Devotional Thought for Today
“A Dangerous Ox”
Exodus 21:28-29, 35-36
When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death…
When one man’s ox butts another’s, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and share its price, and the dead beast also they shall share. Or if it is known that the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall repay ox for ox, and the dead beast shall be his.
There is a verse in the book of Hebrews that scared the daylights out of me when I first read it. And I think it’s something that many of today’s Christians need to hear. “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” (Hebrews 10:26). To be clear, the author of Hebrews is not saying that there is a sin that’s too big for Jesus’ blood to cover. Of course not. Jesus’ blood is more than enough to cover any and all of our sins. However, what the author of Hebrews warns against is a spirit of rebellion. This is when someone knows the truth of the Gospel, understands the grace of God… and yet they willfully choose to live in sin. This type of behavior, according to the author of Hebrews, is not acceptable.
Today’s passage from Exodus 21 reflects a similar sentiment. In the passage, God explains the protocol for when an ox gores a person or another animal. Notice that if the owner had prior knowledge, the penalty becomes much more severe! In a way, the passage is saying, ‘How can you, after coming to knowledge about the dangerous nature of your ox, refuse to do something about it? This type of mistake is not an accident, it’s rebellion.’ Although this passage seems to be about oxen (a subject that is hardly relevant to us today), it also reveals a deeper principle… that once we come to know something, God expects us to take action on it.
The question for this morning is this: Is there any willful sin in your life? Is there a dangerous ox in your life that you know about, but haven’t taken action on? If so, it is not something that should be taken lightly! Instead, we should bring it to our Lord with a heart of repentance.
Prayer: Father, may we not live in the immature ways of our past. Instead, as we grow in the knowledge of You, may our actions follow suit. Give us grace, courage, and clarity this morning to deal with any willful sin that has gone unchecked. We bring it to you in repentance. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Cor. 1
Lunch Break Study
Read Hebrews 10:26-29: For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
Questions to Consider
- How did the Law of Moses treat those who deliberately rebelled against it?
- According to the passage, what does the Mosaic Law tell us about deliberate rebellion against Jesus?
- What exactly is the author of this passage warning against?
- Read Numbers 15:27-28, 30-31 – “If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven… But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.” In the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law ordered that anyone who committed willful sin be utterly cut off from the people.
- The passage compares rebellion against the Mosaic Law to rebellion against Jesus. It highlights that a rebellion against the Son of God is worthy of much worse punishment.
- If this passage has struck some fear into your heart. That is most likely a good thing. But it is important that we fear the correct things. The passage is not saying that we must live a perfect life, no is it saying that certain sins are too big in magnitude for Jesus’ blood to cover over. The passage starts off like this, “if we go on sinning deliberately…” The author is warning against living a lifestyle of willful sin after coming to knowledge of God’s saving grace. For such a person has already heard the Good News, and yet they still have chosen to live in rebellion to God. This is what we must be careful of!
Spend some time tonight meditating on Psalm 32:1-7
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah