Exodus 23 is a chapter of do’s and don’ts. It starts that way and continue to run that way for most of the chapter. There are some interesting lessons here. “Don’t go along with the crowd” is one that stands out to me. So often we think that if we are just going along with everyone else, we will be safe even if they are all wrong. My parents always used to ask me when I used the everyone is doing it line, would you follow them if they jumped off a cliff? Well of course that sort of defeated my argument, but it was a good try. God calls us to be willing and able to stand alone when we are faced with a choice among a group. Just because the group is doing something is not a ticket that gives us the right to proceed and disobey. The very quick example that popped into my head has to do with speeding. I have had the conversation more than once with my bride, that when I am keeping up with the flow of traffic and speeding, that really isn’t an excuse. She reminds me of that and if an officer pulls me over he will too. Of course God already knows I am disobeying the posted speed signs (not suggestions), and that going with the flow is not an excuse. Do you ever just go with the flow? Drink that extra drink that puts you over the top because everyone is doing it? Get involved in other stuff because the buddies are? It doesn’t play well with God. We have to be willing to stand alone.
The writer reminds us that work is for six day and rest the seventh. Somewhere we have heard that before haven’t we? God created in six – we should be able to get the things done we need to in that many as well. He tells us to “listen carefully to everything I tell you”. Hmmm – not just what we want to hear – everything. I sort of have a selective hearing policy with my bride and even more so with God. You can’t be talking to me God. It must be for someone else who needs to hear it. Ever feel that way? God’s truth is directed straight at you and me. It is not something we select or opt to listen to. That doesn’t give us any excuse. The old “I didn’t hear what you were saying…or didn’t think it was for me” trick won’t play with God. When He speaks we best listen to all of what He says. Some of that speaking is through His written word. We better listen to all that too! He also tells us to “serve your God”. Now that is a role reversal. Too often we think that God is all about serving us. On call, 24/7/365 ready to come at our beckon call. Right? Isn’t that how we treat God sometimes. But it isn’t the design. We were created to serve him, not the other way around. How is your serve?