READ: Exodus 22-23
THINK: Are you familiar with the term "mob mentality"? Have you been guilty of that kind of thinking? If you've ever been convinced, provoked, inspired or stirred up to do something just because everyone else around you was doing it, then you've succumbed to mob mentality. It has to do with the fact that people will tend to do things with a group or crowd that they would not normally do on their own. Often, this translates to trouble or disruption-even destructive behavior-though groups of people can also inspire each other to do good. You might know all of this as "peer pressure." God's Word gives a simple instruction about it: "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong" (23:2).
RESPOND: What do the laws in this passage indicate about God's standards of justice and personal responsibility? Why are sorcery and witchcraft so detestable to God? (See 22:18 note.) What kinds of sin were punishable by death under Old Testament law, and why (cf. 22:18-20)? Why do you think God takes so seriously the mistreatment of widows and orphans? (See 22:22-24 note.) In what ways might people tend to take advantage of those in need? (See 22:25 note.) In what ways can we show compassion to those in need? Why did God require the people to devote their firstborn sons and livestock to Him? What influence-good and bad-can groups of people have on each other (cf. 23:1-2)? Why will people do things with a group or crowd that they would not do on their own? How can following the crowd or listening to popular opinion lead to injustice? Why do people tend to care what others think of them? What were the benefits of the Sabbath laws, and how can we apply these principles today? Why did God warn so staunchly about practices associated with other religions? (See 23:24 note.) Does healing and good health imply that a person is right with God? Why or why not? (See 23:25-26 note.) Why did God drive Israel's enemies out of the land over time rather than immediately (23:29-30)? Why and in what way does God do the same for us?
PRAY: Ask God to help you behave honestly, responsibly and compassionately toward people in all things. Pray that God will give you patience, strength and endurance as you wait for Him to do things in His own time.
ACT: Do something practical to help someone in need. Perhaps you could visit or volunteer to run an errand for someone who is shut-in. If there are any spiritually questionable activities in your life, or if you are following the influence of others to do something that is not God-pleasing, put an immediate end to such behavior.
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