God’s Covenant (Exodus 20-23) Paraphrased
Avoid the fixations of sin:
1. Fixations or obsessions
3. Not separating the holy from the everyday
4. Busi-ness – Not spending time with God
5. Rebellion against authority
6. Hatred, injustice and neglect
7. Sexual immorality
8. Theft, taking advantage of others
9. Deceit or lack of integrity
10. Selfish desires
Nothing in your life should be more important than God. Make understanding His teaching, obeying his law, and spending time praying and learning about Him your top priority.
Do not revere any force on this earth or astronomic force in the sky. Do not revere or give any superstitious belief to any image or pattern or representation of anything. That which you use as an altar to God should not be ornate, carved, or made of any material other than earth or stone.
Dedicate the seventh day to spending time with God and abstaining from regular work. Restore yourself and restore your relationship with God during this time because this is critical for maintaining your relationship with God. If you do not dedicate time to God or cheapen or improperly uses this time you will destroy your identity as one of God’s people, even if everything else you do is correct. In moderation give everything else a rest avoiding constant overwork, such as giving farmland a year of restoration after six years of work.
Respect your relatives and those more experienced than you. Be considerate to them, listen to them, and help them.
Do not commit adultery, or strongly desire that which is not yours.
Unintentional harm to another should not be punished, only compensation given to mitigate the harm. If even murder is committed accidentally, the murderer may flee the area but not be punished if the action was judged to be accidental. If violence occurs which does not kill someone, the guilty party is only responsible for paying for medical bills and for their loss of time.
Intentional sin is not to be tolerated. Kidnappers, spiritualists, premeditated murderers, those who commit unnatural sexual acts and those and those who abuse their own parents should be put to death. Irresponsible and preventable actions which lead to someone else’s death will be punished by putting the guilty and responsible party to death. An example of this is failing to confine an animal known to harm others.
Theft of any type should not be tolerated and must be recompensed more than the value of the theft, up to two to five times over. Killing a thief breaking into your property is not a sin, however vengeance sought after the fact is a sin. If the truth of a theft is not clear, a judge will decide, and if something loaned to another is destroyed beyond that person’s control them they are not responsible for it.
Any form of dishonesty is sinful and wrong. Examples of dishonesty include making false statements or agreeing / failing to dispute with those who are wrong. Following the crowd without leaving it or opposing it leaves you guilty of their actions. Giving preferential treatment to the poor in their dispute against the rich is wrong and evil.
Failing to help your worst enemy when you have the ability or opportunity to help is wrong.
It is wrong to take advantage of or mistreat strangers, widows, or orphans in any way.
Money should not be lent out with interest and essential property for life should never be taken away from someone, even if you are owed that property.
The very first and most valuable “first fruits” of everything should be dedicated to God. Of everything you earn, part of it or a monetary value in place of it should be given to God.
Make no agreement with those who do evil.
Commemorate your holidays in communal feasts celebrating and remembering God. Keep the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of harvest, and the feast of ingathering by gathering together as a community before the Lord. Do not follow the unnatural and evil pagan rituals or practices or perform the correct events with unclean or improper actions.
If you do all of this then God will send his angels to protect you and chase off and destroy those who commit evil deeds in competition to you. God will take away sickness and give you prosperity and bless your families.
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