Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday - Exodus 23 – More Rules & God’s Angel

Verses 1-19 are more or less a continuation of the last couple of chapters. However, the end of this chapter is different. God promised that a RULER would accompany all of these RULES.

Here are a few outstanding issues He raised:
1.         God warned the people not to be influenced by peer pressure.
2.         He laid down a rudimentary foundation for the “love your enemy” principle (Matthew 5:44 & Exodus 23: 4-5)
3.         He warned against leaders accepting gifts from anyone subservient to them. It's awfully hard to be firm with someone under you who has just given you a generous present (Exodus 23:8).
4.         He demanded that the people prove their faith in Him by allowing their fields to rest every seventh year (Exodus 23:10-11).
5.         He expected the fourth commandment to be kept... not only to respect the example He had set (Exodus 31:17) and to show their faith, but also for their own good (Exodus 23:12)
6.         He ordained 3 main feasts (sacred celebratory parties) for the people.  The holidays were called PASSOVER, PENTECOST & TABERNACLES. (see Adam Clarke’s comments).

Was God speaking generally and with casual liberality? Hardly!  In fact, He said for them to "be circumspect" in all of this (Exodus 23 13); circumspect: prudent, vigilant... exact.  He required perfection.  And, to assure that they would not get away with disobedience He sent His Angel (or, Messenger) to be with them constantly (Exodus 23:20). The purpose of this theophany expression was to keep the Hebrews "in the way" and to "bring them into their place." The Angel was also their to reward obedience and to punish any disobedience.  God warned that they should "beware of Him and not provoke Him."  

Now, the message wasn't all threats and warnings. He also promised that He would send hornets into Canaan in front of the Jews to drive the inhabitants of the land out a little at a time... at a rate and pace that would allow the Jews to move right into vacant neighborhoods. Can't beat that!  And, He also promised to give them land from the Nile to the Euphrates; from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea (Exodus 23:31 & Genesis 15:18).  They have never once claimed all of it... at least, not yet...

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