Today’s reading provides more details of how the law is to practically be put to use for the Israelites. It is important to remember that the 10 Commandments were given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. The first four laws were to show the Israelites how to WORSHIP GOD and ATONE for sin (the sacrificial system & RELATIONSHIP with GOD). The next 6 laws were to teach the Israelites God’s way of dealing with PEOPLE. In these chapters (as well as in 20 and 21, God is very detailed in explaining how the Israelites could use them practically in their daily lives (in reference to food, clothing, animals, witchcraft …now there was NO doubt what they were to do with witches, and so much more. GOD was making them DISTINCT/SEPARATE from other nations because they would become our example (good or bad) in WORSHIPPING the ONE TRUE GOD AND IN OUR TREATMENT OF OTHERS.
So why it is so important that we read all these laws and practical uses of them? Are we still under the law?? NONE of the OT law is binding on us today. When JESUS died on the cross, He put an end to the OT law.
In place of the OT law, we are under the law of CHRIST, Galatians 6:2 and Matthew 22:27-39 both from the NIV state:
Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.“
Matthew 22:24-40 “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? ”Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
IF we as believers in Jesus Christ obey these TWO commandments, we will be fulfilling all that Christ requires of us. 🙂
DOES THIS MAKE THE OT LAW IRRELEVANT TODAY….. FARRRRRRR from it!! Many of the 10 commandments show US how to LOVE GOD and to LOVE our NEIGHBORS!! If we TRULY LOVE God we will NOT be worshiping false, making idols, bowing before idols, dabbling in witchcraft, … you get the point. AND.. if we follow HIS command to LOVE our neighbors as ourselves then we will not be murdering them, lying to them, committing adultery against them, coveting what belongs to them, forgetting the poor, needy, and hungry, … know what I mean “Vern?”. So they are pertinent, they are still guidelines… they are helpful boundaries in helping us understand HOW to LOVE GOD with ALL of our selves as well as HOW to love others and yes… how to love ourselves. Saying that they are pertinent guidelines/boundaries for us today does not mean we are under the OT LAW. If Christ fulfilled some of the law, such as the sacrificial system then HE fulfilled ALL of it.
1 John 5:3 states: “This is love for God: to obey HIS commands. And HIS commands are not burdensome.” NINE of the 10 Commandments are repeated in the NT with the exception of observing the Sabbath.
In God’s sovereignty, HE knew the laws would not be kept, by HIS people. HE knew we would still need a PERMANENT sacrifice for our sins .. to cover us, deliver us, redeem us, buy us back with a HUGE price… so does it make sense that the OT law was and is a way of preparing HIS people’s hearts (cleansing them/us and opening them/us up) for HIS Permanent sacrifice?? Jesus Christ who shows us though out HIS WORD in the NT that the “laws” and HIS ways are written upon our hearts? For example… if we desire what someone else has in our heart today.. it is a SIN as if we stole from them in HIS eyes. (Makes ya think doesn’t it???)
Yes, society has changed and there are many differences. HOWEVER, God’s WORD never changes. Here are some other ways the LAWs pertain/guide us to today:
- Religion and civil law comes from the Lord
- Human Life has great value
- Do not punish people more than the crime committed and did you notice RESTITUTION??
- Class distinction is prohibited… we are ALL God’s people …. And God is giving ALL of us time to KNOW Him regardless of our color, sex, income, denomination, heredity, etc.!! HE MADE US ALL .. WITH OUR DIFFERENCES TO BE USED TO BE IN SERVICE TO HIM. HE LOVES US ALL AND DESIRES THAT ALLLLLLLLLL COME TO KNOW HIM THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.
- Protect those who cannot protect themselves
- Dealing with personal injuries
- Our social responsibilities
- Crop rotation
Exodus 23: 20-33 (NIV) shows God giving HIS angel charge over HIS people.
“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. IF you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, (THEN) I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. Worship the Lord your God,and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. “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. But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 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 from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.”
God uses many ways to protect HIS people. He was sending this angel; scholars say it was a manifestation of God. God was in the angel the SAME way He was present in the pillars of cloud and fire (13:21-22). Verse 21: “MY NAME IS IN HIM.” God tells His people HE is sending the angel ahead of them to GUARD them, to bring them to the place HE had PREPARED. BUT… the angel came with conditions.. the Israelites had to LISTEN to him, OBEY him, NOT bow down to other gods…!!! I LOVE to see how God provides for US … yesterday and today.. Which gives me great HOPE in HIM for the future. God is not only protecting HIS people but He is preparing them to take over the Promised Land (it is called Promised because it was Promised to them.) Note that God tells them the names of the people who will be there and that the Israelites will not take it over all at one time, it will be gradual. Chapter 23 ends with DO NOT MAKE A COVENANT WITH THESE PEOPLE OR THEIR gods!! Re-read verses 31-33 and see if anything stands out to you 🙂
God discusses HIS angels throughout scripture. Below are a couple for you to ponder… and maybe you will find others 🙂
Psalm 91:11 (KJV) – “For he shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.” Matthew 4:6 expounds on this as well.
Psalm 34:7 (CEV) states: “If you honor the Lord, his angel will protect you.”
Chapter 24—God speaks of the Book of the Covenant again in verse 7. The people PROMISE to do all the LORD has said and they PROMISE to obey.
God is the sovereign judge of the universe. He is ABSOLUTELY HOLY. He is the holy judge of all and condemns sin and judges if worthy of death. In the OT, God accepted the death of an animal as a substitute for the sinner. The animal’s shed blood was PROOF that one life had been SUBSTITUTED for another. The blood not only symbolized the death of the animal but also the LIFE that was SPARED as a result of the innocent shed blood. This ATONEMENT for sin was a TEMPORARY provision. Jesus Christ IS the PERMANENT provision (Hebrews 9:9 – 10:24).
Moses got up early and built an altar to the Lord at the foot of the mountain with twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. They offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings. Moses sprinkled half of the blood on the altar and sprinkled the rest on the people (to show that the penalty for their sin had been paid and they would be reunited with God. Verse 8 states: “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT THAT THE LORD HAS MADE WITH YOU IN ACCORDANCE WITH ALL THESE WORDS.” In other words…. God sealed the Covenant between HIM and HIS people. This is a foreshadow about the future sacrificial death (or atonement) of Jesus Christ.
Chapter 24 ends with Moses going up on the Mountain of God. God tells Moses “come up here and I will give you the tablets of stone that the law and commands I HAVE WRITTEN for their instruction!!! GOD actually WROTE the commandments in stone!!!!! The cloud covered the mountain for six days and the people could all see that the GLORY OF THE LORD settled on Mount Sinai. On the seventh day the LORD called Moses from within the cloud. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on TOP of the mountain. He stayed on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights!! …. JUST MOSES and the LORD TOGETHER!!
Do you hear God calling you, asking you to “come up here with me; I want to share secrets with you, spend time with you, tell you how much I love you?” He is calling to you, you know? 🙂
Would love to hear how you are doing, if anything is touching your heart, or anything God is showing you. Don’t be afraid to share…. this is a GREAT learning opportunity to learn from each other because I KNOW I am just touching the surface.
Sharing HIS love,