Day Sixty, Various Passages from Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
Today’s reading includes more rules and regulations regarding people’s personal rights and responsibilities. It includes instructions for people to take responsibility for damage or destruction that they’ve caused; instructions on treating slaves with dignity rather than harshly; instructions not to charge interest or take as collateral something that a person needs to survive; instructions on canceling debts; obligations to the poor; rules about keeping your oaths; and instructions about dealing honestly with people, using proper weights and measures.
Again, I love the emphasis on treating people fairly, as God reminds the people that they are dealing with their brethren. In short, they are to treat people the way they would want to be treated. Jesus would lay out this golden rule for his followers in Matthew 7:12.
Also in this reading is a passage that became one of my favorites a long time ago, as it is the source for a song that I learned at church camp when I was approximately 10 or 11 years old. I’m not sure who wrote the song, or I would give credit where credit is due. But the song is called Pierce My Ear and the words are as follows:
Pierce my ear, O Lord my God;
Take me to Your door this day.
I will serve no other God.
Lord I’m here to stay.
For you have paid the price for me;
With your blood you ransomed me.
I will serve you eternally;
A free man I’ll never be.
So what does serving God eternally have to do with piercing my ear? Well, in Exodus 21, God gives these instructions regarding an Israelite that takes one of his Hebrew brothers as a slave:
“If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”