Day 18

Honesty and Justice

from the Exodus reading plan


Exodus 22:1-31, Exodus 23:1-19, Proverbs 31:8-9, 1 Corinthians 10:24

BY Bailey T. Hurley

There is a sense in all of us that society can be better than it is. We were designed for a perfect world—relationships that would flourish in the safety of God’s protection—so it’s no surprise that our fall from Eden has left us wondering: Where is your mercy, God? What are you doing to bring justice to the evils we see? And what can I do to help?

In Exodus 22–23, God’s people have been saved out of slavery in Egypt and given a prescription for what life looks like together. Where there is abuse and people being taken advantage of, God expects His people to deliver kindness and protection. When someone costs others something, God calls them to make restitution. Where people benefit from falsehood, God demands the truth to be upheld. God says, “Be my holy people” (Exodus 22:31) because He is initiating a plan for a pattern of restoration for all of life. 

Where God’s laws began, Christ fulfills them (Matthew 5:17). Thus, through Jesus’s saving power, He calls us to continue our participation in restoring the lives and structures around us. In Matthew 22, the Pharisees approach Jesus and ask Him “which command in the law is the greatest?” And Jesus tells them to love the Lord and to love their neighbor. “All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands” (v.40). And I think that is what God is asking us to do today, to love Him and to love others. 

When we are near God’s heart, we can see the value of people who are made in the image of God and uphold human dignity. We can walk in wisdom as Proverbs 31:9 tells us to “speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.” God is using you and me, as believers, to reorder the injustices of today in a variety of ways. 

Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” May we all do our best to do what is good—defend justice and uphold honesty in every situation. This obedience is how we can participate in God’s holiness and it can take on so many forms as God calls us to protect the diminished voices in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, court systems, churches, and areas of influence. 

God is engaged in the brokenness of our world, and may we feel encouraged that He calls and equips us to walk with Him in His plan to redeem it. 

Post Comments (32)

32 thoughts on "Honesty and Justice"

  1. Portia Strange says:

    Exodus 22-23 reminds me of God’s heart for the ‘least of these’ (orphans, the poor, & widows). God makes it very clear that the people of Israel were to intentionally care for, provide for, & love marginalized people. Even though this text was written specifically to the people of Israel, we can see echoes of this command throughout the NT. So, this still applies to us today. God give us a heart for the ‘least of these.’ How might you be leading us to seek their good for Your glory?

    I’m curious as to what decade(s) did the government step in to aid those in need (financial assistance, food stamps, & section 8 housing). I’d love to research what role the Church played during those times.

    Lastly, 1 Corinthians 10:24 opposes everything our American society tells us to value. We can be so self-centered & self-obsessed (Christians included), only being concerned w/ our own good. God help us to be women who can look outside of ourselves & our needs to seek the good of our neighbors for Your glory!

  2. Angie Mills says:

    @HEIDI — I know the pain of rejection & loneliness that your daughter is going through. I went through the same thing with my 5th grade classmates that she went through last year. Every single child in my class my 5th grade year rejected me, wouldn’t play with me, or constantly teased me. Even children who would be friends with me outside of school would not be seen with me at school. It got so bad that my parents thought about pulling me out of that school and sending me somewhere else. They left the final decision up to me. The Lord gave me the wisdom to see that their actions weren’t just necessarily toward me, but a reaction to the Lord who lives in me. I was one of the few children in that class who made the life-changing commitment to follow Christ at a young age. He allowed me to realize that no matter what school I attended, I would face the same treatment. I thank God that I had a strong support system: my godly family, my godly & caring teachers who did what they could, and the faith that God gave me to cling to Him. It was a difficult time. My heart hurts for the pain children who face this kind of rejection face. I also rejoice that they are facing it now. Going through this kind of rejection now will help your child to grow into a stronger young lady. We grow best in difficulties. Like gold & silver that is refined with fire, we have to face trials in order to shine the light of Jesus. It was hard for me to face this rejection as a child, but having faced several different kinds of rejections as an adult, I thank God for that experience as a child. If I hadn’t faced rejection then, it would have made facing rejections as an adult so much harder.

    Thank you for being a godly parent and having the self-control to teach your child wisdom & godliness through this.

    I pray the following for you & your family:
    1. That the Lord would continue to give you & your husband wisdom & discernment during this trial.
    2. That the Lord would teach your daughter to guard her heart by tenaciously leaning on & clinging to Christ because of this trial.
    3. That your daughter would respond with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, & self-control with those who seek to hurt her, that she would shine the light of Jesus in the dark world of her classroom.
    4. That the Lord would bring in at least one other child that can be a friend to your daughter.
    5. That through this trial, your family can learn to speak up for those who face rejections in other areas of life.
    6. That the teachers & administration at your child’s school would be a support to your daughter, that they realize the injustice that is being committed and would make fair decisions concerning all involved.
    7. That the girls who are being unkind and aggressive would have a change of heart and a transformation of their mind, that God would draw them to Him and that they would commit their lives to following Him.
    8. That as you & your family face the fear & uncertainty of the new school year and how these two girls may treat your daughter that you would remember who God is, what His character is, and the plans He has for you and your daughter. God is good. He is in control of everything. Everything He does for your daughter is for your daughter’s good and His glory. God loves your daughter with an everlasting love and has plans for her. These plans are not to harm her, but are for her welfare, to give her a future and a hope.
    9. That you & your husband would help your daughter continue to seek God & His righteousness with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.
    10. That your daughter would have the wisdom to know when to be still and let the Lord fight for her and when to stand firm.
    11. That she would gird herself with the Lord’s armor every day: that she would rely on the Truth that God has been speaking to her, that God’s righteousness would flood her heart and help her as she reacts to these girls, that she would always be ready to spread the gospel of peace to everyone, that she would realize her faith in Christ will protect her from every lie and taunt that the evil one will throw her way through the words and actions of the girls who are being cruel to her, that she would remember Whose she is because of the salvation she has in Christ, that she would respond to these girls Biblically, and that she would continue to pray at all times.
    12. That you and your family would remember that her enemies are not these girls who are treating her so cruelly, but that her enemies are the rulers, authorities, cosmic powers over this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

    Praying for you and your family, and especially your daughter, as she starts this new school year.

  3. Sandi Stanley says:

    Amen!!

  4. Kimberly Ziehl says:

    Praying your for daughter Heidi. Just know you’re a great mom and showing her how to be kind goes further than anything mean girl

  5. Mercy says:

    Thank you Bailey for the wise words, I am loving every detail of this devotional (and CONGRATS on your new book). Like many others’ comments, I was struck by the verses in Proverbs 31 like never before, “Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy” NKJV. We are called to speak up justice, and God calls us with His precious calling, “Be my holy people”, set apart and representing Him, the just judge, the lion of Judah. Thank you Lord for choosing us, calling us, molding us in the smallest details of our thinking, understanding, speech and all other ways in our daily living to reflect You. Thank you Lord for our dear Savior Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our precious faith. Honesty and justice truly starts with you and me. I read somewhere that if 1 person meets and impacts 10 other persons throughout their lifetime (core impact not just acquaintance level), and that 10 will impact another 10, within like 10 years the whole world is impacted. Say if we impact 10 in our family and close friends/bff circle, give or take, throughout our lifetime, I think it is doable. The math can add up. Sometimes the most subtle and unintentional interactions we give can bring positive influence on others. It’s truly simple. Be a ripple effect maker. I am praying for you dear sisters Gwineth52, Heidi and your daughter, Lexi B, Dorothy’s sister’s back pain, Cee Gee and family. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge. Selah (Psalm 62:8). Be blessed dear sisters.

  6. Carol Crossman says:

    Romans 12:21 “do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” A verse for memory to make the right choices.

  7. Carol Crossman says:

    Praying for your family and all involved in this situation.

  8. Gwineth52 says:

    Hello Shes. Yesterday a She asked about my relationship with my step-daughter, one I find challenging & contentious. Today’s scripture lesson & devotional brought me to tears. The Law prescribed clear & concise & undeniable consequences for overt, outright, physical & visible results & wrong doings. Like theft & property destruction. But was silent on motivation & feelings & unseen matters of the heart. The ancient Israelites had judges to observe & administer righteousness as prescribe. Clear, concise & free of ambiguity. The ancient Israelites did not have mental health therapists, counselors, advisors or mentors to listen without judgement, and help them work through the underlying emotions. That emptiness why I’m crying this morning. I experience my step-daughter taking & not giving. She thrusts her young
    children, our grandchildren; their needs, wants, activities, expectations; in our faces continuously, and my husband submits. Reacting & responding more to her requests than my own. My therapist tells me some people are a “black hole”, consuming & insatiable. They can’t give what they don’t have within them. This morning I’m striving to pull myself back from the emotional deep by reading & praying over comments from several Shes; particularly the wise woman who wrote, “Trust the Holy Spirit to guide my heart. If I let my emotions take control of my thinking I can get into trouble”. “Speak to my heart in this area so I can hear You more clearly”. God, the Father, help me dry the tears; soothe my soul; and send me into the new day, trusting You; leaning on You; letting Your voice be the loudest. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Selah

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