OUR GOOD FOR GOD’S GLORY
Exodus – God’s Way Out
God knows us. He knows how we tick from the inside out and outside in. He created us. He knows what was behind us, what is front of us and what we will face tomorrow. He was, is and always will be with us. Because He knows all and delights in the details of our lives, He provides where He guides. He lets us in on what will make us stubble and fall with words of warning. Like any loving Father, who wants the best for His children, He is there with wisdom for the journey, guidance along the path with provisions when we need it most.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Proverbs 8:17
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity…” Jeremiah 29:11-14
I know we feel we are held “captive” by this virus but staying in place is our best offense for it’s defeat. This illness was NOT sent by God, but God will see us through it, just like He always has and always will. He knows the plans for us beyond this present circumstance so He is preparing us with lessons we will never forget. Listen to Him. Do what He says. Look for His glory to be seen in all of this for it happens daily to those who seek Him. He will be found. I found Him!
Exodus 23, The Message
1-3 “Don’t pass on malicious gossip.
“Don’t link up with a wicked person and give corrupt testimony. Don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil and don’t fudge your testimony in a case just to please the crowd. And just because someone is poor, don’t show favoritism in a dispute.
4-5 “If you find your enemy’s ox or donkey loose, take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under its load, don’t walk off and leave it. Help it up.
6 “When there is a dispute concerning your poor, don’t tamper with the justice due them.
7 “Stay clear of false accusations. Don’t contribute to the death of innocent and good people. I don’t let the wicked off the hook.
8 “Don’t take bribes. Bribes blind perfectly good eyes and twist the speech of good people.
9 “Don’t take advantage of a stranger. You know what it’s like to be a stranger; you were strangers in Egypt.
10-11 “Sow your land for six years and gather in its crops, but in the seventh year leave it alone and give it a rest so that your poor may eat from it. What they leave, let the wildlife have. Do the same with your vineyards and olive groves.
12 “Work for six days and rest the seventh so your ox and donkey may rest and your servant and migrant workers may have time to get their needed rest.
13 “Listen carefully to everything I tell you. Don’t pay attention to other gods—don’t so much as mention their names.
14 “Three times a year you are to hold a festival for me.
15 “Hold the spring Festival of Unraised Bread when you eat unraised bread for seven days at the time set for the month of Abib, as I commanded you. That was the month you came out of Egypt. No one should show up before me empty-handed.
16 “Hold the summer Festival of Harvest when you bring in the firstfruits of all your work in the fields.
“Hold the autumn Festival of Ingathering at the end of the season when you bring in the year’s crops.
17 “Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Master, God.
18 “Don’t offer the blood of a sacrifice to me with anything that has yeast in it.
“Don’t leave the fat from my festival offering out overnight.
19 “Bring the choice first produce of the year to the house of your God.
“Don’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk.
20-24 “Now get yourselves ready. I’m sending my Angel ahead of you to guard you in your travels, to lead you to the place that I’ve prepared. Pay close attention to him. Obey him. Don’t go against him. He won’t put up with your rebellions because he’s acting on my authority. But if you obey him and do everything I tell you, I’ll be an enemy to your enemies, I’ll fight those who fight you. When my Angel goes ahead of you and leads you to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, I’ll clear the country of them. So don’t worship or serve their gods; don’t do anything they do because I’m going to wipe them right off the face of the Earth and smash their sacred phallic pillars to bits.
25-26 “But you—you serve your God and he’ll bless your food and your water. I’ll get rid of the sickness among you; there won’t be any miscarriages nor barren women in your land. I’ll make sure you live full and complete lives.
27 “I’ll send my Terror on ahead of you and throw those peoples you’re approaching into a panic. All you’ll see of your enemies is the backs of their necks.
28-31 “And I’ll send Despair on ahead of you. It will push the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites out of your way. I won’t get rid of them all at once lest the land grow up in weeds and the wild animals take over. Little by little I’ll get them out of there while you have a chance to get your crops going and make the land your own. I will make your borders stretch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Wilderness to the Euphrates River. I’m turning everyone living in that land over to you; go ahead and drive them out.
32-33 “Don’t make any deals with them or their gods. They are not to stay in the same country with you lest they get you to sin by worshiping their gods. Beware. That’s a huge danger.”
Most of these laws are self explanatory. But note that the first three verses of this passage provide three pointed examples of what it means not to bear false witness either for or against another. The next six verses prohibit taking advantage of another’s misfortune, not even an enemy’s.
The final group of stipulations has to do with religious observances. The sabbath principle extended to the land (23:10-11). Not only does this have social value for the poor, but it also allows the land to recover some of its fertility.
Furthermore, it provides relief for the workers, both human and animal. At the heart of all the Hebrew worship was the recognition of God alone. Practically speaking, other gods did not exist for the Hebrews.
The last laws form a preliminary introduction to the three annual pilgrimage feasts held in April, June, and September. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (23:15) was a week-long festival celebrated during the seven days immediately after Passover about April 1 (see Ex 12:17-20). The Israelites were to remember God’s gracious acts in history on their behalf.
The Feast of Harvest was held seven weeks after the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This was about the first of June at the end of the wheat harvest. This was a feast of thanksgiving to God and a dedication of the tithe to him. The Feast of Ingathering came at the end of the grape harvest, the final harvest of the year, about September 25. It is also called the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.
Yeast was symbolic of sin (23:18). There is some reason to believe cooking a goat kid in its mother’s milk was a Canaanite magic ritual supposed to ensure the mother’s continued fertility.
This passage closes with God’s commitment to His people. In response to their continued covenant obedience, he would wipe out their enemies and give them long, abundant lives, establishing them within spacious borders.
The only obstacles to this promise of blessing would be rebellion against God and the worship of the gods of their defeated enemies. Biblical religion is not compatible with any religion that sees the divine as part of this world. One of the reasons for worshiping the pagan gods was their supposed ability to provide these blessings. But God is the only one who can truly provide them.
Now we have the reasons for God’s laws of protection and His teachings of how to treat each other with love and dignity. Obedience to the Law is a response to God’s grace shown through his past deliverance and his future promises.
Finally, the Angel is Jesus Christ, (according to Warren Weirsbe, commentator). Compared to who Jesus is to us now, it makes sense. “Only Jesus can pardon transgressions and only in Him is the wonderful name of the Lord. God had prepared a place for His people just as Jesus is preparing a place for us who believe in Him. (John 14:1-6). If they followed the Lord, He would take care of their needs and would defeat all their enemies”. (Weirsbe)
God is still doing that today! Trust Him. Obey what He says to your heart through His Word. Allow His Holy Spirit to guide you into Truth, live the Truth and tell the Truth.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” –Jesus
Jesus, God’s Way Out for us!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all the plans you have had for me in the past, not to harm me but to teach me. Thank you for how you work in our lives now. I praise you for always being with us. I thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I thank you for Your Holy Spirit that comforts, confronts, challenges and teaches me to stay close to You, obeying you, for it is for my good and for Your glory to be seen in our lives! Yes, I believe.
In Jesus Name, Yes and Amen!