People love to spread rumors and gossip, don’t they? So, God issued His Sundry laws against this behavior.
The laws of justice, mercy and the Sabbath especially regarded those who spoke wrongly against others in court because of personal reasons. This set of laws came after the protection of property we read in a previous study.
One main concern these Sundry laws address is treatment of the rich or privileged in the court system.
Also, God makes it very clear that He is totally against gossip and slander which could shatter an already fragile society.
This Christian Bible study lesson comes to us from Exodus 23. Let’s learn more about the Sundry laws and what the Scripture says about each.
Sundry Laws of Gossip, Slander and Justice in Exodus 23
“You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.
You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.
“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him.
If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall refrain from leaving it to him, you shall surely release it with him.
“You shall not pervert the justice due to your needy brother in his dispute.
Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for I will not acquit the guilty.
“You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.
“You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.
The Sabbath and Land
“You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat.
You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
“Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.
Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard; and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth. – Exodus 23:1-13 NASB
God’s Sundry Laws – Justice, Mercy and Gossip
These Sundry laws have to do with things that can disrupt families and friendships.
Spreading rumors or talking without the facts undermined the whole system of justice. And, God made no qualms that He was totally against these actions.
Who Started It?
“I didn’t start the rumor – I’m just passing it along to you.”
A very common defense, isn’t it? But, does it really matter who initiated the gossip if it’s not true?
If we can adapt the habit of saying; “The gossip stops here.” The, we can go a long way toward pleasing God in relation to this law.
And, maybe we will prevent causing a deep hurt among our family; our friends – and our neighbors.
Laws of Justice
In the second part of this lesson, we learn that justice should be dealt with the same no matter what the status of of the accused.
Special treatment under the law because a person is rich or poor should not be considered.
Laws of Impartiality
Just as God gave these laws for the society of Israel to live by, He will issue fair and impartial treatment to us when our time of judgment comes.
He will judge us on our character and the things we have done, right or wrong.
His justice comes without prejudice. So, be prepared.
We hide our wrong-doings from others – but we cannot hide from God.
Laws of Mercy
This is what sets apart God’s laws from the human justice system. God has mercy on those who come before Him – on one condition.
We will be absolved for our sins if we accept Christ and ask Him to stand in our place.
You see, we can’t ever be “good enough“ to get into heaven on our own. Neither can we “do enough good works” to be forgiven.
God’s mercy is not a balance sheet of how much good we did vs. how much wrong.
We have that beautiful promise of grace. God’s grace is the only way to have the wrong completely wiped clean – as if it never happened!
Isn’t God Awesome?
Love in Christ
If you would like to learn more about the love and life-changing experience of Christ, please take a moment to read these verses.