MORAL AND CEREMONIAL PRINCIPLES
“If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money according to the bride-price of virgins. “You shall not permit a sorceress to live. “Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death. “He who sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed. “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. “You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. “If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest. If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down. For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious. “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people. “You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me. “And you shall be holy men to Me: you shall not eat meat torn by beasts in the field; you shall throw it to the dogs.(Exodus 22:16-31)’
God that instituted marriage right from the foundation of the world is making it as plain as possible that no man should sleep with any one unless she is His wife. This makes the bed to be honorable. Sex is only for two people that have been joined together as husband and wife. If a man sleeps with a virgin that has not been engaged, then he should pay the bride-price and make her his wife. But if the father refuses, he shall still pay the bride-price of virgins to her father. Virginity is a “heavy word” in Jewish customs and they hold it sacred. If you will recollect that, when Dinah, the only daughter of Leah and Jacob. was raped in Shechem, Simeon and Levi, her brothers, almost destroyed the entire city because of this sin. But today I do not know if the same thing operates in Israel, but I can say that God still holds it sacred. God says “I change not”. But thank God for grace released upon humanity, whoever made that mistake of sleeping with a man that she did not eventually marry, God forgives and allows her to still have a holy marriage. But the ideal thing is to save sex to after marriage. If you find yourself sleeping with a man you are not married to it is called fornication for an unmarried girl, and adultery for a married woman. The two are sin in the sight of God. As a matter of fact, such people are supposed to be stoned to death according to Mosaic law, but again thank God for Grace. If you were doing it unknowingly before, it is time to turn around and ask for forgiveness. If you find yourself doing it intentionally and thinking that God will forgive you, you need to run to God before Grace expires on you. Grace can expire, and you do not want to be caught in such a mess before you die.
The other points raised in this section are pronouncement of death on witches (sorcerers), those that sleep with animals, and those that bow down to idols. That is God’s instant judgment on them. God is God of mercy and He wants strangers to be treated right. He reminded them that they were foreigners for a long time in Egypt. I believe the fact that America open their doors to foreigners was the reason they were blessed. Even though there might be some fundamental problems that are still dividing them, but compared to many other countries they accommodate strangers more than others. We need to pray for America that their compassionate heart will not be used against them. Many of us who are here today are foreigners and they did not discriminate against us.. Other points have to do with having mercy on the poor. We should not afflict the poor, the widow or fatherless because God will fight for them with sword. So this is also warning to everyone. America has programs that looks after these group of people. I just pray that the Lord will continue to bless the charity organizations that take care of these ones and also extend to other countries. The remaining of this part talks about dedicating our first born son to Him, in honor to our God. Also we should dedicate first fruits to Him too. As long as we make Him (God) our first priority, there is nothing that should be difficult to do for God. He gave us everything we have and if He is asking for our firstborn son to be dedicated to Him, He is not asking too much. Remember He asked this from Abraham who had waited for only one son for 25 years, and when God requested for him, he willingly surrendered Isaac to Him, and we all know the outcome. He was blessed beyond measure. May the Lord continue to open us up to His Word so that we can apply our heats to wisdom, and obey His commandments in Jesus Name, Amen. Remain blessed!!!