Discover His heart: His presence protects and guides us
Much of the remaining book of Exodus consists of laws and regulations for everyday living. Throughout history, one of the first acts of any group or gathering is to establish guidelines that bring protection and order to the group, and this new nomadic group of Israelites was no exception. Because of God’s special covenant with their forefather, Abraham, God took special care to establish the very best guidelines for their success.
The laws were based on common sense and respect for others. Many of the dictates are similar to our laws today, but they were met with very different consequences when broken. Death was often an immediate penalty. An eye for an eye was the rule of the day, especially in cases of personal injury. If this were the law today, lawyers would be out of business, television commercials would be completely different, and we would definitely keep our goring ox under control to be sure. (29) Exodus 22 dealt with the protection of property, the proper treatment of others and finally, their responsibilities to God. Sorcerers, sexual deviants, and idolaters were put to death – zero tolerance. Regardless of how much we abhor such sins, we can be thankful today for God’s grace and His ultimate justice through Jesus Christ.
@ Exodus 23
Hidden within the laws of justice (1-9), the Sabbath laws (10-13), the Festival laws (14-19) and the laws of consecration (25-33) was an amazing promise to the Israelites. “See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. Pay close attention to him, and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion.” (20-22) What angel would have the ability to forgive or to not forgive? Many believe this angel to be a manifestation of God, even an Old Testament appearance of Jesus. He certainly was, at the very least, a representative of the presence of God in the same way as the pillar of cloud and fire. This angel was sent to go before them and lead them to the Promised Land. What a blessed people!
And what a blessed people we are! Those who have accepted the manifestation of God’s only Son, Jesus, have this same promise of protection and guidance for their lives. It’s easy for this incredible promise to get hidden by all the laws of man, laws of nature and laws of God that we follow each day. This account in Exodus of God’s faithfulness to His imperfect people serves as our reminder: In our obedience to God, His presence is with us to protect and lead us through life. “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8) It just doesn’t get better than that.
Moving Forward: So thankful that I live in this day of His grace and experience His presence to protect and guide my life as I follow closely after Him.
Tomorrow @ 2 Samuel 10-14