“Suppose someone leaves money or goods with a neighbor for safe-keeping, and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house…if the thief is not caught, the neighbor must appear before God, who will determine if he stole the property.”
Until this point, Moses and the men he had appointed had been handling every dispute the thousands of Israelites came up with and could not settle themselves. Here, God started laying some ground rules. Many situations were covered in detail so that no third party had to be brought in to decide the matter; they already had His decision on what should be done in writing.
But this verse caught my attention because, while He did significantly relieve the amount of involvement required of the human leaders, God did not just put in place a bunch of rules and then leave them to it. He wrote himself into them over and over.
If no one saw the thief, I saw, bring it to me. (v. 7-8)
If no one knows whose claim is true, I know, bring it to me. (v. 9)
When the complaint of the helpless falls on deaf ears, I hear. They can bring it to me and I will do something about it. (v. 22-24)
The law was never entrusted to human hands with the intent that they would interpret or enforce it independent of their God. He did not designate a person who would be the go-to for difficult situations or grey areas. He designated himself.
It was not just a legendary document with mystical origins; it was communication from a God who continued to offer communication. A God who did not stand aloof, far-off, watching people struggle to discern what He really meant. A God who was heavily involved with his people, who did not ask them to stand and face the oncoming chariots without coming down himself to stand in the way.
Not too busy or too important to step into their individual situations.
He asked them to bring him into it; into disputes, into mysteries, into feasts. He intended for them to make Him an integral, familiar part of their daily lives. He was a God to be held holy and regarded with caution, but also a God that they recognized was for them; a God that was concerned with the smallest matters of the heart as much as He was with battles and territories and armies.
Teach me this: you still offer to be heavily involved with my oh-so-daily problems and decisions. You want my heart to acknowledge you in all of it. There’s no category where your preference is that I not bother you with it. And you come yourself to stand guard, to hold me firm.
There are not enough black and white situations for me to just go off of rules and not ask for understanding. Life is full of grey areas. And so, from the beginning, you have said to come to you when I don’t know what to do. Mold my view of you so that I expect your invested interest and help, and learn to come to you eagerly, with all of it.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.”