February 5

Exodus 21:22-23:13

As we read through the details of legislation for the land, it’s important to keep in mind that these are laws for the nation of Israel – in that day – as a theocracy. Although there is much wisdom in these principles, and many of our laws here in the United States of America are rooted in this Judeo-Christian framework, we are not to see them as binding to all other nations today.

This is Israel’s Civil Law.

Statutes concerning physical injury (Exodus 21:18-27)

Statutes concerning culpable neglect (Exodus 21:18-36)

Statutes concerning theft (Exodus 22:1-4)

Statutes concerning property damage (Exodus 22:5-6)

Statutes concerning safe deposits (Exodus 22:7-13)

Statutes concerning borrowing (Exodus 22:14-15)

Statutes concerning sexual seduction (Exodus 22:16-17)

Statutes concerning idolatrous customs (Exodus 22:18-20)

Statutes concerning the care of the needy (Exodus 22:21-27)

Statutes concerning reverence (Exodus 22:28-31)

Statutes concerning legal justice (Exodus 23:1-9)

Statutes concerning the Sabbaths (Exodus 23:10-13)

In Exodus 21:22-23 we see the acknowledgment, identity, and value of the child within the womb, whom the Lord sees as a life. If a fight takes place and a man causes the death of an unborn child, that man, under the letter of the law, should be put to death – “…but if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life…” God acknowledges the life of the child within the womb. May we also acknowledge every child’s right to life, at the moment of conception; may we hold tightly to the sanctity of life.

In these laws, we are beginning to see that God is just and holy. May that be embedded deep within our hearts in order to cultivate a healthy fear of God…but isn’t it noteworthy to see the way the LORD also reveals Himself as a gracious God? (Exodus 22:27). How important it is that we have this balanced and Biblical understanding of who God is.

Exodus 23:2 has always jumped out at me:

Exodus 23:2 (NKJV) “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil…”

As Christians we don’t just go with the flow. May we know the LORD and His Word well enough to identify when the trends and mores of the majority are actually evil (1 John 5:19).

Exodus 23:4-5 is a practical way of showing love to our enemies. We may not be “feeling” it, but we are called to love them in practical and helpful ways…usually in time our heart will follow.

I like the way Exodus 23:13 is translated in the NIV:

Exodus 23:13 (NIV) “Be careful to do everything I have said to you…”

Amen! It’s as simple as that!

Matthew 24:1-28

Matthew 24 is often referred to as the Olivet Discourse, for it is here at the Mount of Olives, overlooking the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, that Jesus spoke these words of prophecy. If you cross reference Mark 13 and Luke 21 you get the full picture.

The disciples pointed out the beauty of the Temple and the size of the stones. The temple itself stood 90 feet high – there was gold everywhere. Josephus, a Jewish historian said the temple was so magnificent that it was visible from 30-miles away. Some of the stones weighed 180 tons (modern day cranes can lift only 5 tons)! It seemed indestructible…but Jesus spoke an absolutely amazing prophecy – that the day would come when not one stone would be left upon another (in reference to the Temple).

When they reached the Mount of Olives, Mark tells us that Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Jesus privately this 3-fold question we have in Matthew:

(1) When will the Temple be destroyed?

(2) What will be the signs of Your coming?

(3) What are the signs of the end of the age?

As we read through the prophecies of Matthew, we must make the distinction between 1st century fulfillment (when the disciples were persecuted, and the Temple destroyed) the Rapture of the Church (that’s the one that will catch us by surprise if we’re not watching and working) and the Tribulation Period, which ushers in the end of the age.

False Messiah’s, wars, racial tension, famines, pestilences, earthquakes have all increased in frequency and intensity. Do you sense the birth pangs? ( Romans 8:22)

In the 20th century alone, over 1,100 people of international notoriety have publicly proclaimed to be the Christ, and in that one century there were more casualties of war than all others combined! Today, even with all our technology and ability to communicate globally, well over 10% of the world is malnourished, millions are starving…in other words, the signs are here. And although there have been pestilences in the past, I can’t help but mention Covid-19 which continues to infect the world today, and as I type over 391 million have been infected with 5.73 million deaths.

It’s seemingly not just the signs of the times, it’s the times of the signs. The stage is being set for globalism and a 1-world-ruler (Antichrist).

The Abomination of Desolation (v. 15) is when the Antichrist goes into the temple, claiming to be God and demands worship (see Daniel 9:27 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4). This will take place half-way through the 7-year Tribulation period (the last 3-1/2 years is often referred to as the Great Tribulation). We believe that the Antichrist will come onto the scene peacefully, the world will embrace him, he will bring peace in the Middle East allowing the Jews to rebuild their temple – but then his true colors will show, and he will persecute the Jews (verses 15-22) and the world will see judgment like never before (Revelation chapters 6-19).

There are different views on Matthew 24:28, the Bible Knowledge Commentary offers these words, “Wherever there is a carcass (physical corruption), vultures will go there to eat it. Similarly, where there is spiritual corruption, judgment will follow. The world will have become the domain of Satan’s man, the Antichrist, the lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:8), and many people will have been corrupted by false prophets (Matt. 24:24). But the Son of Man will come quickly in judgment (v. 27).”

Warren Wiersbe sees it in a more practical way, “The eagles flying around the carcass picture the awful carnage that will result from this great battle (Revelation 19:17–19).”

Psalm 29:1-11

We are to give God the glory for He alone is worthy! We are to worship the LORD in the “beauty of His holiness” (I love that phrase!)

The Psalmist goes on to emphasize the awesome voice of the LORD, as thunder splitting the cedar trees, but also soft enough to cause the deer to give birth (reminds me that not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from our Father’s will – Matthew 10:29). Everything is under God’s rule as simply spoken from His lips.

During the flood, God sat on the throne – in complete control.

And during the storms of our lives – He sits on the throne, in complete control. May this truth bless our hearts with the power and peace we need for the path ahead of us.

Psalm 29:11 (NKJV) “The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.”

Proverbs 7:6-23

Proverbs 7:6-7 (NKJV) For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, 7 And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, a young man devoid of understanding,

He witnessed it from his window with his own eyes, a youth, a young man, a simple young man.

The simple, in the Proverbs, refers to an open-minded person, open to anything; open to the voice and values of the current culture, they don’t know the Bible well enough to have developed a grid of theology from which they can test everything, they only have a worldly mentality, it’s a simplicity where their minds are so open that their brains fall out!

Solomon says, I saw it with my own eyes, a young man devoid of understanding.

Proverbs 7:8-9 (NKJV) Passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house 9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night.

He shouldn’t have been anywhere near there; he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time – it was twilight – which quickly turned into a black and dark night.

Proverbs 7:10-11 (NKJV) And there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. 11 Shewas loud and rebellious, her feet would not stay at home.

For any guy this is big-time bait; she’s dressed seductively, not just attractively.

It’s okay to look nice and neat, and attractive for your husband, but no, she’s dressed seductively. Nowadays it would be low top, showing lots of skin, tight clothes, short skirt, high heels – and it’s not just the clothes on the outside, it’s the heart on the inside – Solomon attributes to her a crafty heart. It has nothing to do with Pinterest, it has to do with, “I’m interested in making this man fall.” The adulterous lady who sees it as challenge and quite an accomplishment.

She’s out there, she’s out to get what she wants…she’s not a homebody.

Proverbs 7:12-17 (NKJV) At times she was outside, at times in the open square, lurking at every corner. 13 So she caught him and kissed him; with an impudent face she said to him: 14 “I have peace offerings with me; today I have paid my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I have found you. 16 I have spread my bed with tapestry, colored coverings of Egyptian linen. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

You’re in the wrong place, spiritually, and then geographically – the wrong place at the wrong time – it’s twilight, turning to a dark night (that city, that party, that vicinity, that website, that chat room, that person you don’t even know, and you’re falling in love through social media).

So it’s no surprise, she just caught him and kissed him – what’s a guy to do then?

She’s a believer because she has peace offerings, she’s paid her vows to God, not to men, not to her husband, but to God, that’s all that matters right.

And you’re the one.

She says, “I’ve been waiting for you, I came out to meet you, to seek you, and I’ve found you. Let me tell you a little bit about my bed, feels so good, it smells so good, tapestry, colored coverings, Egyptian linens – the perfume – the myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. It feels good, it smells good, it’s all good.”

And it’s crazy how affairs can happen, people you would have never thought, even they themselves thought it could never happen to me, leave the Lord, leave their families, never to return.

Single people with a calling on their lives – fall – and fall hard – only God knows if they’ll ever fully recover – it depends on the degree of their repentance. 

God can forgive anyone of anything but it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything goes back to what it was – it doesn’t usually work that way.

David’s life, David’s family changed, even though God forgave him. 

Psalm 99:8 (NLT) “O Lord our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them, but you punished them when they went wrong.”

In other words, there are consequences of forgiven sin, we do reap what we so (Galatians 6:7).

They say prevention is the best medicine. May it never happen to us. Stay pure, by staying powerful, don’t allow the immoral man or woman to convince you it’s love.

Proverbs 7:18 (NKJV) Come, let us take our fill of LOVE until morning; let us delight ourselves with LOVE.

It doesn’t matter how much he might make your heart pitter-patter, if that’s what he’s asking for, if that’s what he’s open to, if he wants that from you then he does not love you.

It’s lust, it’s flesh, it’s selfish, it’s sin, it’s not love.

And I don’t care how careful you, how smart you are, I promise, you’re gonna get caught, sooner or later. Even though the enemy will tell you, just this once – or we’ll do this and no one will ever have to know…eventually your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23).

She convinces this naïve young man.

Proverbs 7:19-21 (NKJV) For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; 20 He has taken a bag of money with him, and will come home on the appointed day.” 21 With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him. 22 Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, 23 Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it would cost his life.

I recently read a story of a man who was working out in the field with his wife, and he had to leave her and take care of some business, but the plans got changed, so he returned to the field, only to find his wife lying naked in the field with his cousin, so he took a machete and hacked him to death – this was in the Philippines.

I’m not saying it’s right…I’m just saying it happens.

Can you visualize an ox moseying on along to the slaughter house? Has no idea his neck is about to be slit.

A fool – excited about the crime – but on his way to doing time in prison.

The bird is hungry and in a hurry, doesn’t know the next stage is a cage.

What a fool, he did not know, it would cost his life.  Sometimes it’s literally, physically, other times circumstantially, life is now less than what it was supposed to be in the eyes of Almighty.

And the warnings continue – how many men (and women) are ruined by sexual sin!

The simple, the youth, men devoid of understanding. He got too close, she had a crafty heart; her paid peace offerings and vows made it seem like she was a believer…she even called it “love” (Proverbs 7:18). She guaranteed, no one will find out, her husband was away…and this fool was completely swept away…he did not know it would cost his life.

Over the years I’ve seen not only the guilty die, but I’ve seen it cost the lives of innocent victims. A wife who committed suicide, or a son who shot himself right in front of his father because his dad had an affair with his secretary.

To all who are reading this, I pray, we would not succumb to this sin, that we would flee it fast and hard, and die with integrity (Genesis 39:15; 2 Timothy 2:22).

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

Leave a Reply