READ: Exodus 23-24
BACKGROUND: By Verse –
23:15 – The Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated from the 15th-21st days of the 1st month in the Hebrew calendar (mid-March). It commemorated the exodus from Egypt.
16 – The Feast of Harvest is also referred to in the Bible as the Feast of Weeks (because it came 7 weeks after the Feast of Unleavened Bread). It marked the time of the wheat harvest. The Feast of Ingathering is also referred to as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths in reference to the temporary housing structures that the Israelite people lived in after God brought them out of Egypt. It was held in the fall (mid-September to mid-October) when the produce of orchards and vineyards was harvested and it commemorated the desert journey of the nation of Israel.
19 – Firstfruits is an important concept in the Bible, but the idea is that by bringing the first and best as an offering to God the people would remember that the entire harvest is a blessing from God and belonged to him. Don’t cook a young goat in it’s mother’s milk is a specific prohibition that had to do with pagan rituals of doing just that and sprinkling it over the crops to ensure a good harvest. God wasn’t talking about keeping meat and dairy separate (as some modern Jews take it to mean). He was reminding the people just who was in charge of the harvest – him and not superstitious magic.
20-22 – This may be Jesus, it may be an angel who is tasked with representing God. Either way, this angel is a representative of the presence of God.
28 – The Hebrew meaning for the word hornet is not certain. Some ancient manuscripts translated it wasp. It’s pretty ambiguous what this really is, but the point is not in the specifics of what God sends, it is that God is going to make sure the people of Canaan can’t resist the invasion.
24:2 – Moses is the mediator of the Old Covenant between God and the people. Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant.
6 – The blood on the altar symbolizes God’s forgiveness, the blood on the people symbolizes their oath to obey.
8 – Agreeing to obey and submit was a precondition of participation in the covenant.
THINK: “I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.” – Exodus 23:28
What [precisely] the hornets were we need not consider. They were God’s own army, which He sent before His people to sting their enemies and render Israel’s conquest easy. Our God, by His own chosen means, will fight for His people and gall their foes before they come into the actual battle. Often He confounds the adversaries of truth by methods in which reformers themselves have no hand. The air is full of mysterious influences which harass Israel’s foes. We read in [Revelation] that “the earth helped the woman.”
Let us never fear. The stars in their courses fight against the enemies of our souls. Oftentimes when we march to the conflict, we find no host to contend with. ”The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” God’s hornets can do more than our weapons. We could never dream of the victory being won by such means as Jehovah will use. We must obey our marching orders and go forth to the conquest of the nations for Jesus, and we shall find that the Lord has gone before us and prepared the way, so that in the end we shall joyfully confess: “His own right hand and his holy arm, have gotten him the victory.” – Charles Spurgeon
PRAY: Thank God that his hornets can do more than our weapons. Praise him for the victory he has already achieved over sin and death in this world. And commit yourself to obedience – tell God that you will follow your marching orders today.