Exodus 23

Exodus 23 has God giving some strong lessons to His people.  He begins with a list of commands they are to obey.  These aren’t suggestions, they are commandments:

  • You shall not spread a false report
  • You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness
  • You shall not fall in with the many to do evil
  • You shall not be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit
  • You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit
  • You shall take no bribe
  • You shall not oppress a sojourner

There are others in the chapter, but these give you a flavor for God’s commands.  It isn’t a suggestion.  God expects and demands obedience.

He makes it clear that there is to be rest.  First for the land, and also for the people.  “For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow….Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest”.  Again, not a suggestion but a commandment for the people.  God tells them to “Pay attention to all that I have said to you….three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me.  Along with the required resting, God also commands them to keep three feasts:

  1. “Feast of Unleavened Bread
  2. Feast of Harvest
  3. Feast of Ingathering

God is very clear on what He expects from us in terms of our giving.  “The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God”.  We are not to bring God the leftovers or what we think we can afford.  We are to bring from the first of what we have been given.  We tithe from the front, not from the back.  Giving is not from our excess.  It is from our very existence.  And we give not out of our abundance (which we all have as Americans), we should give out of our reverence for God from the very first dollar or hour that He gives us.

God also promises His people safety.  Check out what He says: “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared”.  God has a plan for His people, and for you and me.  But we have to follow His leading.  “Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him”.  Then comes the promise: “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries….I blot them out….You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water”.  God promises safety and provision.  God promises to be with them.  But it comes with a requirement – they must obey.  And when they overcome their enemies they must not fall into their ways.  “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”.  If we do things God’s way we experience much joy and success!

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