In just about every society around the globe, laws are given, and order is to be maintained to keep the local society in a state of peace or an orderly structure of society. It is the enforcement of laws to control violence and crime. It is a condition marked by societal norms of respect and obedience to that society’s rules.
If a law is broken, the action is deemed a me. A crime is the deliberate committing of an act that is typically regarded as harmful to society. To maintain order within the established society, a crime that has been punished is to be distributed. Punishment is the deliverance of some loss on a person for a transgression of a law.
Has anyone reading this or hearing this message ever broken a law? If so, did you receive some type of punishment? Children who disregard something their parents have instructed them to do or not to do may have certain privileges revoked: cars, no telephone use, not allowed to watch television or play video games, not allowed to use the family car, etc. Adults who may have disobeyed a law, such as speeding, might receive a ticket. If an adult does something wrong at their place of employment, they may be fined, reprimanded, receive a loss in their paycheck, or maybe even fired from their job.
Can we agree that all laws, regulations, directions, etc., are human only? No? So, laws are also of a spiritual nature? Really? Wow, what a thought. We can see various crimes committed on any television news broadcast. From our own personal point of view from what we hear about, we all may agree or disagree that the alleged criminals did or did not receive the proper punishment for their crimes. Is that a correct generalized statement?
When we read Exodus 20:1-17, we can see that it gives us the Ten Commandments. This was God’s Law given to the children of Israel. Why was God’s new nation dependent on the Law? God demonstrated to His people the true design and elegance of the Law at the base of Mount Sinai. Israel was to live a life of practical holiness through the Law. Its orders and rules were meant to tell the community how to meet each person’s needs lovingly and responsibly. However, by Jesus’ time, most people had a negative perspective on the Law. They saw it as a path to success in this world and the next. They believed the only way to obtain God’s protection from foreign invasion and natural disaster was to observe every law. Keeping the law became a goal in and of itself, not a tool for enforcing God’s ultimate law of love.
Just a moment ago, I commented that we may all agree or disagree with the statement that alleged criminals do or do not receive the proper punishment for the crimes that they have committed. I know I have passed my judgment on what I have heard on the news. But today, we need to take some time to look at our Scripture, think about what has happened, mull it over for a bit, and agree with it or disagree with it. That is your choice. But we can all agree that there is a penalty that all of humanity will pay for some actions that we have or have not, may or may not commit.
Now, we will get into the message for today.
The Penalty for Cursing God
What did this man do? This man was half Jewish and half Egyptian. He went out and met a Jewish man, and they “strove together in the camp.” I understand that to mean that they were walking together. Then suddenly, the one man blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed. He was taken before Moses and put into custody. The people wanted to see what the Lord wanted them to do with this man.
What was God’s reaction? The Lord tells Moses to bring the man outside the camp; those who heard the man are to lay their hands upon him and let the congregation stone him. What?! Just for cursing, does the man have to be stoned? That seems a bit harsh, but it was God’s verdict of the man’s crime, and the sentence was to be carried out. The Lord goes on to tell Moses that anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death by stoning, whether the person is a stranger or one who is part of the congregation (Exodus 22:28; Acts 23:5). Moses tells the children of Israel what God has said, and they did as the Lord had commanded.
Punishment for Sin Today
What have we learned from this, that cursing is terrible? Yes, it is, especially in blaspheming the name of the Lord. It is an insult. God is serious regarding sin, any sin. Sin is to be punished.
Have any of us committed this same crime? What has been our punishment? Should we all be stoned? Have we committed any worse crimes? What was the punishment? Where and how do we stand today?
Is there hope?
Would you please now turn to
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