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Opening Questions and Prayer

  • Tell a brief story about how someone helped you when you were in need.

  • When is it easy for you to help others?

  • When is it difficult?

  • Ask the Lord to direct your conversation and to give you wisdom and insight.

Read Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 7:12 NLT

Lev. 19:18- “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Matthew 7:12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

  • Why is this rule the essence of the law and the prophets?

  • What is the Lord wanting us to know about how to treat others in these verses?

  • When following the Lord, why is it so important that we treat others well?

Read Exodus 22:1-4

1 “If someone steals an ox or sheep and then kills or sells it, the thief must pay back five oxen for each ox stolen, and four sheep for each sheep stolen.

2 “If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder. 3 But if it happens in daylight, the one who killed the thief is guilty of murder.

“A thief who is caught must pay in full for everything he stole. If he cannot pay, he must be sold as a slave to pay for his theft. 4 If someone steals an ox or a donkey or a sheep and it is found in the thief’s possession, then the thief must pay double the value of the stolen animal.”

  • How were these guidelines countercultural to the surrounding nations and how they lived?

  • What do these guidelines teach us about the Lord’s character?

  • Why was it important for the punishment to fit the crime?

  • Is there anyone you have taken something from that you need to repay?

Read Exodus 22:5-6

5 “If an animal is grazing in a field or vineyard and the owner lets it stray into someone else’s field to graze, then the animal’s owner must pay compensation from the best of his own grain or grapes.

6 “If you are burning thornbushes and the fire gets out of control and spreads into another person’s field, destroying the sheaves or the uncut grain or the whole crop, the one who started the fire must pay for the lost crop.

  • Why was it important for the Israelites to not take advantage of their neighbor and to take responsibility for their mistakes?

  • Why is it hard to admit when we’ve done something wrong?

  • Is there anyone you have taken advantage of or maybe unintentionally hurt that you need to make amends with?

  • How will you do that this week?

Read Exodus 22:7-15

7 “Suppose someone leaves money or goods with a neighbor for safekeeping, and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house. If the thief is caught, the compensation is double the value of what was stolen. 8 But if the thief is not caught, the neighbor must appear before God, who will determine if he stole the property.

9 “Suppose there is a dispute between two people who both claim to own a particular ox, donkey, sheep, article of clothing, or any lost property. Both parties must come before God, and the person whom God declares guilty must pay double compensation to the other.

10 “Now suppose someone leaves a donkey, ox, sheep, or any other animal with a neighbor for safekeeping, but it dies or is injured or is taken away, and no one sees what happened. 11 The neighbor must then take an oath in the presence of the Lord. If the Lord confirms that the neighbor did not steal the property, the owner must accept the verdict, and no payment will be required. 12 But if the animal was indeed stolen, the guilty person must pay compensation to the owner. 13 If it was torn to pieces by a wild animal, the remains of the carcass must be shown as evidence, and no compensation will be required. 14 “If someone borrows an animal from a neighbor and it is injured or dies when the owner is absent, the person who borrowed it must pay full compensation. 15 But if the owner was present, no compensation is required. And no compensation is required if the animal was rented, for this loss is covered by the rental fee.”

  • How would these rules have helped the Israelites live at peace with one another?

  • What do you do when you get accused of something you didn’t do?

  • When you feel cheated do you take it to the Lord or take matters into your own hands?

  • What is something that has been bothering you that you can seek the Lord’s wisdom on this week?

Read Exodus 22:16-17

16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her. 17 But if her father refuses to let him marry her, the man must still pay him an amount equal to the bride price of a virgin.

  • What does this guideline teach us about God’s character?

  • What does this teach us about how God views sexual promiscuity?

  • If your group is in mixed company split the guys and girls separately for the next few questions:

  • Are there any practices you are currently doing that are outside of God’s plan for sexuality?

  • What guardrails do you have in place to help you stay true to God’s original design for sexuality?

  • Who is someone that can hold you accountable in this area of your life?

Read Exodus 22:18-20

18 “You must not allow a sorceress to live.

19 “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must certainly be put to death.