Exodus Leaders Notes Session 10
The "slave laws" in Exodus 21 can present difficulty for modern readers. Some see these laws as evidence that God is not the loving person that He claims to be. A loving God, after all, would forbid slaver rather than give rules to regulate it. While this modern perspective is understandable, there are two main problems with it. First, regulating something does not mean that God is endorsing that matter. The giving of regulations is a way for God to protect the vulnerable in the broken world they live in. Divorce is another example of this. Laws are given in Leviticus and Deuteronomy for divorce, but in Matthew 19, Jesus makes it clear that God does not approve of divorce. The laws were given because God knows that divorce is part of living in a broken and sinful world. The laws protect those involved and help prevent things (divorce, slaves, etc.) from getting worse.
The second problem is sometimes called "modern arrogance," meaning that we assume our understanding is automatically superior to an older one because we are modern. In this case, we see that our modern understanding of the word slavery does not fit the practice of those to whom the laws were given. As Dr. Smith points out in the video, we are wrong to insert our understanding of slavery into these verses.
Regardless of the exact meaning of the word slavery, we can, however, say with a fair degree of confidence that we will not need these laws to help us live our daily lives. So do we just skip over them? No! As Dr. Smith shows us, these laws are beautiful and valuable because they are a window into God's character and His love for all.
Schedule note: this is the week that the group needs to start the conversation regarding what will happen after the 12th session. Depending on how frequently the group has met, there may be time for another short study before the summer season hits. If it is close to the summer (June-August) CCC can provide a plan for the group to stay connected through these sporadic months. If you or the group do not want to continue, then celebrate what God has done through the Exodus study and the connections that were made.