"You are my portion, O LORD; I have said that I would keep Your words." Psalm 119:57
Text: Exodus 23 : 19
THE GIVING OF GOD’S COMMANDMENTS TO ISRAEL
How would God have given His laws to Moses? If we were to look at the Decalogue, we would note that God would have done the following:-
1. Orderly arrangement
2. Clear and concise
3. Explanatory notes where it was deemed necessary
HOW DO WE UNDERSTAND “STAND-ALONE STATEMENTS”?
As we study Exodus, we will come across statements that seemed to “stand alone”. The following text may be seen as an example of such statements.
“The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring
into the house of the LORD your God.
You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
How should we interpret such texts? The following considerations may help us in our attempt to comprehend the Biblical text:-
1. They represent answers to questions
As God spoke to Moses, we must expect that he raised up questions. He would need to clarify what God said and meant! However, these questions were not articulated in print. We only have “answers”. We can only guess at the questions that may have been raised up.
2. They represent emphasis
The statement concerning the bringing of the “first of the firstfruits…into the house of the Lord” would be best understood as “emphasis”. Did God really want the first of the firstfruits? The answer was “YES!” God wanted the first of the firstfruits!
3. Some degree of difficulty
Some statements are more difficult to comprehend than others. This text, about “not boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk” is a good example of “stand-alone statements”.
A study of religious practices in the region noted that some pagan rituals require an offering of young goats boiled in milk. Israel had been given clear commands as to how worship was to be offered. The nation must not presume to follow the practices of other religions! The significance of this prohibition was aimed at preserving the purity of Israel’s worship! God’s commandments were to be obeyed in its entirety, and not compromised at any time!