Today’s Reading: Exodus 22:20; 23:13; Leviticus 19:4 , 27-28; 20:1-5; 26:1; Deuteronomy 5:5-10; 12:1-15, 17-22, 26-31; 13:6-18; 14:1-2; 16:21-22
Now into a new section of reading about the laws which God gave to His people for their protection and for their good! Congratulations on keeping up the reading!
Seems to me, having spent quite some time reading how good God has been to them, taking them from Egypt and bringing them all this way, it should be ‘a given’ that this is “your God Who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery,” and therefore “there should be no other gods before Me.” But I see the danger in my life of other things becoming “gods”, things that become more important than God Himself. After saving me from the slavery of sin and worldly pursuits, why would I drift so quickly towards these things! – Simply because I too, like the Israelites, am surrounded by them in my life, so I also need the instructions to be careful and unrelenting in getting rid of these things – (take whatever “extreme” measures it takes to rid myself of the things that become more important than God Himself!)!
So here comes a list of things to be avoided by the children of Israel, beginning with things connected with idol worship and what seems like traditions, but are actually connected with idol worship. And in the New Testament, Paul tells us that actually although an idol is only wood or stone, in fact, things offered to idols, are offered to demons! ( 1 Cor. 10:20) – and this is the reason why this is so serious, even to the point of telling the Israelites, not even to make mention of these gods or find out how people worshipped idols, so that they may not be enticed into doing this sort of thing! Maybe some knowledge of “evil” can be dangerous! (The New Testament speaks about being wise in what is good, but “simple” in what is evil”! – Romans 16:9)
I love the thought that although God will punish disobedience to the third or fourth generation (a frightening thought), He in all His great love and compassion and goodness, says that for someone who obeys His commandments, He will bless to a thousand generations! Think I will try to choose for the “thousand” and not for the “3rd or 4th”! Seems a better choice!
Then God promises that when they come into the land, He will choose a place where they can worship! True, He doesn’t give them a lot of choices, but it is simple to know because there is only one place for the Israelites. I love the thought that where even the smallest plural number of people (2 or 3), today gather together to worship, He promises that if they gather using the authority of His Name, He’ll be there too! (Matt. 18:20) – Can’t get much simpler?! And so in the case of the Israelites, they are told to take all their offerings to the one place and perhaps the greatest offering the Israelites and we can bring to God (shall I say the most treasured to God Himself?) is our devoted loving obedient worship of Himself.
And the end of this section has a reminder of the reason why He is giving such detailed instructions and laws – “so that it may always go well with you and your children after you” (for God, a completely unselfish reason!) What makes this happen is “because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God.” I am so glad that He is our LORD, our God, aren’t you?!