We live in a nation where one side says it's okay to protest authority- and so what if someone else's property gets damaged in the process; the other side says it's all right to degrade our leaders for the poor job they do. One side thinks nothing of stretching the truth for a sound bite; the other side wants to build walls. One side says we must bend over backwards for the poor; the other says the poor are poor of their own device. Both sides say things that serve their purpose. What is God's side of the matter?
Exodus 23 (and the preceding chapter, quite frankly) is a particularly scathing indictment of this current society, given to Moses while on the Mount of Revelation. As I read it, I couldn't help but think of when King Josiah re-discovered the Books and read them to the people, and they cried. I wonder if we would cry now...
Let us take a look at part of this chapter.
Exo 23:1 You shall not raise a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
Not to get too political, but CNN's broadcast of the false story about the Secret Service speaking to Trump about the "2nd Amendment comment" is just the most currently glaring of the examples available. The news media, which we falsely believed was once honest and impartial, now has become so partisan on both sides it is barely worth listening to, and has gained a worse reputation than the politicians they shill for.
Not that the media and the pols have the market cornered, though. Apply and read on...
Exo 23:2 You shall not follow a multitude to do evil. Neither shall you speak in a cause in order to follow many in order to wrest judgment.
First thing I thought of was Ferguson. Out of every 100 protesters that have even a clue of what they are protesting, how many just go to parrot what they've been told without looking into it? How many just take advantage to wreak havok? And beyond that- if we accuse the political parties of dishonesty and trustworthiness, and then VOTE for them, how are we not indicted? Moving along...
Exo 23:3 And you should not favor a poor man in his cause.
Exo 23:6 You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his cause.
Two separate verses, one overriding thing- wealth or lack thereof should NOT affect judgment. And yet, rich criminals have a lot more access to judgment than poor innocents. And rich innocents get accused of using money to escape judgment BECAUSE they are rich.
We had a conversation at work the other day, when a vendor gave us all company-labeled boat key-ring floaties. One person said, not like those of us that make OUR wages can afford a boat, to which I responded tongue in cheek, "Those are for CUSTOMERS!" A joke yes, but also a divide. And we judge on divides in this world: black/white, rich/poor, man/woman. How do you judge? How do I judge?
Exo 23:4 If you meet your enemy's ox or his ass going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.
Exo 23:5 If you see the ass of him who hates you lying under his burden, and would hold back from helping him, you shall surely help him.
I thought about the pictures I have seen on Facebook of the Israeli athlete holding out his hand to the Egyptian athlete he had just defeated, and the Egyptian refusing it. But wait, had it been the Egyptian offering and the Israeli refusing, would the picture have been posted? I was angered by yet another story from India last night where a man walking was struck by a truck and seriously injured; the truck driver got out, looked him over, and drove away. The next guy that came along stopped long enough to steal the dying man's phone. One of many stories that I have shared about the septic tank India is becoming; but would I have blinked if it happened in New York, or Fort Wayne? It's all about examining the MOTIVE for your actions...
Exo 23:7 Keep far from a false matter, and do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked.
Exo 23:8 And you shall take no bribe, for the bribe blinds the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.
The heat on the "Clinton mafia" is rising; every day you see a new story about some low level DNC staffer meeting an "unfortunate accident" after harming Hillary's campaign in some way. True? Who knows. Now it's the "pay for play" DOJ that Hillary ran. But before we jump on the bandwagon against her, stop and think: What has the other guy done? Are we calling attention to one's evil to justify the actions of the other? Again, as the prosecutor would say, "goes to motive..."
Exo 23:9 Also you shall not oppress a stranger. For you know the heart of a stranger, since you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
And if you think I am hitting one side too hard, how much of the other campaign has been built directly contrary to this principle? I have long been opposed to illegals getting amnesty, and for the same reason I oppose free trade- I have no desire for an "even tide for everybody" lowering our nation to the world's level of mediocrity. But how do I- how do we- square that with this?
I don't have the answers on this one. All I have is a realization that in following our "political leanings" and looking at things on a MACRO level, we may be bringing ourselves into judgment- not by the world, not by the atheists and LGBTs, not by the Muslims and the Europeans- but by God's Word. Can we vote with our noses held, for "the greater good", realizing that it is in the end a "secular government"- and then go forth and live our lives in the micro? Can I "vote against" and still love? Can I "vote for" and not hate? I don't know about you, but I have a lot of thinking- and praying- to do before November comes.