Today is Thursday, July 20. Today you will obey all kinds of laws without even thinking about them. Maybe you will break a traffic rule and feel badly about it. But by and large you will probably be a good citizen without having to think too hard about it. Why is that? -Ian

CONNECT (Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_There are rules everywhere in your life. Have you ever made a rule for yourself, your family, place of work or group in the community? Why did you do this?
_ How is the Lord impacting someone you are walking with (to help grow in or discover Jesus)?

PRAY
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold! Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. [ From Psalm 119 ]

DISCOVER  [ Exodus 21.33-23.19 ]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

33 “When a man opens a pit, or when a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit shall make restoration. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead beast shall be his.

35 “When one man's ox butts another's, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and share its price, and the dead beast also they shall share. 36 Or if it is known that the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall repay ox for ox, and the dead beast shall be his.

22  “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. 2  If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, 3 but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. 4 If the stolen beast is found alive in his possession, whether it is an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.

5 “If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets his beast loose and it feeds in another man's field, he shall make restitution from the best in his own field and in his own vineyard.

6 “If fire breaks out and catches in thorns so that the stacked grain or the standing grain or the field is consumed, he who started the fire shall make full restitution.

_ What or who are these laws protecting?
_ In v36, what exception is given to the preceding law?
_ In ch22 v3 what is the significance of the sun being risen on the thief? Why does this change the justifiability of the death?

7 “If a man gives to his neighbor money or goods to keep safe, and it is stolen from the man's house, then, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. 8 If the thief is not found, the owner of the house shall come near to God to show whether or not he has put his hand to his neighbor's property. 9 For every breach of trust, whether it is for an ox, for a donkey, for a sheep, for a cloak, or for any kind of lost thing, of which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before God. The one whom God condemns shall pay double to his neighbor.

10 “If a man gives to his neighbor a donkey or an ox or a sheep or any beast to keep safe, and it dies or is injured or is driven away, without anyone seeing it, 11 an oath by the Lord shall be between them both to see whether or not he has put his hand to his neighbor's property. The owner shall accept the oath, and he shall not make restitution. 12 But if it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner. 13 If it is torn by beasts, let him bring it as evidence. He shall not make restitution for what has been torn.

14 “If a man borrows anything of his neighbor, and it is injured or dies, the owner not being with it, he shall make full restitution. 15 If the owner was with it, he shall not make restitution; if it was hired, it came for its hiring fee.

_ Why is God's judgement invoked in v8 + v10? Why are these cases beyond a human ability to solve?
_ To what extent is someone who keeps someone else's animals safe responsible for that animal? At what point does the one keeping the animal no longer have any duty of care?
_ What abuse of the law does v15 protect a borrower from?

16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.

18 “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.

19 “Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death.

20 “Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction.

21 “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, 24 and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

25 “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him. 26 If ever you take your neighbor's cloak in pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down, 27 for that is his only covering, and it is his cloak for his body; in what else shall he sleep? And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

28 “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

29 “You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. 30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.

31 “You shall be consecrated to me. Therefore you shall not eat any flesh that is torn by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.

_ What might the law in v16-17 seek to be preventing or warning people about?
_ How are v18-20 related? What divine or natural boundaries are being transgressed?
_ in v21, why must Israel care for those who are refugees or traveling? How does God value those at risk?
_ Why must the coal (v26) be returned? 
_ Where does the ice of the firstborn son being given to God come from? (v29)

23 “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. 2 You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice,3 nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.

4 “If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. 5 If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.

6 “You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit. 7 Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. 8 And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.

9 “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

_ What connection is being made between being a people consecrated to the Lord, and being upright and just in Israel's dealings?
_ What kind of person helps their enemies oxen? (v5)
_ In v6 we return to the discussion of the right use of law and courts. How does the anecdote about helping our enemies with their oxen illuminate the impartiality of justice?
_ Why does God remind the people that they were sojourners at this point? (v9)

10 “For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.

12 “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.

13 “Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.

14 “Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. 15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. 16 You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. 17 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God.

18 “You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the fat of my feast remain until the morning.

19 “The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.

“You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.

_ How do v10-11 give confidence in the instruction of v12?
_ Why might the command to make no mention of the names of other gods be immediately followed by a command to remember Israel's God by feasting?
_ Does the context of the command about the young goat illuminate why it was prohibited? Could it have something to do with feasting and worship?

+ HOW am I compelled to respond to what I learned today with a simple step of action?  (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Do I believe that God desires that I live in a particular way?
_ Do you find it hard to follow God's ways? Do you have objections to the things you are asked to do? Talk about things you believe God calls Christians to do, and why they might be difficult or why you might disagree.

+ WHO are you walking with that you might pass along or encourage what you learned, with today? (e.g., your family around the dinner table, a friend, co-worker or neighbor you are walking with to discover the message Jesus)