Summary of passage: Laws pertaining to justice and mercy: Do not gossip falsely. Do not follow the crowd. Do what is right. Do unto your enemies as you would unto yourself. Don’t put innocent people to death. Treat the poor fairly. Do not accept bribes. Do not oppress foreigners.
Laws pertaining to Sabbath: Sow the land for six years and leave it fallow the seventh year and allow the poor to glean from it. So work six days and rest on the seventh day. Do not worship false gods.
Three Annual Festivals: Feast of Unleavened Bread where you eat bread for seven days made without yeast. The Feast of the Harvest where you bring your firstfruits to me. Feast of Ingathering at the end of Harvest season. At these times you will offer sacrifices to God.
God’s Angel: God is sending an angel ahead of His people to guard them and protect them and be an enemy to those who oppose His people as long as they do not rebel. Do not bow down before other gods. Worship God and He will bless His people. God will drive out the other peoples of the Promised Land little by little to allow their numbers to increase enough to fill the land. I will give you all the land between the Red Sea to the Mediterranean to the Euphrates. Do not allow foreigners to live in your land for they will cause you to sin.
7a) Personal Question. My answer: Be nicer to my “enemies” or people I don’t really care for. Help them instead of being indifferent.
b) Worshipping and honoring God
c) God will do everything for His people as long as they obey Him and revere Him. He also wants His people to set the moral standard and do what is good and right towards others. He wants the best for us, which includes telling us to rest, work, and honor Him.
8 ) Jesus. In Exodus 14:19, Jesus is the angel of God here so Jesus has been with the Israelites all along. In Exodus 3:2, Jesus is the angel of the Lord in the Burning Bush. Hence, this must be the same angel of the Lord.
[See End Notes for thought-provoking article on the angel in this passage.]
b) God promises to send an angel ahead of them to the place He has prepared for them (verse 20). God will be an enemy to your enemies and oppose all who oppose you and wipe them out (verse 22 & 23). He promises to bless their food and water and take away sickness and barrenness and give them a full life span (verse 25 & 26). He will send His terror ahead of them and throw into confusion every nation and make them run (verse 27). He will drive their enemies away (verse 28). He will establish their borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean to the Euphrates (verse 31).
c) Pay attention to him (angel) and listen to what he says and do not rebel (verse 21 & 22). Do not bow down before their gods or follow their practices and break their sacred stones (verse 24). Worship God (verse 25). Do not make a covenant with them or their gods (verse 32). Do not let them live in your land (verse 33).
10a) Personal Question. My answer: God makes it easy for His people to take their land back. He gives them only as much as they can handle though by not giving them all the land at once which would cause them trouble. He waits on His people. He allows them to grow steadily and not all at once.
b) Personal Question. My answer: He has decreased my stress level enough so I can better deal.
Conclusions: We basically copied out verses 22-33 for Question 9. What I got out of it is God does much for us and asks so little in return. We have an awesome God!
End Notes: More laws for judges given by God to Israel. The focus is on justice, truthfulness, and kindness.
Following the crowd has been around since the very beginning when Adam followed Eve into sin. This was important to remind the people to hear from God, not others.
Note how you feel about someone should not determine how you treat them. You treat them like Jesus did.
Some interpreted the Sabbath law as only cultivating 6/7 ths of their land in any given year. Failure to follow this directive by God extended the Israelites punishment in Babylon (Leviticus 26:32-35, 2 Chronicles 36:21).
Cooking a goat in its mother’s milk was a common pagan ritual at the time so God felt the need to specifically outlaw it. Pagans did just that–boil a young goat in its mother’s milk and sprinkle it all over their fields, hoping for a better harvest the next year. Makes you wonder if God had to specifically outlaw this, then some or many of the Israelites themselves were doing this.
Jesus goes before us to prepare a place in heaven for us as well.
Note the stunning difference in the Old Testament Covenant and the New: in the Old Testament you had to obey to be blessed. Now, we are blessed through Jesus so although there are consequences to sin, we are still blessed. I wonder if this is why others around us who are un-Godly, are richly blessed.
Just because God has given us things does not mean we will possess it. Case in point in Israel’s boundaries. Israel has never possessed all of God’s promised land. When your faith is strong enough, you will have it.
The Israelites do make a covenant with others in their land (Joshua 9). Note how no humans have ever kept God’s commands perfectly.
Fascinating article on the angel of the Lord, which here says that God never spoke to the people Himself but this is Jesus here who is communicating with Moses the entire time since no one has ever seen nor heard God. See article HERE
This was an eye-opener for me. I had always assumed this was God speaking and never thought it was God in the person of Jesus although I looked back at my answers and had put this previously. It’s just now clicking for me! I tend to think in terms of God and Jesus being separate and they are not. This I think will be a grand theme for me this year.
Bible Scholars differ on the locations of the Promised Land from Genesis 15 to here in Exodus 23
One Interpretation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land#mediaviewer/File:Map_Land_of_Israel.jpg
Another Interpretation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promised_Land#mediaviewer/File:Greater_Israel_map.jpg
Modern Borders: http://www.historicjesus.com/maps/israel.html