Exodus 23:1-9
Matthew 7:12


“… whatsoever ye would
that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them …”



Continuing on from the last five commandments on loving your neighbour as yourself, God instructs honest dealings with others. They were not to bear false witness or gang up with the unrighteous to bring false reports against the innocent. Exodus 23:2 strongly forbids running with the crowd to do wicked things to pervert justice. The Christian must not follow the majority but must be sure that what we are part of is just and fair. It is easy to be part of a crowd to bully the weak. While Exodus 23:6 commands that we must not pervert justice against the poor, Exodus 23:3 also reminds us that we must not simply take sides with the poor just because they are poor. The lesson is that truth must guide all our actions, not majority or minority, rich or poor. Exodus 23:4-5 expects that we act rightly when we find something. We are not to pretend and keep it for ourselves. There is a great temptation to keep an expensive animal such as an oxen or a useful work animal such as the ass. Do you return only cheap and useless things but keep expensive and useful things? That is not being honest. Exodus 23:5 even expects us to take care of belongings of our enemies if we find them. Christians must endeavour to return what we find to its rightful owners under any circumstance, no matter who they are. Do not make excuses. Look in your drawers and book shelves. Are you keeping something that you know belongs to someone else? Exodus 23:7 is explicit about not being part of anything that is untrue which can impact others. Have nothing to do with the wicked plots and lies of others. There is the temptation to jump on the bandwagon of falsehood especially if it can mow down someone we dislike. Exodus 23:8 warns us to be honest and not be tempted by gifts. A person who loves gifts can be easily bribed. Such a person will take sides and not be honest. Are you an impartial person who cannot be bought over by gifts or privileges? Exodus 23:9 again reminds God’s children not to oppress strangers because they were once strangers. The lesson is to put ourselves in others’ shoes and be honest – would we like to be treated that way?

THOUGHT: God commands us to deal honestly with all matters.
PRAYER: LORD, teach me to always deal with others rightly.