Exodus 23 - A Web of Destruction
Exodus 23 1Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: 3Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause. 4If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. 5If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him. 6Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause. 7Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. 8And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous. 9Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 10And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: 11But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. 12Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed. 13And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. 14Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. 15Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 16And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. 17Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the LORD God. 18Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. 19The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk. 20Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. 21Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. 22But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. 23For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. 24Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. 25And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. 26There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil. 27I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. 28And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. 29I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. 30By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. 31And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. 32Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
Today's Scripture Meaning
Laws against falsehood and injustice. (1-9) The year of rest, The sabbath, The three festivals. (10-19) God promises to conduct the Israelites to Canaan. (20-33)Verses 1-9: In the law of Moses are very plain marks of sound moral feeling, and of true political wisdom. Every thing in it is suited to the desired and avowed object, the worship of one only God, and the separation of Israel from the pagan world. Neither parties, friends, witnesses, nor common opinions, must move us to lessen great faults, to aggravate small ones, excuse offenders, accuse the innocent, or misrepresent any thing. Verses 10-19: Every seventh year the land was to rest. They must not plough or sow it; what the earth produced of itself, should be eaten, and not laid up. This law seems to have been intended to teach dependence on Providence, and God's faithfulness in sending the larger increase while they kept his appointments. It was also typical of the heavenly rest, when all earthly labours, cares, and interests shall cease for ever. All respect to the gods of the heathen is strictly forbidden. Since idolatry was a sin to which the Israelites leaned, they must blot out the remembrance of the gods of the heathen. Solemn religious attendance on God, in the place which he should choose, is strictly required. They must come together before the Lord. What a good Master do we serve, who has made it our duty to rejoice before him! Let us devote with pleasure to the service of God that portion of our time which he requires, and count his sabbaths and ordinances to be a feast unto our souls. They were not to come empty-handed; so now, we must not come to worship God empty-hearted; our souls must be filled with holy desires toward him, and dedications of ourselves to him; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Verses 20-33: It is here promised that they should be guided and kept in their way through the wilderness to the land of promise, Behold, I send an angel before thee, mine angel. The precept joined with this promise is, that they be obedient to this angel whom God would send before them. Christ is the Angel of Jehovah; this is plainly taught by St. Paul, (1Co 10:9). They should have a comfortable settlement in the land of Canaan. How reasonable are the conditions of this promise; that they should serve the only true God; not the gods of the nations, which are no gods at all. How rich are the particulars of this promise! The comfort of their food, the continuance of their health, the increase of their wealth, the prolonging their lives to old age. Thus hath godliness the promise of the life that now is. It is promised that they should subdue their enemies. Hosts of hornets made way for the hosts of Israel; such mean creatures can God use for chastising his people's enemies. In real kindness to the church, its enemies are subdued by little and little; thus we are kept on our guard, and in continual dependence on God. Corruptions are driven out of the hearts of God's people, not all at once, but by little and little. The precept with this promise is, that they should not make friendship with idolaters. Those that would keep from bad courses, must keep from bad company. It is dangerous to live in a bad neighbourhood; others' sins will be our snares. Our greatest danger is from those who would make us sin against God.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Exodus with Chapter 23 and in today's text we see a lot of instruction from more Judaical laws, the principles about rest and the Sabbath, remembering what God has done for us through the feasts, but what catches my eye is the instruction to stay away from the gods of the enemy. God has had and continues to have enemies that deny his Lordship. These enemies have their own gods which include pleasure, money, false religious leaders, etc. and we are instructed to stay away form them. The temptation is that they appeal to the flesh but like a spider they spin a web for us to be be trapped so they can devour us. God has instructed us to stay away but as you will see in the Bible text to come that man continues to fall into this web of the enemy. This continues today with promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, gambling, debt, along with many religions that deny the only way to heaven which is forgiveness of mans sin through Jesus-Christ. God has instructed us to stay far away from this web of destruction. How about you? Do you see the web of the enemies of God? Let us learn from today's text and stay away from the enemies web of destruction.
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Sincerely, Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.