About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter 23
Exodus 23 opens with the
words, "do not". I
mention this because many of the Ten Commandments are similar.
In one sense of the word, there are more than ten commandments.
Here are a couple more. Verse
1 says, "do not spread false reports.
Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness."
There are "do nots"
in verses 2 and 3. "Do
not follow a crowd". This
is especially important today when peer pressure is so great.
We are to stand on the side of God and Jesus, not the crowd.
In this case an example of following a crowd is in a court of
law. We are to tell the
truth and not distort justice by following the crowd.
Verse 3 also says that we
should not show favouritism in a lawsuit when it comes to the poor.
There is much said about the poor in the Law of Moses.
They are protected in many ways.
Jesus Himself was always on the side of the poor.
Verses 4 and 5 sound very
much like Jesus when He tells us to love our enemies.
This command tells the Jews not to take advantage of your enemies
when his ox or donkey falls into a pit.
I'm sure that this command, like many others can be understood in
far reaching terms, other than what is exactly stated.
So I suggest that one should not take advantage of his enemy in
any situation, not just those that concern his ox or donkey. In
time of war, you fight to win, and I don't believe this rule applies
then. We do know in later
We see protection again
to the poor in verses 6 and 7, and also to the honest man.
We are to be on the side of the truth, even if that means being
on the side of the poor. Way
too often the rich in important people sway us away from the truth
because we like being friends with them.
We are to stand on the side of the truth no matter what it takes.
Verse 8 says, "do
not accept a bribe." The
text states that if we accept bribes our understanding is blurred.
How true. Money can
blur the important things in life, and especially money that is received
because of a bribe. We
become subject to the one who has bribed us instead of being subject to
Verse 9 protects the
aliens who live among the Jews. We've
seen this command being stated before.
The alien is a bit like the poor.
They are disadvantaged. We
should look out for those of us who are so disadvantaged.
In verses 10 and 11 we
see the institution of the "Sabbath year", not the
"Sabbath day". Every
seventh year the Jews must rest their land.
The reason for this is so the poor can eat from it.
I assume that means the poor can find food that may be there.
Once again, we see the protection for the poor.
Even the animals can benefit from this Sabbath year.
They will be able to eat what the poor leave behind.
You might ask, "how
can the poor find food in a field that has not had seed planted in
it?" The assumption is
that some plants might have reseeded itself, producing a plant in the
At this point I will
mention that Israel
failed to keep this law. This
is why the Lord allowed
Verse 12 speaks of the
Sabbath day. Every seven days Israel
was to rest. We saw this
earlier in the Ten Commandments.
Verse 13 says, "do
not evoke the names of other gods…"
This section speaks to
three feast. Later, we
see these three become seven feasts.
Both numbers are important and probably are important in the way
it is seen here. First comes
three and then seven.
The first feast is the
Feast of Unleavened Bread, which we have seen before.
This is simply repeating what we already know, or to put it
another way, it is codifying what has already been in existence.
This is a spring feast and lasts for 7 days.
It was during this feast that Jesus died on the cross.
In verse 16 we see the
Feast of Harvest, also known as the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of
Ingathering, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles.
These three of the seven
feast were mandatory for the Jews to keep as seen in verse 17.
We thus know that Jesus celebrated these feasts every year that
In verse 18 we see that
yeast and blood do not mix in the economy of God.
Yeast represents sin, so why should the two be mixed, especially
when blood is always a type of the blood of Jesus. For
this reason the cross of Christ is extraordinarily amazing.
The perfect blood of Jesus was defiled by the yeast of our sin.
Verse 19 states that the
best animals must be used in offerings to the Lord. We
also see the term "the house of the Lord your God" mentioned
here for the first time. At
this point in time, there is no such place, no such house, but we will
see the establishment of the house of God in the next chapter.
This then, becomes one of the major themes in the Bible.
The last phrase of this
section says not to cook a young goat in mother's milk.
I don't totally know the significance of this law, but I do know
that an orthodox Jew will not eat meat and milk at the same meal because
of this verse. That being
said, many of these laws were instituted by God due to the practice of
pagan religions. Pagans did
such things that God did not want
In verse 20 God tells
I can think of the couple
prime examples of how I believe angels have stepped into my life to save
it from death from being hit by a car.
Twice this has happened. Due
to the fact that I am legally blind, it makes it hard for me to cross
streets sometimes. At least
on two different occasions, I probably would have been killed except for
what I believe was divine intervention.
Once an inner voice told me to immediately stop walking across
the street, and as soon as I did, a car came by, way to fast for that
street. Another time my feet
literally froze, wouldn't move. If
I had have moved 1 foot, I would have been hit by a speeding car and
God tells Israel
to pay attention to this angel, because if you disobey the angel he will
not forgive you. Angels may not be as forgiving as God.
It's not that God doesn't forgive, He does, but on the other
hand, He judges and punishes His people for their disobedience, and He
certainly did that to
Note also in verse 21
that it is important to God that this angel bares the name of God.
He represents God. He
is working on behalf of God. This
is what "in the name of Jesus" means to Christians,
We represent Jesus. We
work on His behalf on this earth.
In verses 22 and 23 God
says that if
Verse 24 is important
both to the Jew and to the church. God
that they are not to worship the foreign gods in the
The church must do the
same, and if we don't, we will suffer for it, as I believe parts of the
church have in the past. I
believe the post-modern church of today, the so-called Emergent church
is doing what God told
The last part of verse 24
shows us how serious God is about this.
Verses 25 and 26 state
In verse 27 God tells Israel
that He will "send His terror before them" in order for their
fight to be easy. One way
that He would do this is seen in the next verse.
He would send hornets into the enemy camp.
God often uses natural disasters to bring about His will. We do
know from these words that God is a god of terror.
This is not socially correct these days, but this is what the
In verses 29 and 30 God
says that He will not drive out Israel's enemies all at once. He'd
do it "little by little."
His thinking is that He did not want to see the land desolate of
people and wild animals overrun it.
Little by little the victory would be won as Israel
grew in numbers to fill the land. Many
Sunday sermons have been preached on this point.
The outworking of our salvation takes place over a life time.
Little by little, step by step, one victory after another is won
over sin and the devil in our lives.
Verse 31 gives the
borders of the
In verse 32 God tells