You are to be my holy people . . . You were aliens. (22:31–23:9 NIV)
One huge truth undergirds all of Exodus: once we are redeemed, every single aspect of life must be brought into obedience to the Lord’s word. The often strange-sounding laws of Exodus illustrate this truth. God’s word should govern the way we order our lives socially (21:12-27), politically (22:28), and religiously (22:18-20). It should guide us in our relationships (22:16-17, 21-24), what we do with our property (22:1-15), and our use of money (22:25-27).
Incidentally, since bondservants are mentioned in this passage, we should note that there is no vocabulary of “slavery” in the Old Testament, nor any social stratum of “slaves.” “Servants” (as in 21:2) were members of the extended family, bound not for life but for a limited period, protected (Genesis 17:12-14) by entering the covenant community through circumcision, or (in the case of girls) by safe-guarding legislation (Exodus 21:7ff.).
Everything in our lives must be traceable to our redemption, what we once were, what we are now, and how—by the unmerited, undeserved grace of God—the change came about (23:9).
But we are not left to puzzle out how to show the difference in our conduct. Ours is the positive “separateness” of obedience to the Word of God (21:1; 23:13).
Lord, as you are holy, let me be holy in all I do. (1 Peter 1:15)