Learn from the Law
Creator God, You formed me. You are the beginning and the end of all I am and all I hope to be. You are worthy of my praise.
Read Exodus 23:1-19
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12). Listen to God’s Word and live it out by the power of his Spirit (Rom. 8:4).
A right attitude to the Law upholds its spirit. By contrast, selfish or careless actions only serve to weaken it. A lack of integrity in speech, whether in conversation or in court, ultimately undermines the community. Similarly, a lack of active good neighborliness weakens the ties that bind a people together. We should care for one another, both in the normal course of life and in the more formal procedures in court. Special thought should be given to protect the vulnerable.
The Sabbath, by breaking the cycle of doing and allowing time just to be, reminds us of God’s faithfulness in the past and the need for ongoing trust. More demanding (therefore less implemented) was the notion of a Sabbath year to allow the ground to renew itself and restore its depleted natural resources. This recognition of sustainable lifestyle was well ahead of its time and also ours! The Sabbath principle provides for hard work, creative rest, and a place for the poor. It is an early form of the welfare state and follows from a belief in a gracious and generous God who provides all we need.
The annual festival cycle reminded the people of basic community truths. In our individualistic and fragmented age, less and less holds us together. The Festival of Unleavened Bread (Passover) was a testimony to the grace of God and his saving power. The second and third festivals marked the beginning and the end of the harvest seasons, to recognize that an agrarian economy is daily dependent on the Lord for sun and rain, and for protection from disease, blight and infestation. Finally, there were careful regulations about acceptable sacrifices. Care is needed in coming into the Lord’s presence. Access to God is a privilege, not a right, and we must not reverse that order.
God gives the Israelites a routine of living designed to enhance their relationship with him. Are there any ways in which your routine can be changed to improve your relationship with God?
Lord, in my frayed and frazzled world, I need Your wisdom to live wisely and carefully. Enlighten me with new ways to walk in step with You.
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