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Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Devotion

Today I read Exodus 23. There are two things that stood out to me.

I. Exo 23:3, 6 And you should not favor a poor man in his cause... You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his cause.

The first 1/3 of this chapter talks about justice. It warns the Israelites not to take bribes, not to give false witness, be no respecter of persons, etc. It stood out to me here that our judges should not be lenient in misplaced pity for the poor. If they are guilty then they are subject to the same sentence as anyone else. And our judges should not discriminate against a poor person because they are poor. They should not be a respecter of persons.

Matthew Henry's Commentary
"Right must in all cases take place and wrong must be punished, and justice never biassed nor injury connived at under pretence of charity and compassion. If a poor man be a bad man, and do a bad thing, it is foolish pity to let him fare the better for his poverty, neither must they pervert judgment in prejudice to a poor man, nor suffer him to be wronged because he had not wherewithal to right himself; in such cases the judges themselves must become advocates for the poor, as far as their cause was good and honest "

Balance, God is in the balance!

II. Exodus 23:20-22 Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. Be on guard before Him, and obey His voice. Do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions. For My name is in Him. But if you shall indeed obey His voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and a foe to your foes.

Who is this Angel? If you read the entire passage this Angel would resemble the work of Christ so it is probably safe to say that this Angel was a pre-incarnate (meaning, before He was born in flesh on this world) Christ. Jesus was the Messenger to the world, the Redeemer of the world. This Angel was the Messenger to God's people, the Israelites. The Angel would undertake to deliver and guide Israel just as Christ does the church. The church is kept safely through the wilderness of this world just as the Angel was charged with keeping the Israelites safe during their wilderness time. The Angel would lead them slowly into overtaking the land so that they would inherit a land that was not destroyed by warfare. He was preparing this land for them so that it would still be a prosperous, abundant land and not a ruined land by a scorched earth policy during warfare. Jesus says that He is preparing a place for us in Heaven so that we, who are saved by His grace, will inherit an abundant, prosperous land.

In this passage, God promises that if they follow after Him, alone...having no other gods...and they obey Him, then the Angel will take care of our enemies. He will go before the people and destroy the enemy. He promises to bring them safely to an abundant and prosperous land. He promises to remove sickness and bless them with many children and no miscarriages or barren women. He will bless their bread and water so that it is nourishing, refreshing and safe. He promises to prosper them financially (their wealth was measured in livestock), and give them long lives. As for us, His adopted children, those whom Jesus has saved through faith in His sacrifice, we can have access to these blessings to a certain degree in this world, but they will be completely fulfilled in the next world, Heaven!

It is absolutely essential to know God, obey God, and have no other gods before Him. In this passage, God warns them again and again against idolatry as He does throughout the Bible. Here, in verse 13, He even says we are not to speak about idols, don't let their names pass your lips. They were to be utterly forgotten. No superstitious talk, no remember-whens, no discussions, no courses on world religions that taught about other gods. This was to make sure that no one was tempted to follow after other gods. They were not to intermarry with those outside their religion because the spouse might proselytise and win them over to another religion where they worship idols. They were to completely remove the people who lived in Canaan (aka Palestine) and not even make treaties with them because it could lead to converts to idolatrous religions. Later, we know that Israel disobeys God in this and they fall into idolatry over and over again.

What is a god in your life? What takes precedence over God? What has a higher priority in your life, above God? What drains your energy, thoughts, talents, time and money away from God? Is it a sport? Is it yourself? Is it a loved one? Is it your job? Is it your health? Is it your leisure time? Is it your money? Is it your retirement savings? Is it your hobby? There are so many things that we unintentionally jump into and get so involved in that we get out of balance and forget God along the way. Then there are people, who through ignorance, fall into idolatry such as worshipping the Mother Mary or Christian Saints, or relics, or triptyches, or statues of Mary, etc. over and above Christ. And sometimes people deliberately choose to worship idols. Goddesses, fairies, Indian spirits, druidism, witchcraft, satanism, New Age spirits, Buddha, Mohammed, etc. And then some choose to worship the idols of this world such as worshipping money, fame, sex, etc. There are no promises from God to bless those who worship idols. Only curses. It would behoove us to listen to Him, check our lives, repent of any idolatry, confess our sins to Jesus, turn back to Him and trust His saving grace that cleanses us from sin.

From Pathlights

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