Peer Pressure and Robin Hood Theology Exposed

March 20, 2015 at 10:56 am | Posted in Exodus | 5 Comments
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In a previous lesson I mentioned that many of the laws in the Covenant Code were casuistic. However, there were also apodictic laws. For example:

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

Exodus 23:2-3

Apodictic laws are res ipsa laws – laws that are self-evident, that speak for themselves. They are abundantly clear about what they mean. They are not intended to be demonstrations (the way casuistic laws are) of specific instances. Apodictic laws were appropriate for God’s people because God is a God of absolutes as well as application. However, apodictic laws are far more rare in the ancient codices of pagan cultures. In an ungodly society a law that says “thou shalt not kill” is far less likely to be found because it would depend on who you killed. God is not a respecter of persons, so His laws seek to treat equally all those who are created in His image. So, we see verses in the Covenant Code like:

Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

Exodus 23:2

This means, “Don’t go along with the crowd. Don’t cave in to the peer pressure to do evil. Don’t get caught up (or ‘caught down’) in any downward trends of violating justice because of favoritism or popularity.” This was a very wise command for the people in Moses’s day, and it is a very good reminder in our day, too. “Do the opposite of everyone else” is not a perfectly sound rule for Christians in every instance. We’re not just contrarians – just being antagonistic or different for the sake of being contrary – but observing what is popular in the world can be a pretty good indicator of what displeases God, and it is often something to take into account. Jesus is the “Way” and He is a “way,” and we know His way is narrow. It’s never the road of the majority.

Just as Exodus 23:2 warns against the danger of popularity, the next verse warns against the temptation to equate poverty as automatic evidence of righteousness.

Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

Exodus 23:3

In other words, don’t favor the wealthy and the popular just because it might benefit you, but don’t favor the poor when they are in the wrong just because you feel sorry for them, and want to seem holy by sticking up for them. God’s command is: Just do justice – do right – regardless of your personal bias.


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  1. […] him or coerce. It is also possible they simply plead or demanded, but, either way, Aaron still felt the pressure of the crowd. He was older than Moses, but had been with Moses, and was known as a priest, so it was natural […]

  2. […] of Personal Property (Exodus 22) 40. A Revelation of a Violation against Revilation (Exodus 22:28) 41. Peer Pressure and Robin Hood Theology Exposed (Exodus 23:2-3) 42. The Forbidden Recipe and the Special Angel (Exodus 23:19-21, 20:22-23) 43. A […]

  3. […] “Turning aside from the way” is a key phrase because it reminds us that Jesus is the Way and He is a way. God led these people in one direction, and here they had “turned” from following Him. They did not view their movement as a “U-turn” – although they had tried to do that before in wanting to go go back to Egypt – but you don’t have to do a complete 180 to displease God. Any direction other than “His Way” is a path that leads to destruction. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the way that little kids need to keep their eyes on Dad so they don’t wander off in a dangerous crowd of people. […]

  4. […] cave in to peer pressure.” “Don’t run with the wrong crowd.” “Be a leader, not a follower.” “If your friends all jumped off a cliff, […]

  5. […] Rechabites was not their rules, but their unwillingness to forsake their principles in the face of pressure to violate them: their long-standing faithfulness to their commitment, their founder, and perhaps […]

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