Day 155 – June 4
Exodus 23:10-33 – practical and spiritual wisdom
For six years you should plant crops on your land and gather in its produce. 11 But in the seventh year you should leave it alone and undisturbed so that the poor among your people may eat. What they leave behind, the wild animals may eat. You should do the same with your vineyard and your olive trees.
12 Do your work in six days. But on the seventh day you should rest so that your ox and donkey may rest, and even the child of your female slave and the immigrant may be refreshed.
13 Be careful to obey everything that I have said to you. Don’t call on the names of other gods. Don’t even mention them.
14 You should observe a festival for me three times a year. 15 Observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread, as I commanded you. Eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, because it was in that month that you came out of Egypt.
No one should appear before me empty-handed. 16 Observe the Harvest Festival for the early produce of your crops that you planted in the field, and the Gathering Festival at the end of the year, when you gather your crop of fruit from the field. 17 All your males should appear three times a year before the LORD God.
18 Don’t offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened. Don’t let the fat of my festival offering be left over until the morning.19 Bring the best of your land’s early produce to the LORD your God’s temple. Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
20 I’m about to send a messenger in front of you to guard you on your way and to bring you to the place that I’ve made ready. 21 Pay attention to him and do as he says. Don’t rebel against him. He won’t forgive the things you do wrong because I am with him. 22 But if you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, then I’ll be an enemy to your enemies and fight those fighting you.
23 When my messenger goes in front of you and brings you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I wipe them out, 24 don’t bow down to their gods, worship them, or do what they do. Instead, you should completely destroy them and smash their sacred stone pillars to bits. 25 If you worship the LORD your God, the LORD will bless your bread and your water. I’ll take sickness away from you, 26 and no woman will miscarry or be infertile in your land. I’ll let you live a full, long life. 27 My terrifying reputation will precede you, and I’ll throw all the people that you meet into a panic. I’ll make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 I’ll send insect swarms in front of you and drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you. 29 I won’t drive them out before you in a single year so the land won’t be abandoned and the wild animals won’t multiply around you. 30 I’ll drive them out before you little by little, until your numbers grow and you eventually possess the land. 31 I’ll set your borders from the Reed Sea to the Philistine Sea and from the desert to the River. I’ll hand the inhabitants of the land over to you, and you will drive them out before you. 32 Don’t make any covenants with them or their gods. 33 Don’t allow them to live in your land, or else they will lead you to sin against me. If you worship their gods, it will become a dangerous trap for you.
Comment: throughout scripture there are commands about not bonding with other national “gods.” But here in Exodus is a jewel of a reference explaining why because “it will become a dangerous trap for you.” The question of possessing the land (vs. 30) is much more complicated and will be addressed by the prophets later on.
When morning came, there was a tremendous confusion among the guards—what had happened to Peter? 19 Herod gave orders to search for him, but they could not find him. So he had the guards questioned and ordered them put to death. After this, Herod left Judea and spent some time in Caesarea.
20 Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, so they went in a group to see him. First they convinced Blastus, the man in charge of the palace, that he should help them. Then they went to Herod and asked him for peace, because their country got its food supplies from the king’s country.
21 On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. 22 “It isn’t a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted. 23 At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died.
24 Meanwhile the word of God continued to spread and grow. 25 Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned from Jerusalem, taking John Mark with them.
Comment: meanwhile God continued to spread and grow the community . . . beautiful.
Thank the Lord for all the glorious things he does; proclaim them to the nations. 2 Sing his praises and tell everyone about his miracles. 3 Glory in the Lord; O worshipers of God, rejoice. 4 Search for him and for his strength, and keep on searching!
5-6 Think of the mighty deeds he did for us, his chosen ones—descendants of God’s servant Abraham, and of Jacob. Remember how he destroyed our enemies. 7 He is the Lord our God. His goodness is seen everywhere throughout the land. 8-9 Though a thousand generations pass he never forgets his promise, his covenant with Abraham and Isaac 10-11 and confirmed with Jacob. This is his never-ending treaty with the people of Israel: “I will give you the land of Canaan as your inheritance.” 12 He said this when they were but few in number, very few, and were only visitors in Canaan. 13 Later they were dispersed among the nations and were driven from one kingdom to another; 14 but through it all he would not let one thing be done to them apart from his decision. He destroyed many a king who tried! 15 “Touch not these chosen ones of mine,” he warned, “and do not hurt my prophets.”
16 He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply. 17 Then he sent Joseph as a slave to Egypt to save his people from starvation. 18 There in prison they hurt his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar 19 until God’s time finally came—how God tested his patience! 20 Then the king sent for him and set him free. 21 He was put in charge of all the king’s possessions. 22 At his pleasure he could imprison the king’s aides and teach the king’s advisors.
Prayer: I praise You for the thread of Your life You have woven into our lives. Amen.