“And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless thy bread and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” (Exodus 23:25)
TEXT: Exodus 23:1-33
There is no doubt that everybody in this church today desires the blessing of God. Again it is certain that we do not want a one-time blessing alone, we want an uninterrupted and long-lasting blessing of God. If this is the case, we need to pay attention to this special topic. The Lord will speak to us in the wealth of His wisdom in Jesus’ name.
One of the important principles we have to commit into heart is that the blessings of God are always attached to the commandments of God. This is why we need to know these commandments so that we can structure our lives, our conducts and the way we operate in righteousness and holiness in accordance to the acceptable standard of the word of God. Brethren we should not deceive ourselves, God’s promises of blessing are always conditional. It is one thing to know the acceptable standard of the word of God, it is another thing to fulfill the condition of His blessing. These are the important issues we shall touch this morning.
LAW AGAINST FALSEHOOD, PERJURY AND INJUSTICE—Exodus 23:1-9
In verses 1-2, 6-8 of the passage we read there was a clear emphasis that we should not engage or participate in any form of falsehood in order to obtain favor of man or cause a certain person to obtain unrighteous benefit at the detriment of another person. These extended principles are from the ninth of the Ten Commandments Law that God pronounced unto the Israel through Moses on Mount Sinai that says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” (Exodus 20:16) The scripture also tell us in Jeremiah 17:9-11 that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The wife of Potiphar raised false witness against Joseph that he made an attempt to lie with her. And Joseph was thrown into prison. (Genesis 39: 7-20) Jezebel arranged false witnesses against Naboth so as to kill him and his vineyard was cruelly taken over by Ahab her husband. (I Kings 21:10-13)
To forestall these horrendous evil among the people of God and to protect the interest of the innocent, the poor, the orphans and foreigners as well as the less fortunate, and the less privilege people, God provided the detail analysis of the ninth commandment in the passage we read this morning.
In Exodus 19:5-6 “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” The peculiarity of a chosen generation demanded that their characters must reflect the blessed will of God Almighty that had delivered them with a stretched hand from their task masters in Egypt. God instructions were intended to carve out Israel, the people of God, distinctly from other nations. The Lord is doing this to wash them from their past idolatrous practices and cruel lifestyle of the Egyptians.
THE LAW ON SABBATH AND THE FEASTS OF THE JEWS
Observation of the Sabbath—Exodus 23:10-12 After the six days of creation, the scripture tell us in Genesis that God rested. It has not become law then. But when we continue to learn the word of God, we now understand the essence of rest in the law of Sabbath. For the people of God—work for six days and rest in order to observe the Sabbath of God on the seventh day. For the cultivated land in Israel, plant and harvest on a portion of land and allow the land to rest and refresh on the seventh year. The believers of our time rest and refresh in the Lord on the Lord’s Day by fellowship before God and worship Him.
The Feast of Passover or Feast of Unleavened bread—Commemoration of Israel deliverance from the enslavement of the Egyptians. This symbolizes salvation experience that believers we have when our Savior rescued us from the power of darkness and translated us unto His marvelous light.
The Feast of the First Fruit or Feast of the Weeks—occurs at the beginning of Harvest in Israel—This feast takes place seven weeks or fifty days after the Passover Feast. Pentecost is derivative Greek word for “50th” The thousand year of faithfulness of the nation of Israel in celebrating this feast paid off on the Day of Pentecost when the world experience the visitation of Holy Spirit in the city of Jerusalem. Acts 2:1-4
The Feast of ingathering or Feast of Tabernacle—occurs at the end of Harvest. The end shall come one day to our eventful journey on earth. And there will be a moment of spiritual ingathering. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
In all the important feasts that the Israelites should appear before God, first of all to worship Him, and to also fellowship with each other, He commanded that we should not come before Him empty handed
The relevance of these feasts in Christian age is simply emphasizing the importance of fellowship before God Almighty. The scripture tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5 “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. If this is the case, we will always like to be around the temple of God that we so much love. Being close to God will bring his words close to our hearts. As a result the blessing of God for His people will become uninterrupted.
The essence of our offering when we gather before God is to exhibit our appreciation before Him. It is another way we tell God that He owns everything and that He is the Heavenly Father that had caused increase and profit upon our endeavors. Exodus 23:19 “The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.” Also in Deuteronomy 16:16-17 the same precept was clearly spelt out for the Israelites. “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.”
GOD’S PROMISES FOR THE OBEDIENT
The Promises of God blessings—Deuteronomy 28:1-14
In verse 1, we cannot miss the important operating clause, “if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God,” then God will execute His own parts. The blessings in the promises of God are conditional. By the standard of faithfulness of the word of God, we have to fulfill the conditions in order to have access to the blessings. When we yield in obedience to the commandment of God something mysterious happens. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 1:19-20) It happened in the ministry of Abraham when he obeyed the commandment of God. In Genesis 22:2-3; 15-18 Blessing of God locks the obedient children of God in to the abundance of the blessing of the Almighty God.
The Lord is ready to bless us. We need to give Him reasons to bless us by diligently obeying His commandments. God’s blessings will be permanent in our lives but we need to fulfill the conditionality.
Let us pray