The law and rules in Exodus-Deuteronomy can seem a little odd to us thousands of years later. You read laws like, “Don’t boil a goat in its mothers milk” and you often wonder how this relates.
But when you think about it, one of the main purposes of the the law in the Old Testament was to govern and lead Israel. They didn’t have a king, so the law was more than just a set of rigid rules, it was the way in which Israel remained distinct from the other nations around them. We have to keep before us that because of sin the world was unraveling and the nations of the world were vile. Israel is called out, brought out of slavery and now they way they remained distinct was by following the law.
I always looked at the law in a negative way, but now have learned that it was for their good to follow. The other nations worshiper a multiplicity of gods, yet the law helped Israel in their devotion to the one and true God. This has helped me understand what was going in in a deeper way!
When we get to places like Leviticus 19 we will see that the law actually helped create a just society among Israel. They were to care for each other (especially the orphan and widow) and we see in a place like Leviticus 19 that God cares about all of life and cared about Israel’s interpersonal relationships, The way they remained distinct is by following the law instead of worshiping idols and foreign gods.
Now we know that Jesus fulfills the law. The New Testament reveals that we no longer need to follow the sacrificial laws (because Jesus was the final sacrifice) or different food laws.
The main thing as we read Exodus-Deuteronomy is to see that God was creating a distinct people for himself that would reflect him to the world.
Hope that helps as we read together!