Summary: Let’s as Christians stop whining about and judging all the disobedient people who don’t even claim his name. Forget about the homosexuals, the abortionists, you think God won’t take care of all that? Love them and he will take care of the judgment.
Last time we were together Moses had just been given the 10 Commandments. He had been going up and down the mountain hearing from God and relaying this information from God to the people.
Now it wasn’t just the 10 commandments. Moses in that short time received 4 chapters of detailed laws about how they are to live as a society. These laws are mostly specific to that culture and deal with the treatment of slaves and foreigners, and other’s property, and what the punishments and paybacks were for certain civil disputes and crimes and so on. Many of our laws come from these.
Now clearly the death penalty was in effect for murder, but look at verse 15 of chapter 21. Striking or cursing a parent was also punishable by death (how many of us would have survived childhood). How about these: mistreat a widow or fatherless child and God will put you to death by the sword. If you lend money to a poor person, don’t charge interest. Very much about how to treat the vulnerable people in society, and about fairness. A lot of critics want to turn God into a mean bigot. But that is far from the case, that’s how humans distort God’s will.
Part of this was also the Sabbath. The part about letting your land, vineyards and orchards rest in the seventh year, and letting the poor and even the wild animals eat from what grows on it in that year.
It talks about resting on the seventh day again and even letting your slaves rest. It mentions the importance of family, specifically letting your female slave rest so that her son may be refreshed. And of course, don’t boil your young goats in its mother’s milk. Anybody ever get caught doing that? Old goats I guess are OK.
Verse 20 begins an interesting part of chapter 23. “Behold I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. 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.”
He goes on to promise that if you do obey him, he will blot out your enemies, he will bless your bread and water, he will take away sickness and miscarriage, and you will get this vast land that I am preparing for you. That is very much like the description of our future given in Revelation.
Now I believe that this angel is very likely Jesus, because of that phrase, “My name is in him.” Christophonies were not unusual through the book of Genesis and I believe this may be confirmed by Paul’s words in 1 Cor 10 where Paul mentions the cloud quite often, and then in verse 4 he says “these people with Moses drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ”. Now Jesus also calls himself the true manna from heaven. So whether this was an incarnation of Jesus in the form of a man, cloud, rock, bread, angel, it doesn’t matter. Christ is the only real physical manifestation of God himself.
But here’s the real clincher for me. I’ve said many times throughout our study that our promised land – heaven, parallels their promised land. In verse 20 of Exodus chapter 23, God says I have sent this angel to guard you and bring you to the place that I have prepared. Jesus is and always was the way, and no one gets to the place God prepares but through Him. And what is sad is that ultimately only two of the 600,000 men that left Egypt entered the Promised Land. Moses wasn’t even included, all because they did not obey the Lord consistently.
God even tells us why Caleb was one of those two chosen in Numbers 14. “Because he had a different spirit and has followed me completely”. God said he pardoned the people at Moses request which only meant that he did not kill them on the spot and did not punish them to the 3rd and 4th generation. Their children got in.
It’s also interesting that in Numbers 14 God says none of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt will enter. Now here in Exodus chapter 24, some of the men actually saw the God of Israel. Now to my knowledge no one could ever see God and live, so who were they looking at?
Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, along with 70 of Israel’s elders saw God and beneath his feet was something like a transparent pavement of sapphire stone with the clearness of the sky. I believe that was Jesus. And it says God did not harm them when they saw him. Now this is interesting, why didn’t God let everyone see him?