Exodus 23 Ė24

 

Tonight we continue our study starting in Exodus 23. In this chapter God continues to give more instructions that the children of Israel are to obey. First lets take a look at a few of these instructions in verses 1- 9.

 

Exodus 23:1 "You shall not circulate a false report.

 

This verse would cover two sins. First one would be lying. Lying has never been tolerated by God no matter which covenant your under. The second sin would be that of gossiping. It bad enough to lie but to gossip about a lie is getter pretty low. God did not want such thing happening to the children of Israel because God knows what kinds of problems and division can occur when people lie and gossip at the same time. We must be very careful today that we donít find ourselves guilty of circulating false reports because it is a sin and not only that it can and will cause innocent people to become hurt and can divide a church.

 

Exodus 23:2 ††"You shall not follow a crowd to do evil;

This all has to do with peer pressure. This is usually associated with teenagers but it can happen with adults as well. All it takes is a few strong willed people to start a group that can eventually turn into out of control mobthat will do evil things that they normal would not do. I cant help but think of the crowd that got stirred up by Pharisees as Jesus stood before Pilate and how they joined together in thought to have Jesus crucified. So the command here is great advice donít follow a crowd to do evil.

 

Exodus 23:8 ††"And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous.

 

This was great advice for them back then and it certainly is good advice for our politicians today. To many people especial politicians comprise their own beliefs for bribes that are giving to them.

 

Exodus 23:10 " Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce,11 "but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove.

 

This is similar to the weekly Sabbath as to where they were to work 6 days and rest on the seventh but this is a yearly event. 6 years they sow the ground and gather the produce and then they leave it alone for a year. Whatever comes up on its own that year will go to the poor or to the animals of the field. This command would have to be obeyed with their faith and trust in God knowing the he would provide for them during this year they took off.

 

Leviticus 25: 20 'And if you say, "What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?"21 'Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.

 

If they wouldobeyGod commands he would take care of them by giving them enough harvest to last for 3 years on that6th year of their crops. The great lesson we can learn from this is that even though we may not understand why God wants us do certain things a certain way we just need to trust in him and know that he willprovide for us just as he did for the children of Israel.

 

In Exodus 23:14-19 we find out the children of Israel were to 3 feast through out the year that every male was attend.

 

The first feast was feast of unleavened bread or the Passover. As we all know this feast was a yearly remembrance of how God delivered the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. They were to eat unleavened bread for 7 days during the month of Abib also know as Nisan which corresponds to part of our March and April. They were not to come before God empty handed because they were to animal sacrifices. As Christians today we should not come before God empty handed. Now I am not talking about making animal sacrifices since those are not part of the new covenant but we are told become living sacrifices.

 

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 

There are many sacrifices Christians must make in order not be conformed to this world.

 

The second feast is know as the feast of Harvest, the feast of weeks or as we commonly call it Pentecost. This feast was used to celebrate the completion of the barley harvest. On this day they did not work treating it as a Sabbath day. According to Lev. 23:15-22 they would offer up leaven bread and animal sacrifices and they also made free will offerings during this time according to Deut. 16:10. This feast took place during the month of Sivan which corresponds to part of our May and June. It also said that this feast was remembrance of the law given on Mt. Sinai.

 

The third feast was called the feast of the Ingathering also know as the feast of the Tabernacles. This feast took place during the Jewish month of Tishri which covers part of our September and October. This feast would become a time of remembrance ofthe children of Israelís 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and the protection God gave them during thistime. They would live in tabernacles for 7 days to remember this event.

 

All of these feast we put into place so that children of Israel would be reminded of the things God had done for them. As Christians the Lords Supper becomes one of reminder of what God has done for us. How Jesus became our perfect sacrifice so that we might live eternally in heaven.

 

Exodus 23:19 ††19 "The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.

 

The first fruits of any crop is always the best. I know that when I grow cantaloupe in my garden I canít hardly wait for the very first cantaloupes to come ready because they are the best. God is in essence telling the children I want you to give me your best. The same thing is true for us today in a spiritual sense. God wants us to give him our best. That is why we are told love god with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind.

 

The book of Malachi provides a excellent a example of what not to give to God.

 

Malachi 1:6 " A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, 'In what way have we despised Your name?'7 "You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, 'In what way have we defiled You?' By saying, 'The table of the LORD is contemptible.'8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts.

 

When they offereda animal sacrifice it was suppose be your best animal yet they were trying to get away with offering up lame, blind and sick animals that would have most likely died on their own very shortly. We must be careful that we donít give God our leftovers because it will not be pleasing to him.

 

Exodus 23: 20 " Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.21 "Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him.22 "But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.23 "For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.

 

The word angel simply messenger and can refer to a earthymessenger or a heavenly messenger. Some would say that messenger being spoken of here was Moses. Other say that is referring to pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. Personally I think itís the latter because Godsays this messengers has his name in him which to me indicates that he is deity. Also you will notice that he has the ability forgive sins which again is an attribute of deity. The message isclear if they will obey his voice then God will take care of their enemies. Over and over again you see the God demands obedience to his word.

 

24 "You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars.25 "So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.26 "No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.27 " I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.28 "And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite from before you.

 

God has already called himself a Jealous Godback in Exodus 20. We see from this text that he doesnít want the children of Israel to have anything to do with these peoples Gods and they are to tear down anything and everything that has to do with their false Gods. Notice the great benefits they will receive if they obey Gods word. He will remove the sicknessand even make it to where no women will have a miscarriage and he will cause them all to live full lives. He will also be on their side and make it easy for them to defeat their enemies.

 

29 "I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beast of the field become too numerous for you.30 "Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.31 "And I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the desert to the River. For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.32 "You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.33 "They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you."

 

Here we see Gods wonderful wisdom. God had the power to destroy all of these nation at once but he did not. He did it slowly as they came to each enemy so they could reap the most befit from each location. Again God warns them about serving their enemies false Gods.

 

Exodus 24: 3 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words which the LORD has said we will do."4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel.5 Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.6 And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient."8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words."

 

Once again we find the children of Israel saying that they will keep that all has God has said. Its always easy to say your going to do something but itís whole other matter to do what you say. Moses writes the words down and builds an alter which represents the 12 tribes of Israel and he has the young men offer animal sacrifice to God. Most if not all the covenants made under the OT were sealed by blood. Moses sprinkles the blood from the sacrifice that was made on the alter and then on the people. To go through such an experience should be forever remembered in their minds. In similar many the new covenant was made by the shedding of Jesus blood.

 

Exodus 24:9 9 Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel,10 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.

 

Now this interesting section of scripture indeed. First of all it says that these men saw God. Obviously what they saw had to be a representation him and not God himself in full glory because Exodus 19:21-24 stated that they would die if the saw the Lord.

 

Exodus 33:20 But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live."21 And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.22 "So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.23 "Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."

 

Man could not behold God face or they would die. Based on the scripture they could part of Gods glory but they could not see him full glory. These men also had the privilege to see this beautiful paved work which they said was like the heavens. What a wonderful blessing these men received not only did they get to see God they ate and drank in his presence. Now you would think that this would have caused these men to be very faithful to God having the experiencebut we all know that Nadab and Abihu would later on defile commandments and pay with their lives. Some people say that if they could see God then they would believe and do what God says. While that might be true is some cases it is not true in all cases because even if saw him today and had no doubt that he existed and that the Bible truly was hisword there would still plenty that will still not follow after God. Thomas the apostles was a man thought he had to see Jesus with his eyes in order to believe.

 

John 20:25- "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

 

None of here will ever experience the miracles or the privilege of seeing Jesus or audibly hearing Gods voice. While it would fascinating and privilege to behold such things it is necessary for us to believe because we have our faith that all the things the Bible has said is true. It not a blind faith because both internal and externalevidence shows the Bible to be true. Just a Jesus said blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed.

 

12 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them."13 So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.14 And he said to the elders, "Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them."15 Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain.16 Now the glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.17 The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.18 So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.††

 

Moses goes up to receive the law and commandments and God himself with his finger will write the10 commandmentsof tablets of stone. Moses is upon the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights and during this timeaccording to Deut 9:4 he did not eat or drink. We all know that the human body cannot survive that long without water so I can assume that while he was in presence of God that God miraculously sustained his body at this time.