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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Exodus 22

Verse 6

Exodus 22:6

In the twenty-second chapter of Exodus the rights of property are defended, and the text before us may be considered as the law of fire insurance under the Mosaic dispensation. The law was a constant lesson to the people on their vast responsibility for the consequences of their conduct. God's law thus showed that Omnipotence identified itself with every just claim, and would insist on compensation for every wrong inflicted.

I. This ancient law brings into view the general doctrine of liability for the consequences of our actions and neglect. Nothing is more difficult than to raise in most men's minds a vivid sense of the wide-spreading results of their own character and conduct. They readily acknowledge the responsibility of others, but not their own. Men never take so modest a view of their own individuality as when the object is to set forth the insignificance of their own contribution to the "evil that is in the world." But such calculations are founded on a gross delusion. The most commonplace sinner has a power of mischief in him which might sadden the blessed as they look at it.

II. The dormant sense of liability for the consequences of our conduct ought surely to be awakened by considering how we hold other men responsible in common life. Society is pervaded by the law of personal responsibility; the weight rests on every head, on every heart. It is the burden of life which every man must bear. Every man's sphere of action is much wider than he imagines. The punishment of sin always seems to a habitual transgressor disproportionate to the offence. There is not a sinner who will not be astounded when God "sets in order before him" the facts of his case.

III. The right conception of judgment to come is the bringing to the consciousness of the finite the knowledge of the Infinite in this regard. " This hast thou done." He who subverts the faith or the conscience of one soul subverts in effect the faith and conscience of all souls, and "their blood will I require at the watchman's hand."

IV. These considerations should impress the mind with a new sense of the infinite bearings of our thoughts, words, and actions, and should make us "swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." Let to-day be the day of salvation by becoming the day of judgment, for "if we would judge ourselves, we should not be condemned with the world."

E. White, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 392.

References: Exodus 22:6 . Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 239. Exodus 22:24 . S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 93.Exodus 22:26 . Expositor, 3rd series, vol. v., p. 166. Exodus 23:6 . J. W. Burgon, Ninety-one Short Sermons, No. 77. Exodus 23:9 . Parker, Christian Chronicle, May 10th, 1883.Exodus 23:12 . S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Pulpit, 1st series, No. 4.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Exodus 22". "Sermon Bible Commentary".