The marvel of God’s law…
“If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep. 2 If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. 3 If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. 4 If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double.”
Exodus 22:1-4 (NKJV)
Western law and American law in particular was built upon Biblical law. Historical revisionism and modern revisionist jurisprudence have taught us that God’s law is to be avoided and that it is an evil oppression. However, when God’s law is removed, man’s law fills the void. Law not founded on Biblical law is always oppressive and increasingly so the further removed it is from Biblical law. Degradation of Biblical law leads to more oppressive laws and government.
There is good reason to love the law of God. In daily Bible reading today I came across the above passage (Exodus 22:1-4). At first I puzzled over why in verse 1 the man who steals an ox or sheep had to restore 4 or 5 and the man who steals in verse 4 has to restore only the stolen plus 1 more. As I looked more closely I saw that the man in verse 1 had killed or sold the stolen property while the man in verse 4 still had the property in his possession.
Why the difference? As I pondered this I saw that the man in who had sold or killed the stolen property was utterly and irretrievably committed to his theft while the man who still had the property in his possession may or may not have been so. The man who still had the property with him may have been struggling with his conscience as to whether he should return the stolen property, or it is also possible that he did not yet have the opportunity to kill or sell the stolen property. I believe the mercy of God is seen here in that the law of God gives the thief the benefit of the doubt. God’s law is on the side of innocence; it assumes the man is in a repentant posture and possibly in process of restoring the stolen property. (Matthew Henry concurs with this analysis.) This Biblical principle is why American law has historically deemed a man innocent until proven guilty. This is a blessing of God’s law. Oppressive? Hardly!
As we meditate on God’s law, the law Jesus came not to abrogate, destroy or remove (Matthew 5:17-20), we will gain wisdom and learn to say with the Psalmist,
“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
May God’s law be restored to American society, indeed, may God’s law rule every society!
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
James 1:25 (NKJV)
Official ICCP Document 23: God’s Law for All Societies
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