How can we PRAY Scripture through Exodus 21-23?
The Ten Commandments written in Exodus 20 gives us a timeless summary of God’s laws for His people. Thereafter, in chapters 21-23, we find a listing of case laws describing how some specific laws should be applied to the people during the culture of that ancient time. We may ask what kind of personal spiritual growth we can glean from these old covenant laws.
First, let’s remember our PRAY acronym: PRAY first, inviting God into your reading time. READ thoughtfully and unhurried. ASK God your questions. Be quiet and listen and then YIELD to God in submission. We believe all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)
You may want to approach Exodus 21-23 with a particular focus in mind as you seek to know God better and deepen your relationship with Him. Here are a few ideas:
- Focus on just one subject. Many Bibles have paragraph headings that separate the verses into subjects. Spend a little more time reading and praying through a particular subject that you’re drawn to. Pray and listen to God about why you are drawn to that subject and how it might apply to your life.
- Focus on one specific law and imagine the alternative if God had not defined it that way. Many of the case laws are laws of constraint. They were meant to help set apart the Israelites from other people groups and demonstrate the attributes of their just, compassionate and righteous God. For example, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Ex. 21:23) was the standard constraint for the Israelites. So what if a person were to poke out your eye? It may be that in retaliation you would want to poke out their eye, and then also break their arm, tear down their fence, and whip their donkey. But an eye for an eye meant that you could do no more harm to them than they did to you. You could ONLY poke out their eye. Bonus: Look into what Jesus taught about a specific law. His teaching about this example is found in Matthew 5:38-44.
- Focus on who God seems to be most concerned about. Perhaps even make a list. Notice what He says about how widows, orphans, the poor, servants, and foreigners should be treated. What does this tell you about God?
- Focus on the punishments. Notice when and why such things as retribution and paying back double are listed. What does this tell you about God?
- Focus on what God is revealing about Himself overall. What are His attributes and character?
- Focus on the big three questions of PRAY Scripture: LOVE Jesus – Does this passage teach me something about who God is that gives me reason to love Him more? LIVE for Jesus – Does this passage teach what I am to do to live in loving obedience to God with my thoughts, attitudes, actions, and words? LEAD people to Jesus – Does this passage teach something about how I can lead others to Jesus?