Exodus 23:18      

 

 

 

The Bible says in Exodus 23:18-19, “Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning. The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.” God gave instructions concerning the sacrifices that the children of Israel would offer up to God. Remember that these sacrifices taught a lesson. They taught a lesson that sin has a price to pay. They taught a lesson that to be forgiven of one’s sins, there needs to be a substitute. Of course, the greatest lesson of all for these sacrifices is that they symbolized what Jesus would do when He died for us on the cross of Calvary. The first requirement for these sacrifices is that there can not be leavened bread offered with the sacrifices. That is because leaven is symbolic of sin, and in order to be forgiven of our sins we must repent and turn away from sin. Jesus said in Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

 

The second thing that was said about the animal sacrifices in the last part of Exodus 23:18 is, “neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.” In other words the sacrifice was totally consumed. Nothing of it was left. Remember that the sacrifice symbolized a substitute for sin, and sin brings death and destruction. The picture of the total destruction of the sacrifice was a reminder of the consequences of sin. As it says in Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap

 

The third thing said about the animal sacrifices is found in Exodus 23:19 that says, “The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God.” God wanted the Israelites to bring the “first” of all their animals for the sacrifice. In other words God wanted them to bring something that was valuable and important to them. After all, the Lord God would give His only begotten Son. As it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Some Christian parents never give up their children to God’s will. Some hold onto their children in a rather strange self-willed emotional way all the way to the grave. Such parents must have never read Exodus 23:19 that says to give the “firstfruits” to the Lord. God gave His Son for us. Cannot we give our children for Him?

 

The last thing said about animal sacrifices in these verses is found in the second part of Exodus 23:19 that says, “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.” This verse indicates to the Israelites that even though they are told to make animal sacrifices, they should still have a proper respect for animals. Cruelty to animals is certainly not condoned. Animals have a purpose in God’s plan for the world.

 

The Bible says in Exodus 23:20-23, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.” The word “angel” literally means “messenger.” Therefore, the word “angel” can accurately be used of anyone who is a messenger. Of course, the word is often used to refer to an angelic being. Interestingly, in the Bible the word can refer to Jesus Christ Himself, especially in the Old Testament. Jesus is the manifestation of God. That is why Jesus is called the Word of God. Words are used to communicate. Jesus is also called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Jesus is also the Jehovah of the Old Testament. We know this to be true because Jesus equated Himself to Jehovah when Jesus said in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus called Himself the Great I AM. The Jews listening to him had no doubt that He was doing so, and that is why they took up stones to kill Him. Because of the meaning of the word “angel,” the context where the word is used has to be carefully examined to try and determine if the “angel” refers to a human being, an angelic being, or to Jesus. 

 

There is some evidence that the angel being referred to in Exodus 23:20-23 is actually one of the Old Testament appearances of Jesus. The primary reason to think this is because of the phrase in Exodus 23:21 where God says, “my name is in him.” Names are important in the Bible. The only one who has the name of God is God Himself. Because Jesus is God, He is qualified to have the name of God in Him. John 1:1 says about Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Bible says about the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1:23, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us

 

Some of the characteristics ascribed to the angel in Exodus chapter 23 are characteristics possessed by God. Two of these things are said about the angel in Exodus 23:20. He will “keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Notice what God will do for His children. He will “keep thee,” and He will “bring thee.” To keep means to guard and to protect. To bring refers to guiding and leading a believer. Who can protect you so well as the all-powerful God? We definitely need to also have God’s leading in this world. There are mine fields and pitfalls that only He can see. It is interesting that these two truths concerning God’s protection and His leading are found in the 23rd Psalm. It says in Psalms 23:1-6, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever

 

A very interesting statement about the Angel of Exodus chapter 23 is found in Exodus 23:21. It says, “Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.” Only God has the power to pardon sins, and therefore this is another indication that the Angel is Jesus. Of course, we know that Jesus is all about forgiving sins. Why does this verse say that He will not pardon your sins? I think it is because we are in the Old Testament, and in Exodus chapter 23 we are being told the consequences of not obeying the law. The law is unforgiving. The law demands total obedience. The law makes no allowance for failure. That is why the coming of Jesus in the first century was so important for all of us sinners. Jesus came to pay the price for sin. Jesus came to fulfill the law. We can not obtain righteousness by law, but we can obtain righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. What a blessed plan God put together so that we could be justified through faith in Christ. Being born-again through faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to be acceptable to God and to be accepted into heaven. That is why Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:7, “Ye must be born again.” The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” And Paul also wrote in Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain

 

When the Israelites were about to enter into the Promised Land, they were told in Exodus 23:24-25 in reference to the ungodly people who were already living in the land of Canaan, “Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. 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.” There are several important spiritual principles found in these two verses of the Bible. The first is that those who serve God should learn how and when to be separate from the wicked people of the world. If you are a Christian, this principle of separation needs to be a part of your life in this world. We must learn to be “in the world, but not of the world.” Christians are told very clearly in Second Corinthians 6:14-17, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” You must learn how to show Christian love for the unbeliever without getting involved in any sinful activity that they might be doing. In order to do that there must be a certain amount of separation from them. The point being made in Second Corinthians chapter six is that you are already separated from them spiritually speaking, and therefore you must make sure that you are also separated from any sinful activities. That is why the Lord said in verse 17, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.”

 

Exodus 23:25 gives the key to success in this world. It says, “And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water.” One of the goals in life is to accomplish your best: to make your best effort and to get the best results possible from your endeavors. To do so would be fulfillment in life. The truth is that the only way that you can do that is by enlisting God’s help. In other words you must have God’s blessings upon your efforts. You are not just flesh and blood. You are also a spiritual being, and you must be in tune with the Spirit of God in order to be a complete person and in order to have the best results that you are capable of. That is how life was meant to be lived: you in partnership with God through faith in Christ. That is the way it was in the Garden of Eden, and that is certainly the way it will be in heaven. The Bible says that it can be that way in this life too.

 

In the last part of Exodus 23:25 God said, “I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” Of course, we are now on the subject of health. How do you get healthy and how do you stay healthy. Do not minimize the need to stay rightly related to God in order to have the best physical health that you can. Because you are both a physical and a spiritual being, your spiritual condition can and will affect your physical condition. Sometimes the best way to get healthy is first of all to get spiritually healthy: get rightly related to Jesus Christ through the confession of sin. Jesus certainly can heal any of your diseases. In Mark 2:9-11 Jesus said, “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house

 

If you are sick, you always want to make sure that your sins are confessed because un-confessed sin might be the cause of your malady. The Bible says in First Corinthians 11:30-32, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” But we do not want to make the mistake of thinking that sin is the only reason for disease. There can be other reasons that are purely medical and biological and that have some purpose in the will of God. This truth is said very clearly in the following passage. It says in John 9:1-14, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.” If you are sick, confess your sins and get the best medical help possible. That way you will do everything that you can both spiritually and physically to find healing.

 

How fortunate we are to have a Savior who forgives our sins and heals our diseases.            

 

 

 

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Copyright; 2010 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved