Today’s Torah Commentary from Exodus 23:20 – 24:18
The Second Book of the Torah, “Shemot,” “Names.”
This weeks reading is “Mishpatim,” “Judgments.”
Today we continue reading the “rest of the commandments.”
Today’s reading begins with GOD making arrangements for the people to once again get moving.
HE is appointing and angel to go before them, one they are not to challenge or show any rebellion towards as this angel “will not pardon your disobedience.”
If the people obey the angel then GOD will hate their enemies and attack their foes.
This angel will annihilate the peoples living in the land which the Israelites are traversing into, but not all at once, lest the land become unmanageable from being abandoned.
GOD continues with reiterating HIS commandments of not bowing down to the gods of the land, telling them to “tear down their idols and break their sacred pillars.”
If they follow GOD’s instructions here, HE will bless their bread and water, banishing sickness from among them.
Their women will not know miscarriage or remain childless, and HE will make them live out full lives.
HE will cause the people in their path to be terrified of HIM, throwing them into a panic causing them to turn and flee from the Israelites.
HE will send deadly hornets ahead of them to drive out the people living in the lands little by little giving the Israelites a chance to increase and fully occupy the land.
HE will set the borders from the Red Sea to the Philistine Sea, from the desert to the river.
GOD commands them to not make treaty with these peoples or their gods, do not even allow them to reside in the land since they may make the Israelites sin against GOD, possibly causing the Israelites to worship these peoples false gods.
GOD then calls Moses/Moshe to come up to HIM along with Aaron, Nadav, Avihu and seventy of the elders of Israel, all bowing down at a distance with only Moshe approaching GOD.
Moshe comes before the people to tell them all of GOD’s words.
They all responded with a single voice…,
“We will keep every word that GOD has spoken.”
The next morning, early, after Moshe had written down all of GOD’s words, he built an altar at the foot of the mountain. He built it with twelve pillars to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
Moshe has the consecrated men of the Israelites offer up oxen as burnt offerings and peace offerings to GOD.
He took half the blood from these sacrifices and put it in large bowls, the other half he sprinkled on the alter.
Moshe took the book of the covenant and read it aloud to the people, to which they replied again…,
“We will do and obey all that GOD has declared.”
Moshe then took the remaining blood and sprinkled it on the people saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant that GOD is making with you regarding all these words.”
Then GOD instructs Moshe to, “come up to ME, to the mountain, and remain there. I will give you the stone tablets, the Torah and the commandment that I have written for the people’s instruction.”
Moshe and those whom GOD had said come, went up to the mountain.
They saw a “vision of the GOD of Israel,” and had food and drink with HIM.
Moshe and Joshua went up to GOD’s mountain, leaving the elders with Aaron and Chur in charge.
Once Moshe reached the mountain top, the cloud covered the mountain for six days, on the seventh HE called Moshe from the midst of the cloud where he remained for forty days and forty nights.
There is so much going on here it’s hard to keep up with it all.
GOD is instructing HIS people concerning their path to the promised land.
At the same time HE has called Moshe and the elders up to be with HIM, only giving them a “vision” to look upon so they not see HIM in HIS true form and die.
We have an amazing opportunity here to see the power of GOD displayed before the people.
The entirety of the nation looked upon the mountain and saw the cloud of smoke, the fire, the Presence of GOD.
They spoke in “one voice” declaring not once but twice they would do all that GOD had spoken.
When we read these scriptures, do we even consider what it must have been like to stand before the mountain of GOD, witnessing these things?
If we do consider this, from the facts of scriptural description, do we stand in awe and wonder, imagining what the Israelites must have felt like, or do we dismiss it as “old testament,” activity?
Is the GOD of the Old Torah the same GOD of today?
Do we see HIM in with the eyes of the Israelites, or do we see HIM through the eyes of today’s doctrine and theology?
IS GOD still GOD to you, or is HE no longer all that HE was before?
Would you stand today before HIM in fear and trembling, or do you even believe you could stand before HIM?
We have so much more in Messiah than the people had in Moshe.
Does this give us permission to feel more “friendly” towards GOD than the people of Israel, or does it demand we fear and respect HIM even more?
What would happen if we took the words of GOD to heart and began tearing down the idols and sacred pillars of this world we still hold onto?
Have we considered all of the idolatry in our own lives?
Are we simply walking in observance of the Torah or are we Living It?!
What are your thoughts on these scriptures?
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