The 35th day of the year and we are well into Exodus. in tonight’s chapters, Exodus 19, 20 and 21, Moses and the Israelites are given the commandments by which they must live. But it’s much more extensive than the “Ten Commandments” we all know about. God gives Moses a great long list of do’s and don’ts. The rules about how to treat slaves are particularly complex. What jumped off the page for me was that if a man kills another man, he must be put to death. But if a man beats his slave with a club and the slave then dies, he goes unpunished. Seems a bit harsh!
In Matthew 23, Jesus is in full flow. He calls the Pharisees “hypocrites” six times! He is furious with the way they have taught the law. He says they have slammed shut the door to heaven. They are like a cup which is washed clean on the outside, but is still dirty on the inside.
That could be a description of the way my children wash up! But for the Pharisees it is much worse than that. Jesus knows what lays in store for him. He accuses their ancestors of murdering the prophets of the past, (23:32) “Go ahead and finish what they started. (34) You will kill some by crucifixion…” He almost shouts at them in frustration, (23:37) “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks…” And they know that by “children” he means congregation. He is telling them that everything they have done and everything they are doing is wrong.
Psalm 28’s opening verse jumped out at me: (28:1) “I pray to you, O Lord, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die.” and this (28:9) “Save your people… Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.” This theme of caring and kindness runs through the reading from Matthew and Psalms.
In Proverbs chapter 7, we have some words of advice about protecting the commands and remembering them always. (7:3) “Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.”
Tonight, I am 10% of the way through the Bible. Am I 10% more spiritual? I don’t know! How does one measure such a thing?
Do I FEEL any different? Not right at this moment, no.
Do I feel closer to God? Ah, good question. Yes, I think I do.