Today’s readings are Exodus 22-24
Click here to read today’s passages on BibleGateway.
- It is important to remember as we are reading these words spoken to Moses, that this is the voice of God (YHWH) speaking. I have a Bible that I don’t use much* except to remind me of important things like this because it has all of the words of God in red. Sometimes when I’m starting on a new book in Scripture, I will open it up and look at it there first, just to make sure I realize the weight and gravity of what I am reading.
- Because this is the voice of YHWH, we are obliged to pay attention and take heed of His words. Sometimes it may feel as if they don’t apply to us, sometimes they may not actually apply to us directly, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Father is speaking and we, His children, are to give Him our attention.
- When we discard His words, when we shrug them off or say that there is no need to read them, it is akin to the Father standing up at the dinner table to speak and us getting up and leaving the room.
He is YHWH. If He speaks, it is important.
We may not understand fully why until later, but our depth of understanding at any given point does not make His Words any less important.
- On the flip side of this, just this year I realized that there are large numbers of believers who do not feel the Father or Messiah’s words should be given any special weight in the Bible. If you feel this way, I strongly disagree BUT I have no problem loving you and I am grateful or this opportunity to study His word together. We are of one accord in many things and we are all works in progress.
- It is also important to remember that He is not just speaking to the world at large, but to His chosen people which He Himself has set apart. These are His instructions to His children.
In essence, what we are reading here and throughout the Bible, is an expounding of the Ten Commandments. If you’d like to read more about that, click here to read how the Ten Commandments are simply an outline of all other commandments.
I liken this to a parent telling a sibling to leave another one alone. Supposed you told your son to leave his sister alone. But he persisted and so you had to come back and lay it all out: Don’t look at her. Don’t poke her. Don’t touch her. Don’t call her names…
The Father, in his great compassion, grace, and kindness to us, makes sure we have very specific instructions so that there is never a moment where we have to go forward without His guidance – IF we study and know His Word.
Am I likening His people to children? If only we were that teachable and had that much faith!
Some of the things we will read about in the Word are hard to even think about and they may even seem out of place in a Holy book. But keep in mind that God is addressing a sinful and flawed society – and His instruction will bring righteousness into their/our lives.
He has to teach us to turn from our own ways, no matter what our ways may be – and to turn to His ways – through clear instructions that don’t mince words or leave room for negotiating our way out.
Imagine humanity is in a darkened room for a period of time and YHWH walks in and flips the switch on. This is what we are seeing.
“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible” ~Ephesians 5:13
Despite some of the verses that may appear harsh to us (He is God, we are not, and our understanding is limited), there is a great deal of compassion in today’s readings as well. I am particularly drawn to the verses about how to treat sojourners. It was these very verses that paved the way for Gentiles (most of us here) to become part of God’s chosen people and take part in His covenants.
Exodus 22:21 calls out the treatment of sojourners. We will see time and again that in YHWH’s eyes, anyone who determines to follow Him and walk in His statutes is to be treated as a full right citizen among His chosen people. This is just one of many verses regarding that. As sojourners, this should make our hearts smile at the love and compassion. He has always made a way for us to join Him.
We see more compassion from our Father in Exodus 22:26-27 “And if he cries to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.“
Exodus 23:1-3 warns us to be careful in the company we keep, as bad company will surely corrupt. We are also not to spread a false report (lie, gossip), or join in with others doing such. I think we overlook the fact that it is a sin to gossip about others. In fact, out of the sins the Father detests, many of them have to do with just this passage.
( Read Proverbs 6:16-19 ) I love the Father! I want to make Him happy. I sure don’t want to do things He detests!
Exodus 23:9 mentions sojourners yet again. Y’all are gonna see a lot of this. The Father is very intentional in including the sojourners among His chosen people.
We move on to laws about the Sabbaths and the Biblical feasts commanded up until this point and the Father offers very specific instructions on those as well. If you took part in my challenge to write out the full ten commandments you may already have a better understanding of these.
I would just like to point out that He never once refers to these as “Jewish” feasts. In fact, anyone reading at this point is probably shaking their head at the very thought because the tribe of Judah isn’t even dominant now. Instead, He refers to them as “my” feasts. Continuing on in our reading we will see the Father reference these as “My” feasts or “Feasts unto YHWH” and paired with such words as “forever” and “throughout your generations”. To read a little more about the Biblical feasts, click here.
Have you ever read that verse “Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk” and wondered what that was about? Maybe you didn’t question that verse because you were always told it had to do with some ancient pagan ritual. Well, today we are going to put that verse back into context and look at another possibility entirely. I have a LOT I want to say about this and it ended up being so long that I made it into a separate post. I came across a theory that I’ve only seen in one place but which I feel is far more plausible – and possible – than either of the two commonly accepted theories today. Click here to read that post. I think you’ll have some questions answered if you do.
Test EVERYTHING, hold tight to what is good. – 1 Thess 5:21
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