Exodus 23:1 "Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: 3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause."
We are not to tell lies on others. We should always be truthful in everything we say and be careful not to give in to the temptation to gossip.
2 "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:"
Everyone follows someone. When we are young, we usually follow the example of our parents, grandparents and older siblings. As we grow older, we may try to be like a teacher or a friend. Many teenagers and adults have fallen prey to leaders like Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite. In the Jonestown massacre over 900 people took their own lives by drinking from a tub of grape-flavored Fla-Vor-Aid laced with potassium cyanide and tranquilizers. Many babies and children were sacrificed in the name of religion and some were even shot to death. Followers of Marshall Applewhite (founder of Heaven's Gate) believed the comet Hale-Bopp was the sign they were to shed their earthly bodies and join a spacecraft traveling behind the comet that would take them to a higher plane of existence. Thrity-nine people died from drinking a lethal cocktail of phenobarbital and vodka. Ninety followers of David Koresh died needlessly and there have been many such leaders in the past and many more present today! The one thing all these people had in common was they were looking for fullfillment and chose the wrong men to follow, the wrong group to join. They followed a multitude to do evil. There was only one man ever worthy of being followed and that was the man Jesus Christ; people are still following Him today because He is the only leader who gives life instead of taking it!
3 "Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause."
Judgement should be exercised fairly and without respect of person because of their financial
or social standing. (This is not always the case in our country today!)
10 "And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: 11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard."
The Sabbath Day was the seventh day of the week and was a day of rest. (Still is!) The Sabbatic Year was the seventh year and in that year the land was to rest. This gave the soil time to replinish. I'm not a farmer but it seems to me this would be a good practice to continue!
14 "Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. 15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. 17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD."
There were 3 feast days the Israelites were to keep. The feast of unleavened bread was to be kept in remembrance of the nation being brought out of bondage. The feast of harvest was when the first crops were gathered and the feast of ingathering was celebrated at years end when all the crops had been gathered in. The first part of all the increase was to be given back to The Giver.
20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. 21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. 22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. 23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. 24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. 32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
Most agree that the angel mentioned here is Jesus Christ. (See I Cor.10:4,9 & 10) God continues to tell Israel that He would take them into the land He promised them and He would put their enemies out of that land because of their sins. He then warned them not to make any covenants with the inhabitants of that land or with their gods.
EXODUS 24:1 "And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. 2 And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him. 3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do."
These 74 men were the priests and elders of the nation of Israel but notice that even though they were bidden to "Come up unto the Lord," they were stopped and told to "worship afar off." Aren't you glad that we do not have to worship afar today? We can get as close to God as we want. "The Ground Is Level At The Foot Of The Cross!" Only Moses was allowed to get close to God. When he told the people all the words of the Lord, they once again agreed to do what the Lord said. In other words, they were saying, "Give us the law, we will keep it." They had been given the 10 commandments and believed they could keep them!
4 "And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words."
Hebrews 9:22 says, "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." Blood had to be shed, a sacrifice made, for no man can keep all the laws of God. Before remission of sin, a penalty must be paid. Jesus Christ was the final blood sacrifice for sin. He paid the price for men's sin and provided a means where by we may enter heaven! Are you covered by the blood?
9 "Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: 10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. 11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink."
No one has ever seen God! John 1:18 says, "18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." God is a spirit and no one can see a spirit. I'm sure they saw something on the mountain that day. I'm not sure just what it was but it was some type of manifestation that God allowed them to behold with their eyes that they might believe with their hearts.
13 "And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. 14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. 15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights."
God was preparing Joshua to take Moses' place and thus sent him into the mount of God with Moses. He needed to be closer and see first hand. When Moses ascended the mountain, a cloud covered it and the glory of God shown upon it. Moses waited six days before God called him from the midst of the cloud. I can't imagine anyone waiting that long for God to speak to them today. We can't even wait six minutes on God! Then the glory of God became as a fire on top of mount Sinai. The Israelites could see the fire of God from down below. What a fearsome sight that must have been. Moses was on the mountain 40 days and nights receiving the instructions which will be written in the rest of this book.
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