In some of my recent studies, this passage was a focus. The passage is one that gives the people of Israel rules for living in community. A huge part of living in community involves helping others. The interesting part of this passage is that it is "your enemy's ox"...not your friend's ox. It is assumed that people will help people that they like (which I hope is still true today more than it's not), but not help someone they dislike. This command is one of many important in developing Israel as a people set apart to bring about God's intentions in the world.
The passage made me think of another passage that we all may be a little more familiar with:
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." James 2: 14-19
The words in Exodus inspire me to live to a higher standard- one that witnesses through the way I treat everyone. The words of James remind me that my faith should spur me on to action.
This week, seek opportunities to live out your faith and God's intentions for the world.