly take young women and have your way with them.

You can't just go sleeping around. And this actually connects, I think, back into the Ten Commandments at number nine, you shall not steal. Number 10, you shall not covet. You have no right to take the virginity of a young woman. You must reckon with her value as a human being and take her as your wife.

Right, right. Yeah, here clearly the only context for having sex with this virgin, with this young woman, is marriage. And when you look at the beginning, if a man seduces a virgin, this is totally a word thing. If he says things in such a way to lead her to believe that there's something serious going on or something like that, you know, he talks her into bed basically. Well, yeah, seduction is a manipulation. Yeah, and I mean this happens to this very day.

I remember many stories when I was volunteering at the pregnancy care center. And so you'd ask the young girl, so why did you sleep with him? Well, he promised this and he said this and he said all the things I wanted to hear. This is an age old issue that guys can say the right thing and women will go to bed with them. It's not a relative statement against women necessarily. This is just how the sexes interact. Well, yes, and this whole idea of paying the bride price, it recognizes her social value and says you cannot just take what's not yours.

She does not belong to you unless you are willing to commit your life to her. And so I find this fascinating this early in social history. Prominent. Yeah, I remember sitting in a room with a bunch of people where we were discussing a guy and a gal in their teens who had sex. And so they were both of marriageable age and I proposed, well, you can have them marry each other. Well, at that point, you know, the parents of the woman can either agree or not agree and they wisely then did not agree for good reasons.

And that comes up in the second half of this verse. But what he's saying here is that this is a very clear cut example where sex and marriage go together and you just can't be going around sleeping with other people without thinking, without the aim of marriage. I mean, and you can't do it if you're engaged. So I'm not giving that as a, you know, if you promise to get engaged, you can have sex now. That's not what we're saying.

No, no, no, no. And that's not what the passage says. Sex is a marriage bed thing exclusively. Well, so it's interesting that moving on from here, the next three verses deal with idolatry. But they follow right along and I think it makes sense there's a sexual connection with idolatry. So, you know, without belaboring it, starting in verse 18, you shall not permit a sorceress to live. So this is a change of subject, but we're still talking about sexual issues because he says, whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death. Well, that was an expression of a certain form of idolatry. Verse 20, whoever sacrifices to any God other than the Lord alone shall be devoted to destruction. That's capital punishment.

It's an interesting short three list of capital punishment crimes, capital crimes. And it's interesting in 18 when we talk about this sorceress or what's translated as witch and some of the other translations. Or here's an interesting tidbit of truth, when that word sorceress is translated into the Greek Old Testament, that's called the Septuagint, it's translated with the Greek word pharmakos, pharmakos like we get the word pharmacy. So there's a strong connection with drugs and in another context a strong connection with the demonic. So this is someone who actively traffics in connection to the demonic world and probably uses drugs in the process. That's all wrapped up in the name. And that is an effort to control the supernatural. Yes. And that's what the occult is all about. Right. And God says you should not deal with someone whose intent is to connect you with that evil supernatural. It's self-destructive. Yeah, so that's why. In fact I looked at this verse carefully.

You know, I'm a nerd. But it's just three words in Hebrew. It's witch, no, live.

It's really straightforward with no other kind of stuff. So these are three capital crimes right here that God says, yeah, don't do this. And of course 19 is about bestiality is what we call it today. And that's connected to a whole bunch of demonic and occultic stuff as well. So just don't tolerate it. Be devoted to destruction. Well, let's move on. So again, we're describing God's people.

And he says in that first commandment, you shall have no other gods before me. Yeah, there you go. And here's the expression. Here's three common expressions of those things.

So now he's going to move on to a different kind of social expression. Verse 21, you shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him. For you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. And my wrath will burn and I will kill you with the sword. And your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless. Okay, so we were talking about this verse yesterday with someone and applying it to not just mistreating a widow or fatherless child, but tolerating abuse of a child, overlooking it, pretending it didn't happen, neglecting it. God is very, very serious about the poor, the sojourner, and those who have no protection and no defense.

And if you don't intercede for someone who's being mistreated, this is kind of the scary thing. So he says in 23, if you do mistreat them and they cry out to me, I will hear their cry. And by the way, my wrath will burn.

And you know what I will do? God says, I will kill you with the sword, which means he'll remove all the protections he has on you and let people who have swords come in and kill you, to demonstrate now that your wives will become widows because you wouldn't intercede. I don't know how many times this happens in the Old Testament, but God says over and over again, I'm not going to judge Israel, and I'm going to be critical about my need for you to care for people who are weak and who are vulnerable. Remember, because God has said, you are my people. I've taken you to be my people. You are going to represent my name and my character to the whole world.

He said it already. He's told them twice in the book of Exodus, apart from this passage. And Peter has picked it up in the New Testament and said, you once were not a people, but now you're a holy people. You're the people of God.

And so we need to represent, or we will represent in God's character, the attitude towards those who are sojourners, homeless, passing through. It's quite distinctive culturally worldwide. I think about the Roman Empire. You would never characterize the Roman Empire as being compassionate toward the weak and vulnerable. It was all about power and strength, and that was true for the entire world. Well, that's just not the way with God's people. They will be compassionate toward the weak and the vulnerable.

Because compared to God, we are all weak and vulnerable. Bingo. Exactly. So I want this society to reflect that the very heart of God is on display in terms of how you treat people who are weak and vulnerable. Yeah.

Let's go to 25. Let's go on. So if you lend money, uh-oh, now we're impractical. If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him. In other words, you can't profit from the misfortune of your neighbor. Right. Someone's down on their finances.

You can't make money by loaning money to them. If ever you take your neighbor's cloak and pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body. In what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

Yeah. So don't make money off someone who has no money, who's down on their luck. Give them money. Lend it to them.

Expect to be repaid, but don't make interest on it. That's just wrong. And taking advantage of those who are defenseless or homeless or needy. Yeah. In fact, that interest word right there means to bite or to pierce into teeth. So it's a biting, and the Jews called it a biting usury. It's a biting. Well, yeah, because that's a kind of enslavement. Yeah. It's a bad deal.

It's a bad deal. And if you do this, God says, I'm watching. If he cries out to me, I will be compassionate. I will be compassionate. So you need to be compassionate.

As God's representatives. Yeah. And clearly here, if you maybe don't understand it, the neighbor's cloak, the cloak thing, it's some kind of collateral we don't really understand here that's part of the loan process. But he's saying it's such a valuable, it's such a valuable asset to someone who has nothing. Their cloak is the only way that they stay warm at night.

They may not even have a house. So you need to give it back to them so they have something to sleep at night. Yeah, so in Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had some commentary about cloaks too.

Yeah. He says, you know, if they demand your cloak from you, give them your tunic too. It's very valuable.

It's very valuable. And the only way we can even closely relate to it is when you go camping and you think it's like I'm going to go winter camping. If I go winter camping, I better take a warm coat. Well, what if you get out there and decide to give your coat to somebody else?

You're in danger. I mean, that coat is your life when you're exposed to the elements. Or if someone takes your coat.

Or someone takes your coat. There's more in keeping with the context here. So that's just an over the top, too high a collateral.

Too high a price. Yeah. Okay.

Well, let's move on. So verse 28, you shall not revile God nor curse a ruler of your people. Yeah. So why? Well, all authority belongs to God.

Exactly. And there is no authority but what God has instated. And, you know, the New Testament is very clear about that.

But Exodus even already has been clear. When God had said through Moses to Pharaoh, you know, you're only in charge still because I let you remain back in chapter nine. So, you know, this whole idea that I'm the one who brought you out of Egypt. You're mine. You're my people. You shall have no other guards before me.

I'm a jealous God. You shall respect my name. Right. So you shall not revile God nor curse a ruler of your people. Yeah. God places people in authority. Yeah. You'll respect the people that God has put in place to enact his loving kindness. Whether you agree with them or not. Exactly.

I'm curious about this. Remember early in this chapter, verse nine, it talks about coming before God. And we said that that may actually refer to coming before God's judges. Well, that word Elohim is used here for God. So because it's coupled tightly in this sentence to the rulers of your people, it could actually mean, you know, don't revile the people who represent God. Yeah, the rulers over you. You know, you see that in Psalm 82 as well. Nor curse a ruler of your people. So this is really respect for the people that God himself has put in place for your good. Don't revile them. Yeah.

Okay. Verse 29. You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. Now he had already told them that back in chapter 13 about the firstborns. And so I would encourage you listeners to go back and reread Exodus 13 where God already talks about giving the firstborn. You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. Seven days it shall be with its mother.

On the eighth day you shall give it to me. Right. So I think that's going to figure later when we get to the part about not boiling a kid in its mother's milk. Yeah, I know it does.

But we don't want to get bogged down there. But the general concept is you give back your first to God is a way of saying I honor God as being the source of this. Right. It came from him, I'm honoring him and giving it back. And the firstborn being the representative of everything else that follows. Yeah, right.

The firstfruits are the representative of everything that follows. God is the one that made this possible and so I get back to my first. We'll come back to that theme a lot. We will. We will. Let me read.

Go ahead. Verse 31. Now, you shall be consecrated to me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh that's torn by beasts in the field and you shall throw it to the dogs. Well, that's kind of interesting. Well, you know, okay, so I don't want to spend a lot of time on this, but it occurred to me that God is regulating the taking of life for the purpose of sacrifice or food. Right. And the praying on one another by the beasts was not in God's original design. That is an effect of the fall. Right. So I wonder if that's not an echo here.

I think it is. I mean, in general, what it's saying is that you won't be scavengers. I will provide for you. You know, and these animals, they're scavengers. They scavenge what they can find on the ground and you're not going to participate in that. And, you know, I'm going to feed you from my hand. So stuff that's torn by the beasts of the field, yeah, throw it to the dogs.

I mean, it's a health issue, but that's not really the issue. The issue is, you know, I will feed you. You don't have to eat from what scavengers find. You are not scavengers as a people. And you can make an argument that, yes, the food laws are good for you, but I don't think that was God's first priority, keeping his people healthy.

No, I don't think so either. It's emphasizing their holiness, their set apartness, their differentness from the world. You shall have no other gods before me and I, your God, I'm telling you, this is the way I want you to live. It makes me wonder if at the time, you know, in other cultures, if you found roadkill on the side of the road, would they just hunker over and eat it?

It depends on how scarce food is. And God's saying, you're not going to do that. Don't do that. Yeah, that's what he's saying. Okay, we'll turn the page over into chapter 23. We'll continue some of these working-outs of the law. And in verse 1 and chapter 3, we look at the kind of a general justice issue when you're in court.

So let me read. So chapter 23, verse 1, you shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit siding with the many so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.

Isn't that interesting? We're in the courtroom here. But we've got both sides of the argument, right? It's this is not a case of mob rule. No.

And this is not a case of just because a guy is poor, he gets his way. Right. Not saying that he within a sentence addresses both of those abuses. Yeah.

I like them. I like the mob rule issue because even if everyone is saying it's false, you shouldn't be either. In a way it's saying don't invent lies and don't receive lies and propagate them. And especially in a court of law against somebody.

So it's really it's a fascinating statement. And this is a backbone to much of our justice system, what's right here as well. And I might point out to you that even if someone even if a large number of people are propagating a lie about someone maliciously, they still according to Deuteronomy have to come up with proof. And proof according to Deuteronomy is two or three witnesses, people who are actually there who saw it. And so the many may say it and you may join in with the mob maliciously to hurt somebody.

Don't do it. And you know I hate to say this but on the internet today what you see is this kind of mob malice witnesses against something. Yes and a perversion of justice. Yeah because the many say it doesn't necessarily make it true. Right. Yeah, perverts justice. But also conversely in verse three, don't be partial to a poor man just because he's poor. Right. Right.

Or some other circumstance like oh poor you. The sympathy argument. We're going to rule in your favor because of all these social injustices. No, deal with the truth. Stay objective. The facts of the case as it's presented. Stay objective.

Don't fall for the sympathy status. Yeah. Exactly. And think about that ninth commandment. Don't bear false witness against your neighbor. False witness. Yeah and if you when we looked at the Ten of the Commandments you probably thought well what's the big deal? So I'm not supposed to lie about my neighbor.

Well think about going into the courtroom and lying about your neighbor. Right. Now the rubber hits the road and you can cause some real damage right here. Well let's move on. Verse four, if you meet your enemy's ox, your enemy's ox.

Right. Or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. And if you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it.

You shall rescue it with him. So here's the interesting thing about what you do with your enemy. Do you help your enemy?

Yes. Well yes you help your enemy but also you have compassion on the innocent animal. Exactly yeah.

So you know if he was your enemy and you saw that his ox was going astray which is a valuable, I mean it's a tractor implement to do your field. If that's going on you need to intercede on his behalf or his good even though he hates you. Isn't that interesting Jesus said pray for your enemies. Yeah.

Pray for those who persecute you. Yeah. Love your enemies. Right. And this is that. And this is that. You need to act compassionately toward people who even hate you. Wow. Well who wants to do that?

No one does. But in the distinctive family of God in the nation of Israel in the Christian community, that's the distinctive in the world. And I think this connects back into that eighth commandment, you shall not steal. Right. If you see your enemy's ox going astray and you just let him go astray, you have stolen from your enemy. You've stolen it.

Yeah you've let him suffer loss that you could have stopped. Right. Yeah exactly. And you don't do that. You don't do that. However in the world you do. You sure do. If you see your enemy failing some way you let him fail.

Yeah. Okay verse six. You shall not pervert to justice due to your poor in his lawsuit. Keep far from a false charge.

Do not kill the innocent and righteous for I will not acquit the wicked and you shall take no bribe for a bribe blinds the clear sighted and it subverts the cause of those who are in the right. Yeah man. Well that needs no commentary.

Thank you very much. That's pretty clear. I know. Something I want to live in this country but you know bribes, I love the phrase, bribes blinds the clear sighted. They know what's right and wrong but bribes will twist.

And again we're back in the courtroom. And the people in view here are the poor. Yep.

The people who have no other defense. Yeah. So this is the poor again not using a sympathy argument but saying you need to bring the same equal justice to the poor. Right. That there's social circumstances.

To the people who cannot pay a bribe. Right. That's what he's saying right here. Right. Yeah. Or who cannot hire the best lawyer in the world.

That's our kind of stuff. So you need to bring the same amount of justice. That is what in our justice system we call it that justice is blind in that particular sense it doesn't see whether you're rich or poor or what your status in life is. Or to put it very currently or what color you are.

Or what color you are. It should be objective and has no context on who you are. Okay so we finish up this morning with verse nine. You shall not oppress a sojourner. Hey we've heard this before.

Hey. You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner.

You were sojourners in the land of Egypt. So what's a sojourner? Somebody who's.

Someone who's. Not at home. Not home. They're passing through. Yep. They're strangers.

They don't fit there. And I like how he says you know the heart. I again I had to look this up. This is really the desires and the longing. So in saying you understand what a sojourner wants. Right. Because you were there.

You lived it. You understand. So use some of that common knowledge you know about what you desired and what you wanted for all those years that you didn't fit in Egypt.

You know what they want. So when you see them in your midst act on that and be benevolent towards them. Because remember at the beginning of the Ten Commandments God had said I'm the Lord your God who brought you out of the house of Egypt. I brought you out of bondage.

I brought you out of slavery. So don't be oppressing the sojourner. Yeah. Yeah. And you know their heart. You know their heart. You know what that feels like. Be compassionate to them.

Yeah. And that's actually a very distinctive trait too worldwide because usually we take advantage of the sojourner. We take advantage of the person who doesn't fit. Who's not surrounded by their people. They don't have any mob mass to be able to assert what they want.

They're just all by themselves. They don't fit here. And so you take advantage of them.

That's a worldwide trait we do. God says no that's not going to be true with you. So I would advantage encourage you listeners. If you're listening to this reading of the law and thinking some of that stuff sounds familiar. I would encourage you to go to Matthew 5 to 7 and read the Sermon on the Mount. Yeah exactly.

Just read it sitting because you'll find things there that connect directly to what we've just read. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah it's a great working out of the law in another way in the New Covenant sense.

So we're out of time. Oh my goodness. And we're going to come back next time and continue this working out in detail of the law. But if you're like me I'm very encouraged. I want to live in this community. You know I want to be in this kind of place. God understands how community should exist in a way that reflects the compassion and loving kindness of his heart. That's where I want to be.

Me too. So he'll be encouraged as we continue to look at more of these. Come back with us next week and we'll look at why the law is such a great blessing not a restriction to man and we're going to do it here on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. Okay, so let's just one more run. Blackout. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-29 15:37:29 / 2023-03-29 15:50:41 / 13

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