Wow…I got way too wordy. My three quick thoughts at the end of Episode 24 of the podcast morphed into this blog post. So make sure you listen before reading and this will be more meaningful.
First, I think we really begin to appreciate just how big and powerful our God is in Exodus. He is not like us. Later in the year, we’ll read that God tells Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your way My ways.” Yes, we are made in His image…we can reason and love. But as my pastor says, do not be too casual with God. He is, after all, God.
Second, we read here, and will read many times in the future, the term ‘fear God.’ Again, it would be super-helpful if we knew ancient Hebrew and Greek, but alas, we don’t. So, I feel the need to point out that when you read this, think reverence God and respect God. I don’t know why translators don’t just say reverence since the word fear has so many more implications but they don’t.
Bunch of Rules
Finally, this and the next three-plus chapters is where many readers will start to say that God just wants us to follow a bunch of rules and is waiting for us to mess up. I want you to keep in mind two things. First, He loves us. If we were to write down all the rules and guidelines that we give our kids and write it down all in one place, it would look pretty bossy too. “Thou shalt not run out into the street.” “Thou shalt share with your little brother.” “Thou shalt eat your broccoli.” You get my point. He cares. But there is something else going on here too.
This people had just come from a culture that was very pagan and that used many occult practices. The Egyptians also had many gods. Heck, they had a god for everything. That’s a big no-no with God. He’s the only One. Capital G. He doesn’t share His Number One position with anything or anybody or play nice with others who think they are gods. So when we read a rule like don’t boil a baby goat in it’s mother’s milk and are more than a little confused, don’t be. It was probably a pagan practice that He was putting His foot down on. Remember too, that it was very much His intention that the Israelites look different than all the other nations solely because they were His chosen people. That’s what the word ‘holy’ means – set apart.
You and I as Christ-followers are to look different than the world too. Some of the things that we hold dear, like not sleeping in on Sundays and being driven crazy by kids at Vacation Bible School look pretty weird to today’s world too.