Exodus 23: Who decides what’s right?

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Everyone has an opinion, but not every opinion is correct. However, in today’s culture, many believe that everyone has the right to live as they please. In essence they are saying every opinion is correct. This belief makes every individual the judge of what is right and wrong. This kind of logic leads to the conclusion that there is no absolute right and wrong, only varying opinions. But God says something different:

“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd.” Exodus 23:2

Moses gives the people “the Book of the Law,” God’s blueprint for the nation to live in prosperity. It’s full of guidelines that foster moral behavior and protect the lives of the weak and defenseless. Tucked in there is this one little sentence about not following the crowd, but to me it speaks volumes about the basis for determining right and wrong. “The crowd” cannot be your compass for what is right or true. Doing “what everyone else is doing” is no guarantee that you will do what you should do. Yet in our culture today, the vote of the crowd is exactly what determines truth. To be very current, if the crowd says gay marriage is wrong, it isn’t allowed, or if the crowd says gay marriage is the right thing, it becomes legal. The power of influence determines what is right and wrong.

But God says the crowd, the majority, opinion, power, or influence cannot be the source of truth because there is another authority that is absolute: his own word as revealed in the Bible. Opinions will change. Influence comes and goes. The truth never changes because it has been established by God forever.

There was a time in Israel’s history that was much like today: the time of the Judges. The author of Judges says:

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 21:25

There are some heroes of the faith in Judges, but overall it records the repeated failure of the people of Israel to be true and faithful to the God who kept delivering them. If we want to be God’s faithful followers, we must hold to the truth revealed in his word. As for my opinion, it isn’t worth a hill of beans if it doesn’t line up with God’s truth.

Image by Linda Tanner on Flickr, CC by 2.0

4 thoughts on “Exodus 23: Who decides what’s right?

  1. “But what is truth?”, asks Pilot. One of the undercurrent themes of God’s revelation to us, finally embodied to us in the man Jesus, loading Pilot’s statement with painful irony. But even today learned men of scripture come to radically divergent and often erroneous (it seems to me) conclusions about hard issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and divorce. How do we find truth when it there is such disagreement. The answer (other than Jesus himself) might be contained in an obscure reference in a minor NT letter. But we will have to wait until we get there to discuss that. 😉

  2. Even Christians disagree at times, but the key question should always be: am I doing what seems right to me, or what God reveals through his word. There are many areas of non-moral decisions that God leaves up to our wisdom to decide, but when it comes to those hot-button issues you mentioned it appears that many people place their own ideology above God’s word.

  3. Pingback: Old Testament Round-up | Bible in a Year Blog

  4. Pingback: Bible Daily Devotional – Old Testament Round-up | ChristianBlessings

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