Exodus 30 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional

“The wealthy may not give more, and the poor may not give less, than half a shekel when giving the contribution to the L_rd to atone for your lives. Take the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will serve as a reminder for the Israelites before the L_rd to atone for your lives.” Exodus 30:15-18

The technical expression for “ransom” occurs three times in the Torah, and each time it refers to money paid by one who is guilty of taking human life in circumstances that do not constitute murder. Such a ransom was forbidden in the case of deliberate murder. You could not simply murder someone, pay an agreed-upon price, and have your sin atoned-for via your debit card, so to speak.

This concept underlies the “half shekel atonement” of today’s passage. The same phrase is used in connection with the offering of plunder after the Midianite battle, in Numbers 31:52. Those men registering in the census were those registering for military duty…all able-bodied men. The soldier who was marching into battle was (in the eyes of Heaven) a potential taker of life, although not a deliberate murderer.

The soldier is to be impressed with the fact that, high as the aims for which he goes into battle may be, war remains a necessary “evil”. Therefore, ransom is to be paid at the time of mustering, (for the taking of life) long before the actual fighting occurs.

Whether rich or poor, the tax was the same. All souls taken are of equal value, and all life-takers of equal guilt, in the eyes of G_d. Hence, all are to give the same ransom.

Concerning our guilt, Yeshua paid our ransom.

“For there is one G_d and one mediator between G_d and man, am, Messiah Yeshua, who gave Himself – a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2: 5-6

The redemption of Messiah is offered to all people, regardless of nationality or social standing.

“And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; because you were slaughtered, and You redeemed us for G_d by Your blood from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation.” Revelation 5: 9

Those present at Yeshua’s trial cried, “May His blood be on us, and our children!” Yet Yeshua prayed,” Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23: 34 In effect, He was asking that their murderous intents and actions, zealous as they may have been, be counted as “unintentional killing”, while He personally paid their ransom for the act. Ponder the depth of His great love for you. Do you feel the gravity of His sacrifice?

~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Shuvah Yisrael
Daily Devotional, Monday, March 31, 2014