This week we have been reading through Exodus chapters 21-25. When I first started in to the chapters I was not so eager to dive into these chapters. Exodus 21-25 are dealing with the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. It seemed a rather dull prospect to look forward to as I considered this week’s morning devotions. On Monday I didn’t really take a lot of time, but I did read the chapter. From Tuesday forward my attitude and perspective changed. I was seeing themes that kept coming up, and the Lord was impressing different elements on my heart that needed to be noticed and seen. Even in a book of law.
God is Gracious
To begin, I was surprised at how often I was seeing God’s grace played out in these chapters. It was clear that God was being very intentional to teach the people of Israel that they were to treat the people around them with grace, and mercy. God was demonstrating His own character qualities that He wanted the Israelite people to display. Multiple times in these chapters we see God looking out for both people and animals.
2 “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. 3 If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. [Exodus 21:2-3]
Isn’t it interesting that God made a point to keeping the husband and wife unit together? There are other verses that instruct how to handle a slave who marries while in slavery and what that entails, but here we have God making sure that if a man is sold as a slave, then after a set time he is to be free and his wife also.
21 “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. 23 If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; 24 and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.[Exodus 22:21-24]
This set of verses is touching to me. God was reminded the Hebrew people to be kind to those who are strangers. He was reminding them that they were once strangers and were treated badly. God wanted His people to be different. In addition God wanted the orphans and widows to be considered and cared for, and God shows that this is something He feels very strongly about.
25 “If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest. 26 If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, 27 for that is his only covering; it is his cloak for his body. What else shall he sleep in? And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious. [Exodus 22: 25-27]
I love the picture these verses paint. God wants His people to have grace and mercy to those around them. He wants the Israelites to consider the people who are coming to them for financial help and to not take advantage of them. God even reminds us that when we cry out to Him He hears us.
5 If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall refrain from leaving it to him, you shall surely release it with him. [Exodus 23:5]
In these verses and others we see images of God’s mercy, and compassion. He is looking forward to the time that is ahead of the Israelites and he sees that there will be circumstances that will come up. He is teaching them that he wants them to be considerate of people and animals.
God Sees Us
These verses and several others that are found in these chapters of Exodus remind me that God is paying attention to our lives. He knows what is happening day-to-day. Have you ever had a boss who didn’t really know what was going on in your work environment. And that boss began passing arbitrary rules that he felt would be good for the particular place of business. Over time those rules showed themselves to be what they were, a sham. If a boss is not aware of how the business is run or the unique work environment than any rules he makes will not improve the functioning of that business.
Yet if you have a boss who is actively working alongside the employees and is keenly aware of what is happening each day and in specific departments. He is then able to determine what rules would benefit that department. The boss is working in the trenches and he can clearly see what is happening and what is needed.
If God didn’t have a clear view of the life of the Hebrews he would not have made the rules the way that he did. I believe that God was communicating to His people that he saw their daily life, He saw their daily struggles and He wanted to be actively addressing the concerns that they were dealing with each day.
The blessing in this is, God still sees us today. He knows your struggles, He knows your heartache. God sees the mothers who are pushed beyond exhaustion and feel overwhelmed. God sees the wife whose marriage is tattered and she fears for the worst. God sees all and He loves us. That is a huge blessing to my heart.
God is Holy
9 Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. 11 Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank. [Exodus 24:9-11]
Last week the chapters we studied also brought out this idea. God is holy. His holiness is beyond our ability to understand. That holiness requires a covering for us to be in his presence. Just like the ceremonial cleansing that the leaders of Israel had to go through before they approached the mountain of God. The Bible tells us that Mt. Sinai was covered with a fire with smoke rising to the heavens. Can you imagine the feelings of the people? Last week I talked about how the people must have felt as they felt the ground shake and saw a massive fire burning this huge mountain.
I think we need to be reminded more often of God’s holiness. I find I am guilty of seeing God as a permissive father. Someone who is always quick to forgive or ignore my sins. Yet I believe a more accurate picture is God is grieved over my sin, yes he forgives when I confess, but He isn’t just ignoring them. His Son died for me! My sins that I am so quick to toss aside and say they aren’t so bad caused the nails to be driven in the wrists of Jesus Christ. I think I need to consider my sins more carefully.
I pray that as we move through our days we are reminded that God is Bigger than what we consider. Even as we need and want an intimate relationship with the creator of the universe. We should never forget His holiness.
This post is part of Good Morning Girls Blogging Through the Bible. Click the Link below for More information.