Thursday, November 05, 2015

Reading in Exodus This Week #4 (21-24)

51ChsiH46qL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_I am now back home on Guam and continuing my discussion on Exodus, while reading through the commentary, Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory, by Philip Graham Ryken, The next section of Exodus is called the “Book of the Covenant” because it explains how the 10 commandments should be lived out practically by the Israelites within their covenant agreement with God, and concludes with a covenant ratification ceremony that binds them into relationship together. I have been posting quotes from the book on my Facebook page on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (NT is Mon-Wed-Fri) and we can discuss comments and questions about the passage there. As usual, quotes from the commentary are in blue below…

Chapter 21 begins the Book of the Covenant, which explains how the 10 commandments were to be applied in the daily life of the nation of Israel. They show us that the leaders of Israel were to be faithful to the eternal principles contained in the commandments, but creative in applying them to new situations. These laws are keyed to each of the commandments. First, the covenant dealt with idolatry. Israel was to be careful to maintain their exclusive loyalty to and worship of God despite the enticements of the world around them. They were to worship God in the way he showed them and not misrepresent him.

God is not the kind of deity who can be adequately represented in the form of an idol. He is the God who speaks from Heaven. The Israelites met him on the mountain in fire and smoke. They experienced his splendor and glory. How can anything we are tempted to look at—no matter how precious it is, or how shiny, or how well made—ever compare with the real beauty and majesty of God? The things of earth cannot compete with the glories of Heaven. Exodus 20.22-26, 691

Divine principles of justice were very practical. People were to take responsibility for their own actions and were to treat others as they wanted to be treated: with grace, love and mercy.

The Bible can help. It does not give us a complete code with regulations for every situation that might arise in every culture. However, it does provide a set of cases to help us understand the basic principles of divine justice. Exodus 21, 708–709

Legal liability is a thoroughly Biblical principle, even in the case of an accident. God expects us to take full responsibility for our actions, whether we intended to damage someone else’s property or not. Exodus 22, 724

The purpose of the law was to teach people what God is like so that they can properly represent him as the image of God. It was the outworking of an already existing relationship with God, not a code of abstract statutes.

The law does something else that is very exciting: It reveals God’s character. This makes the Old Testament law different from any law code or book of court decisions. The law reveals the Lawgiver. We do not study it to find out what we have to do, but to know our God. And as we study and apply his law, we are conformed to his character. Exodus 22.16-31, 732–733

The covenant code showed people how they could be blessed within the God's covenants with Israel. Obedience brought blessing while disobedience brought its own consequences, one of which would be the loss of God's relational protection and blessing. God was working with his people to show them what kind of life he wanted them to live and what kind of life would lead to their blessing (shalom).

We tend to be overconfident about the accuracy of our judgments concerning others. We also tend to put too much confidence in what we heard about who said what to whom. Therefore, it is very easy for us to spread false reports, sometimes without even fully realizing what we are doing. Exodus 23.1-13, 747

The Israelites missed out on God’s blessing because they compromised with the Canaanites. This warns us of the danger of settling for a partial victory that stops short of full obedience to Christ. God is winning the victory—usually little by little—but if we compromise with sin, our victory will turn into defeat. Exodus 23.20-33, 774

The Book of the Covenant ended with a covenant ceremony, in which the God of the universe proclaimed his his adherence to the covenant by eating in relationship with the leaders of Israel. God had committed himself to this relationship.

This is what worship is: meeting with God. And this is why God saved the Israelites—so they could worship him. Exodus 24 is a fulfillment of that promise. In order to confirm the covenant, God’s people gathered for a solemn assembly. They met at the mountain to worship God and behold his glory. Exodus 24.1-18, 779

Jesus came down so that one day we could be lifted up. What happened to Moses is a picture of what will happen to everyone who comes to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Glory is in our destiny...We will go farther up and farther in. Like Moses, we will be surrounded by the radiance of God’s glory. Exodus 24.9-18, 799

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