Social Code: “the rules and standards that a community adheres to.”
God was equipping His people to possess the land and live in community, according to His rules and standards. With our western mentality we may find some of His statutes a bit confusing, but we must remember God was setting apart a people unto Himself to live distinct from the surrounding pagan nations.
His Social Code provided instruction for community living, how to relate to God and to one another, and commanded the intentional calling to mind of what God had done when He redeemed them out of the bondage of slavery.
Submitting to His Social Code was intended to produce a thriving community consumed in worship and gratitude, kindness and mercy. His Social Code, when adhered to, would produce grateful members of society who lived to worship their God and be a blessing to others.
Consider His Social Code
- His Social Code would guard against defilement and sin.
- … since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, (24:4).
- His Social Code would safeguard and benefit marriage.
- When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken, (24:5).
- His Social Code would purge the evil from among His people.
- so you shall purge the evil from among you, (24:7).
- His Social Code would instill consequences as a deterrent against disobedience.
- Be careful against an infection of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the Levitical priests teach you; as I have commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. 9 Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam on the way as you came out of Egypt, (24:8-9).
- His Social Code would protect the poor.
- If he is a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge. 13 When the sun goes down you shall surely return the pledge to him, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you; and it will be righteousness for you before the Lord your God.14 “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, …so that he will not cry against you to the Lord and it become sin in you, (24:12-15).
- His Social Code would establish personal accountability
- Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin, (24:16).
- His Social Code would care for the alien, orphan and widow.
- You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. 18 But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing… When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. 22 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing, (24:17-18,21-22).
How do we respond to His Social Code?
His Social Code is intended for His glory and our good.
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16).
So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us, (Deuteronomy 6:24).
- Let us submit to Him in obedience, that we would become a people, holy and distinct within a lost world.
- May we never forget His amazing grace when He redeemed us out of the bondage of sin and darkness.
- Let us grow in our worship and gratitude to proclaim the excellencies of our compassionate and merciful God.
- May our lives glorify God as we witness to the lost through our holy living.
- May we seek to bear His fruit in our community, adhering to His Social Code and extending to others the very kindness and mercy we have received from Him.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation, (1 Peter 2:9-12).