The thought of stoning someone to death is horrendous! I am uncomfortable even pondering this. It seems barbaric. I recently read a book on Islam and they continue stoning, honor killing and other forms of brutal punishment under Sharia Law. Picturing the scenes in that book and picturing the punishments here in this chapter make me wince.
So what do I do with this chapter and the stoning of a blasphemer? Do I say this can’t be a loving God? No. I believe this book to be fully God’s Word. So sit and listen and ponder.
First, I set to understand some of the culture; the eye for eye, etc. was actually a moderating force in the world to which these commands were given. Before God gave this law the stronger person could impose any punishment he wanted on the other, far exceeding comparable punishment for the crime. Therefore this approach was a significant step toward fairer humanity.
Second, I am thankful that I live under the New Covenant where forgiveness, thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross, is reality. Not that sin is to be taken lightly, still forgiveness can be found, thanks to Jesus.
Thirdly, dishonoring God and misusing God’s name is not some minor breach of etiquettes. A name was the verbal representation of the person. Blaspheming God’s name was blaspheming God. It shatters the 4th Commandment and, again, God was making a statement that His rules were to be followed. Obedience was expected.
I don’t like the thought that God can punish sin… BUT I can’t remove God’s prerogative and it is because God does punish sin that Jesus came to take the punishment our (MY) sin deserves!
So in the end I sat and blessed God for sending Jesus… because the Israelites fate in the story could/should be mine were it not for Jesus
Oh, God, Thank You for the cross… thank You for the nail scared hands…