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February 19, Day #50 – “Let Him Hear …”



In Exodus 23-24, Moses continues to present various laws relating to justice and showing mercy to others. In verse 1, he says, “Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.” As we saw yesterday in our readings from Mark 2-3, it’s possible for us to increase additional wickedness to existing wickedness by supporting others – whether knowingly or unknowingly – in their wicked ways. This calls for discernment – we must be judicious in our associations. “Do not follow the crowd” (verse 2) is excellent advice. Where crowds gather, there is opportunity for temptation. Interestingly, the law here calls for the Israelites to “help” their enemy “if his donkey wanders off” (verse 4). Other issues addressed in this chapter include extending justice, not taking bribes, treating aliens fairly, and showing proper respect for sabbath laws. The chapter also introduces the three major feasts for the nation – Unleavened Bread or Passover (verse 15); Harvest or Feast of Weeks (verse 16); and Ingathering or Feast of Tabernacles (verse 17). Reading chapter 24 in Exodus, we particularly note the Israelite renewal of God’s covenant of law. Twice – the Israelites assert again that they “will do everything the LORD has said” – the second time – with a promise to “obey” (cf., verses 3 and 7). We need to remember and understand three things about this renewal: [1] The Israelites already promised to do this back in Exodus 19. [2] As we pointed out before, no one can keep the law (cf., Romans 3:20-23). [3] The Israelites actually agreed to keep the covenant (i.e., the law), before they even knew what it was (cf., Exodus 19-20). From God’s perspective, this was not a wise response.


Psalm 22:23-28 tells those of us who “fear the LORD” to “praise Him - honor Him - and revere Him” because “dominion - and rule over the nations - belong to the LORD” (verse 28). This is reality (whether we as humans like it or not). The implication is that we need to so order our lives that we might properly recognize the reality that confronts us and then bring our wills into conformity with it. As human beings, we are incapable of altering the laws of reality. Verse 29 says that “all will worship and kneel before Him - those who cannot keep themselves alive.” To whom among us does this not apply? In reality, who is able to “keep himself alive?” Apart from God’s merciful care and superintendence, no one. Every human being draws breath (and all other forms of sustenance) only because God allows it, ordains it, and provides it. All the effort in all the universe cannot help me to breathe just one more breath of air past the last breath that God allows. Even inhalation requires effort (i.e., work), but exhalation does not. Psalm 22 shows how inextricably we are linked to our Creator. In verse 31, we are a part of the people who were then as “yet unborn.” What a beautiful verse that declares “He has done it!” to future generations - including ours and those yet come (cf., John 17:20). Because of Jesus’s sacrifice for us, and His complete righteousness that took the place of our sin, we know that “He has done it!” and we will never have to. Praise God for this!


In Mark 3:31 - Mark 4:29, again we see Jesus with his family, followed by the parable of the Sower. As we mentioned in our readings of Matthew 12-13, Jesus is introducing here the new relationships that characterize the kingdom, and the nature of those in whose hearts the gospel seed is sown. Jesus addresses a lamp that is placed on a stand to reveal that which is “hidden or concealed” (verse 22). The gospel is like a lamp that exposes the darkness, and its purpose is to shine in the darkness. Jesus makes the statement, “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear” (verse 23). To whom does this not apply? The gospel is for everyone. Jesus warns us to “consider carefully what you hear” (verse 24). We saw in Matthew 25, a parallel passage, that “even when we have nothing, it can be taken from us (Mark 4:25; cf., also see comments at Matthew 25:29). Mark closes out this section with Jesus’ parable of the seed – describing what the kingdom is like. Jesus says that the farmer who plants the seed and sees its results “does not know how the seed sprouts and grows” (verse 27). Like the farmer and according to the same mystery, we see the results of God’s Word – planted in the hearts of men – but how does it work? We don’t know. God only reveals that His work is a mystery for us (cf., Isaiah 55:8-11; Habakkuk 1:5).


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