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March 21, 2018

Stick to Your Word

Word In Life Bible Study • Ethics & Values
How consistent is your discipline if you are in authority? Justice for all means justice for each one.

. (1) Enforce standards from the beginning. God had already told His people that He considered blasphemy a capital offense (Ex. 20:7). This case involving Shelomith's son (Lev. 24:10-12) was the first major test of that law. God followed through on His warning by instructing Moses to carry out a sentence of stoning. In effect, God was making an example of the young blasphemer.

The principle here is to make expectations clear and then start tough. There's no point in letting improper behavior slide, hoping it won't happen again. It invariably will. But if people can see that there are definite consequences for noncompliance, they are likely to think twice before violating the policy.

. (2) Hold everyone to the same standard; don't play favorites. The fact that the text names the offender's father as an Egyptian (Lev. 24:10) is significant. Perhaps some among the Israelites thought that the severity of the man's punishment was due to his racially mixed background: he was the son of a foreigner; he had cursed Israel's God; so of course he would be punished by stoning.

But God made it clear that there would be no double standard: "Whoever curses his God . whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord . the stranger as well as him who is born in the land" would be punished (24:15-16, emphasis added). God had no intention of playing favorites.

How consistent is your discipline if you are in authority? Justice for all means justice for each one. Certainly there are times for mercy and taking into account extenuating circumstances. But fairness demands that even these be exercised evenly.

Study notes from the Word In Life Study Bible, copyright 1993,1996, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. The study notes from the Word In Life Study Bible appearing at this web site are for personal use only.
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