Today’s Reading: Exodus 22:18, 28-30; 23:18-19; 31:12-17; 34:19-21; 35:3; Leviticus 19:23-25, 30; Leviticus 20:27; 23:1-3; 24:10-16, 23; Numbers 15:32-36; Deuteronomy 5:11-15; 13:1-5; 14:22-29; 15:19-23; 18:1-22; 26:1-15
I was going to congratulate us all on getting through 40 days of reading, but I see we have now kept at it for 50 days! That’s good endurance! To write this email takes a bit of effort and I was tempted to put it off, but fortunately I didn’t! Be encouraged to keep making it a priority in our lives!
Today, Moses talks now about the imitations to God and His power, whether that is in the area of false prophets, sorcery, omens, or spiritualists etc. There was only one end for someone doing these things and that was death – that’s how serious God considers this sin to be. At that time the land to which they were going was full of this kind of thing. Why would it not be, when the one true God was not known or believed in? And today it is the same. The human race knows without a doubt, that they are not in control of their destiny, so they fall prey to Satan’s lie that his spiritual work can supply answers and direction for human beings! Even among God’s people, there are such things – false prophets. The test to see if someone truly spoke the words of God was 1) If what they spoke didn’t come true, then it was not of God. (2) Maybe the second one is even a better test – if what a false prophet spoke about, drew away the people from God Himself and diminished their loyalty to Him, then it was even clearer that this person was a false prophet. But how reassuring God promised to send them Jesus, the Messiah, our true prophet and that promise was years before He actually came! This is the One we follow and Who deserves our loyalty!
So the Israelites are to revere their God and never use His name in swearing! For this again, one punishment only! And Moses gave them the example of a boy being stoned to death. Interesting, that the boy’s father is an Egyptian, from Egypt from where they came. Maybe the boy heard these swear words from his father? Just like we hear swear words so commonly used in the world in whch we live? – Maybe not, but certainly the Israelite mother (loving mothers always have amazing ability to correct wrong habits!) is featured more in the story? – Certainly more responsible, being an Israelite! Not sure if you feel uneasy like me – is it really all that serious? – But it is, considering whose name is being used so casually in swearing!
Then comes the dedications of the best for the Lord from the first and best. But God is so great and generous, He loves to share things. So they were allowed to eat some of it and definitely Levites were have their living from it and God also wanted to share with the widows, fatherless, and aliens – people in need.
Interesting, the prayers they said when giving their tithes. Don’t think I would dare lightly pray these words, if I had taken something of what belonged to the Lord (even when taken in my need!). To actually say something, always make things so much more real!
I can almost hear God saying, “Let’s rest together, and enjoy what we have done – I in Creation and you from your daily work. Would I dare to be busy “picking up sticks” and not resting when God calls me to rest in life? Not sure that we keep a certain day, but to lovingly dedicate some time to God Himself seems to make sense! It certainly did then – to avoid death! – Again how important this was to God Himself!