Friday, February 20
Read Exodus 31:12-18
When God finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God. (v 18)
I’ve always been a rule follower — kind of. Truthfully, I’ve broken a few rules. But rules ground me in how I conduct myself. I always figured that rules were my personal “thing” and never considered how they might be important to others. When I became a teacher, I began to understand the need for rules — they provide the foundation from which we can make decisions, especially when those decisions affect others.
As I think about the covenant between God and the Israelites, I can see that the rules were written to give order to a society in transition. As I think about being a parent and a teacher, I can see that rules are written to give order to the ways in which we work together. I start every school year by developing rules and expectations with my class. We work together so that everyone buys in to the importance of the rules for how we function within our class. (Yes, I have a general notion of the rules I want to include in our list.)
After my class develops our rule list, we live by it. For the students to get to do what they want to do, they have to follow the rules. For me to accomplish what I need to do as a teacher, the students need to follow the rules. The important thing to note is that the rules don’t govern piddly things — they cover important things, like following directions the first time and keeping hands to self. The focus of the class rules is on respect for self, others, learning and property.
The focus of the covenant given by Moses is respect for God, self, others and property. In our litigious society, where people try to weasel out of various rules, it’s difficult to justify breaking any of the covenant rules. That’s why the covenant is the rock of my faith given to me by Moses. I’m thankful this rock is still applicable today.
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