Contemplative Bible Reading

Some thoughts about Bible verses

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January 13th, 2018 · No Comments

Ezra 7:26 (New Living Translation)

Anyone who refuses to obey the law of your God and the law of the king will be punished immediately, either by death, banishment, confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.

This is part of a letter from a Gentile ruler to Ezra, a Jew. Note the last word, imprisonment.

God’s law, what we call the Old Law for which The Ten Commandments are the core, did not have a prison. Persons were not punished by removing them from society, holding them in a place, and hoping they saw the light or had some stroke of genius that told them to behave once they returned to society.

God’s law had harsh punishments that were roughly equivalent to the offense. This is the “eye for and eye” concept. Steal an animal, you give back another animal. Kill a person, you die. Commit adultery, you die. (Wait a minute, how is that equivalent? A topic for another day.)

God’s grace today: commit a crime in society, pay the penalty in that society as its rules dictates. That is what the ruler was writing to Ezra—the penalties of that society in that place at that time.

Oh, and then there is the rest of God’s grace: treat another person badly—not just commit a crime, but don’t fully love that person—you are guilty enough to die and suffer eternally. God, however, will cover that with the blood of His Son. Sounds like a pretty good deal. Sounds like something I don’t fully comprehend.

Tags: Ezra · Old Testament

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