It is vital that we spend time in God’s Word.
But it’s not always easy.
We read a chapter and we don’t know what to get out of it or even how to start to understand it.
I thought I could try to help you get a little something out of what you are reading by providing you with some questions to ask as you look at the text. Good questions are a good start to understanding. Sometimes there will be more questions, sometimes less.
You can do this!
So, get a notebook, a pen, your Bible, and if you would like some help, take some time to answer the questions, and you may be surprised by all God teaches you.
- We have the ten commandments in Exodus 20, then laws about altars, and now in Exodus 21, we have laws about what?
- That’s kind of shocking isn’t it? What was Israel in Egypt?
- Israel is a nation that were slaves, and in that society, it was normal to have slaves, and God here through Moses is teaching them rules about slavery. But those rules also teach them something about the nature of their relationship to God. They are no longer slaves to Egypt, but they are slaves to God, and so this section gives us an illustration about the nature of that relationship. Some of this is difficult for us to understand, but let’s look at how God uses something in this broken nation to help us learn something about Himself.
- Now, know as well, that these aren’t slaves you went out and kidnapped. This was a way of paying off a debt, primarily and we see there are some restrictions on it in verse 2. What happens to a slave after six years?
- What can the slave choose to do in verses 5 and 6?
- Again remember, that Israel is not the church. It is a nation. And it is in many ways more Egyptian at this point than it is godly. So, some of what we are reading has to do with dealing with a bad situation here. And how does Moses seek to protect female slave sin verses 6 through 11?
- What is the punishment for murder in verse 12?
- But even here there is mercy. What does God do for the person who killed someone without actually planning the murder? What happens to someone who does murder someone with forethought?
- What does God say about the kind of slavery we are used to in verse 16?
- How important does God take a man’s relationship with his parents?
- What do you learn about restitution in verswe 18-19?
- What happens if a man kills a slave?
- Verse 21 definitely seems like a difficult verse. But what if we step back and think about in principle form at least. Imagine you have an employee who is not doing his job. What might we learn from these verses about the right and wrong way to give him consequences for his failure to do that job properly? (And don’t say you can hit them or not hit them. That’s against the law. And I think it’s missing the point. We are trying to draw a principle from a law given to a very different ancient culture for our life after the New Testament with so much more revelation. Get the heart of this.)
- What do you learn about what God thinks about a baby in the womb from 22-24?
- How does verse 26-28 help you even understand verse 21 better?
- These next few verses seem very strange, but they are actually super helpful. So read verses 28-32 and think carefully about what is going on here. Say an owner of an ox knows the ox is dangerous and he’s been warned and he still is careless and the ox kills someone, what is his punishment? Now, how can he get out of that punishment in verse 30? What is imposed on him? And what does he then do for the redemption of his life? So, let’s think about what’s happening. He pays money in exchange or as a substitute for his life. To say it a different way, he is redeemed, set free from punishment because the payment of a price substitutes for his death. That’s a picture of what New Testament truth?
- What are we learning about life from verses 33-36?