Exodus 21-23:19 - The Book of the Covenant
God gave the 10 Commandments which is the moral law. Now He is giving Moses the civil law for the nation of Israel. Another name given for the civil law is the Book of the Covenant. The people needed specific laws because they had been slaves for years and without any freedom. They needed to know how to act and what to do in all kinds of situations. God had to be very specific for them to live as His holy people.
Ex. 21:1-11: Laws concerning Hebrew servants -
Slavery was not what it is today. A poor person who owed a debt and unable to repay the debt it might put himself into slavery in order to be able to repay his debt. God gave this law to regulate the slave institution that was in place. There was to be no permanent servants. After 6 years slaves were to be set free and the master was to provide the servant with possession to start a new life. There was respect shown to the slave' family. A wife could go with him when he was freed. Also the slave had the right to choose to be a permanent slave suggesting that slavery was not always a bad thing. If a daughter was sold to another servant, she was to have food, clothing, etc. This law shows dignity for people and the value of families.
The Bible says we were slaves to sin and poor in spirit. But through Jesus "You have been set free from and have become slaves to righteousness." - Rom 6:18.
Ex. 21:12-36: Laws concerning personal injuries -
These laws include a distinction between murder and manslaughter. There is no distinction between classes of society even if they were slaves. There were also laws concerning neglect of animals.
God values life. Capital punishment is not murder. It is judicial not personal.
Ex. 22:1-15: Laws relating to personal property -
There is a distinction between losses that are done without malicious intent and losses that are involve negligence, theft or dishonesty.
Ex. 22:16-32: Laws concerning sexual and civic morality -
These concern the seduction of a virgin, sorcery, sexual relations with animals, worship of other gods, taking advantage of people, blasphemy, offerings, the firstborn, not eating meant of animals killed by other animals. The most important verse is "You are to be my holy people" - Ex. 22:31.
Ex. 23:1-9: Laws concerning justice and mercy -
These laws concern justice in the courts.
Ex. 23:10-19: Sabbath laws and festivals -
Here there are laws concerning the Sabbath. They were to work 6 days and rest on the 7th. However they were to work the land for 6 years and rest the land on the 7th year. All were in order that they and the land would be refreshed.
They were also to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which marked their exodus from Egypt. They were to celebrate the Feast of Harvest. They were to celebrate the Feast of the Ingathering, which is called the Succoth today.
God wants a relationship with us and wants us to apply the principles of His laws to our lives. We are not to gossip, lie, be dishonest, go along with the crowd when we know what they are doing is wrong, be neglectful, and not murder. We are to show respect to people, protect their rights, and keep the Sabbath.
Do you respect the rights of others?How do you spend your Sabbath?
In what ways are you resting on your idea of judgment rather than Gods?
How will you apply His principles to your life?
God calls us to apply the principles of His laws to our life.
Right relationships with others are based on a right relationship with God.
Ex. 23:20-33 - God's Angel Will Prepare the Way
Here God says He will send an angel ahead of them to guard them. This angel is the preincarnate Jesus. If they listen and do what the angel says, do not make a covenant with the people of the land, and do not let them live in their land, God promised several things for Israel. He says "I will" 11 times.
"I will be an enemy to your enemy.""My angel will go ahead of them and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out."
"I will take away sickness."
"I will give you a full life."
"I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter."
"I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run."
"I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way."
"I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate."
"Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land."
"I will establish your borders."
"I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you."
God said little by little He would drive their enemies out of the land. He was developing them. In the process they would develop a dependence on Him. They are to make no comprises with the people of the land.
We have the promise of eternal life without death and sickness. We are not to comprise with the world, but stand firm in His truth and in His promises.
God was patient and took wise care of Israel. He would give them protection against their enemies by confusing them and driving them out. God helps us battle spiritual enemies, too. Take your struggles to Him and He will give you strength and comfort in your situation.
Where do you comprise?What is keeping you from total obedience to Christ?
Principles:God conforms us to the character of Christ as we take hold of His promises and obey His laws.
Obedience is the pathway to blessing.
Exodus 24 - God Confirms His Covenant
God called Moses to come up to the mountain and told Moses to give the people the laws. Moses obeyed and told the people what the Lord had said. They again said they would do everything the Lord said. Then Moses wrote down all the Lord said.
The people wanted to obey and they meant it when they said they would. God knew they could not as we will find out later. None of us can keep the law perfectly.
Are you willing to do everything God has commanded you to do?With what fear will you trust God's protection?
Moses then built an altar to God and set up 12 pillars representing the 12 tribes of Israel. There they offered burnt offerings and sacrifices. Moses took the blood and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words." - Ex. 24:8. Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and 70 elders went up and saw the God of Israel. There they ate, drank and heard His voice.
I am sure they did not actually see God's face. The Bible says in Ex.33:20 "No one may see me and live". They probably received a personal revelation beyond anything any of them had ever encountered or could ever imagine and was beyond description.
Moses was the mediator of the old covenant. Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant and He is the only way to God. Jesus said, "This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." - Matt. 26:28.
God told Moses to come back up the mountain and He will give him tablets of stone with the law and the commands on them. So Moses with Joshua up the mountain. He told the elders to wait here until they returned. "When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights." - Ex. 24:15-18.
D0 you long to have a great experience as Moses and the elders had on the mountain?Have you entered a covenant relationship with God?
Do you rejoice in His glory?
The blood of Christ cleanses us from sin and makes it possible to obey.
God calls us to live governed by His law, but Jesus covers us by grace.
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