Parashah Mishaptim 2021 (Ordinances) Exodus 21 – 24

These ordinances are regarding slavery, accidental death caused by someone else, other torts, and reimbursement for different types of personal injury and loss.

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There are ordinances against witchcraft, sodomy, polytheism, and unfair treatment of people with financially less than yourself. We are also told about the treatment of people, in general, such as fairness in the courts, avoiding mob mentality (lynching), and respect for the property of others, even if they are your enemy.

The final ordinances are regarding the Shabbat and the pilgrimage festivals, and at the end of this parashah, we are told that Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the tablets of the law from God, and was there for 40 days and nights.

There are three different types of “laws” within the Torah: Mitzvot, Mishpatim, and Chukim.

The mitzvot are the laws that are plain to understand why we are given them, such as the law against murder.

The mishpatim, which we read in today’s parashah, can be understood to a point, but not all can be totally understood and some are considered to be Edot. For the most part, as we see today, they deal with laws that are more like misdemeanors and civil actions, such as torts, slavery, and social contracts.

The Chukim are those laws for which we have no idea why they exist. These include the rules about the showbread in the Sanctuary, the prohibition against wearing two types of cloth, and the Laws of Kashrut (Kosher.)

Over the past two-plus decades that I have known the Lord, accepted his Messiah, and studied his word, I have seen so many people try to explain why God gave us these rules. They say it is for health reasons, because the Hammurabi Laws already established them, because as a nation we now needed a constitution and penal code, and so on. These all may make sense and be valid, or they may just be someone’s imaginings, but here is what I say:

It doesn’t matter why God gave us these rules.

We have been given laws, ordinances, commandments, and rules regarding how we are to worship God and how we are to treat each other. There could be any number of reasons why God told us to do these specific things, but all we need to know is that he is God and he always wants what is best for us. We must trust that what he says we should do is the best way for us to act, and the best way for us to be able to be with God for all time in the hereafter.

I once read that any God who can be understood by the mind of man is not worthy of the worship of man. That being said, to try to understand why God gives us these laws is almost an insult to him, implying that we mere mortals, less than worms compared to God, could ever be on the same mental and spiritual plane that God is on.

Here is today’s simple, easy-to-understand message:

Stop trying to figure out why God does what he does
or says what he says!

You never will, and all you will end up doing is confusing yourself and possibly others. The only important thing to know about the rules we are told to obey that come from God is that they come from God, and if you can’t trust him enough to simply accept that and work within it, then you have issues of faith that you really need to work on.

Humans always want to understand the “why” of something, and I confess I am no different- my favorite TV shows are on the History and Discovery channels, especially “How It Works” and “How It’s Made”- I LOVE those shows!

The problem with us humans is that once we understand how something works, we think we are better than the one who first invented it! Oh, sure, I can take a car engine apart and put it back together, explaining how all the parts work, but I didn’t create it! I didn’t have that idea, that origination of thought that saw the internal combustion engine and was able to fathom how it works, designing the intricate parts and combining them in a way that made it function.

And when we try to understand why God says what he says, we are doing that same thing, which leads into the sin of thinking we are as good as God!

And you wanna know something? We aren’t!

So, if you are one of those who just have to know why God gave a specific instruction or regulation, please stop asking why and just accept that it is given for your benefit, to help you become more holy and to secure your salvation.

And, frankly, if that isn’t good enough for you, then you will just have to live with disappointment because you will never understand God, unless God, himself, tells you why.

And one last thing: if he does tell you why, keep it to yourself because I don’t want to understand why: I would rather obey from trust than from understanding.

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That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!

Comments welcomed (just be nice)