Exodus 21:1-36

Order and consequence…right and wrong.

From the earliest days, God gives clear parameters and instructions. In Genesis Two, he makes it clear that Adam and Eve are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis Six, he makes it clear that Noah is to make an ark of cypress wood, coated with pitch, and built to precise specifications. In Exodus Three, he gives Moses specific words to say to Israel’s elders, and the exact words they should say to the king of Egypt. In Exodus Sixteen, he gives clear guidelines for gathering manna – only enough for each day, except on the sixth day when twice as much should be gathered. The list could go on and on and on….up to this chapter, where the expectations – and the consequences for not following them – are shockingly specific.

He’s never a God of grey. Since the beginning of time, he’s made his desires and demands crystal clear. Sometimes bizarre, seemingly unreasonable, and even harsh….but always clear. And always for a good purpose.

In a world of grey, it’s incredibly comforting to know that God is decisive…and consistent. We often fall into the misconception that freedom means being free to do/say anything we want…whenever we want….to whomever we want. But true, life-giving freedom is only found in the security of boundaries. Oxymoron? Absolutely.

Here’s the thing. The most secure, well-behaved, confident children are the ones who know exactly what mom and dad expect, exactly what will happen if the expectation isn’t met, and (most importantly) that the “rules” exist for their good and for their protection…not for the sake of squelching their fun.

Thank you, God, for healthy boundaries. Thank you for establishing right and wrong. Thank you for your loving discipline. And thank you for eternal forgiveness through Jesus.

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.

Psalm 25:4-7