The Hebrew word mishpatim means ordinances.
Ordinances as we know them are: Commandments, Statutes, Testimonies, Laws, and Judgments.
While the multitude of slaves going through the wilderness after their escape from Egypt, Yahweh gave them His Ordinances through Moses His servant. They were given to teach them how to govern their lives while in the wilderness and in the promised land –Canaan.
In Exodus 21-24:18 Yahweh was reintroducing His heart to the slaves who had lost their history, heritage, identity, and knowledge of Him through their 400 years of brutal slavery. During slavery they were not taught nor allowed to reconnect with Him. Here in these chapters it would appear He is correcting all the wrongs done to them through slavery and reinstating what were already established from The Beginning of Creation.
From the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 Yahweh now explains how to obey each one by reminding them how to show love and compassion to all His creations. Embedded in Yahweh’s Commandments are His principles (Statute, Laws, Judgments, and Testimonies) expressed throughout the entire Torah, to learn love and compassion towards all living things, people, etc., in different situations.
- Exodus 21 – the correct treatment of slaves and animals were quite different from what they had experienced in Egypt.
- Exodus 22 – Yahweh illustrated how not to covet another; how to show compassion to criminals who caused accidental death, how to deal with damages to neighbours’ property; how to restore one financially; sexual purity and accountability; and dedication of the first born child.
- Exodus 23 – Not to bear false witness against our neighbor; not to speak the names of other gods nor invoking their names; and also reintroducing His Holy Days (:14-17).
- Exodus 21-24 Yahweh reinstated and reminded them to keep all His ordinances.
All the Ten Commandments were broken down in these chapters (Exodus 21- Deuteronomy 34) called Ordinances; also called His Mitzvah – Commandments, Laws, Testimonies, Judgments, and Statutes), to help us to be connected with Him. When we obey them whole-heartedly we live in the realm of life, as Adam and Eve lived in the realm of life when they only ate from the tree of life. The Tree of Life commands us to obey, live whole-heartedly, and maintain our connection with Yahweh through Yeshua who is the Tree of Life.
Without these Commandments, Laws, Statutes, and Judgments the multitude of slaves would not have known how extremely evil and destructive Pharaoh’s decrees were, imposed on them for over 400 years; and they would have taken Pharaoh’s rules to Canaan with them. Yahweh wanted to redirect them to how they should have been treated by Pharaoh, cleanse them of the past cruelties and experiences of Egypt and of the lies of satan which brought them to the realm of death and held there for so long.
He desired to correct them of these evils; reestablish them of what their previous lifestyles were in the time of their forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), who kept His Commandments, Laws, Statutes, Testimonies, and Judgments; and by obeying these commands faithfully they will be in their soul and their DNA. The evil one may not entice you to disobey all commands, but may entice you on an intellectual level to do it half-heartedly, as a result compromising and sacrificing our relationship with Yahweh and man.
Jeremiah 34:12-22 Yahweh is reminding the new generations in Canaan/Israel, the promised land of their sins. They had broken faith with Him and mankind by half-heartedly worshipping Him. They did not prosper as they should and the same covenant had established with their fore-parents years before to prosper them was now broken. For many years these people worshiped Yahweh only intellectually, form of worship without love to Him and mankind. They lived in the realm of death. They did not love Yahweh or their neighbours and as a result through their intellectual acts of worship they deliberately oppressed the people including their neighours.
As a result judgments were pronounced upon them as was in Deuteronomy 29- 34. Now in this new generation in Israel, they would be led into captivity and the Holy City destroyed. Yahweh’s heart expressed in Jeremiah 33, and in Romans 1:11-18, the punishments (judgments) pronounced on them were His heart felt pain regarding lack of love for Him, and their cruelties toward His creations.
Jeremiah 33:2-4 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”. A person who brings his whole being into worship to God, of His Commandments, Laws, Statutes, Testimonies, and Judgments, his worship will be complete. God will answer you and tell you great things, hidden things of which you are unaware.
Our worship cannot always be understood by reason because we worship with our entire being (body, mind, and soul). In Romans 1-4, the same judgments given to the multitude of slaves were to help them and us to avoid the pitfalls of the evil one. Yahweh wants us to keep these judgments continually before our eyes, not for us to worship by intellect alone; but by embracing them in our soul and DNA. The purpose of these judgments: for us to see the continuous evil consequences of sin if we continue in them, and also to teach us how to love and have compassion to His creations. Now when we accept Yeshua’s sacrifice and embrace all His Commandments, Laws, Statutes, Testimonies, and Judgments; they become part of our soul and in our DNA. We worship Him not out of fear of punishment, but out of complete trust in Yeshua (Romans 1:17) knowing that all His judgments are right.