Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
K. God's Elaboration And Application Of The Ten Commandments
11. God's Elaboration On His Commands On Idolatry Relative To The Annual Feasts
(Exodus 23:14-19)
  1. Introduction
    1. God was jealous for His people's devotion, that they look to Him alone as their God, Exodus 20:3-6.
    2. Well, the DEPTH of that DESIRE of God's is seen in the way God EXTENDED the theme begun in His extension of the weekly Sabbath rule in establishing Israel's three major annual feasts (as follows):
  2. God's Elaboration On His Commands On Idolatry Relative To The Annual Feasts, Exodus 23:14-19.
    1. After giving Moses the Ten Commandments, God enlarged and applied them in Israel's life so that there would be no possible misunderstanding as to what He meant by them, and this elaboration is known as the "Book of the Covenant" in Exodus 20:22-24:11, Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, p. 140.
    2. The eleventh part of that "Book of the Covenant", Exodus 23:14-19 reveals via cultural and Biblical contexts God's great desire that His people look to Him as their God versus any other god (as follows):
      1. We learned in our last lesson that God broadened the Sabbath DAY command to lead Israel to rest every seventh YEAR from working the land for crops : He as God of all creation would supply double the produce in the sixth year to keep Israel fed the next two years until the crops of the first year were harvested, Exodus 23:10-11 (Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Ex. 23:10-11).
      2. We also learned that instead of dreading a lack of prosperity on each week's seventh day like the pagans (Bruce K. Waltke, Creation and Chaos, p. 65), Israel was to rest joyfully not only on these days, but all seventh year long due to the evidence of God's PAST double crop supply in the sixth year!
      3. To emphasize this reality further, God instituted Israel's three key annual feasts (as follows):
        1. God instituted (1) the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the time of barley harvest in April (Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 144; Ex. 23:15a), (2) the Feast of Harvest [Firstfruits or Pentecost] when the wheat harvest started (Ex. 23:16a; Ibid.) and (3) the Feast of Ingathering [Tabernacles or Booths] at the close of all the year's harvests (Exodus 23:16b; Ibid.).
        2. At each feast, all Israel's male "breadwinners" were to come to the tabernacle bearing gifts of their harvests in recognition of their dependence upon God for these harvests, Exodus 23:14, 15b, 17.
        3. The Feast of Unleavened Bread recalled God's redemption of Israel from Egypt that gave Israel's men the right to be in Canaan and to have a job with income (Ex. 23:15b), and the feasts of Harvest and Ingathering recalled that from the start (Feast of Harvest) to the end (Feast of Ingathering) of all their job ventures, Israel's "breadwinners" were at the mercy of God for income blessings! (Ibid.)
        4. So, as Israel had to trust God's future provision that followed the land Sabbaths as based on His past, double yield of crops each sixth year, these three additional feasts taught that God wanted Israel's "breadwinners" ALL YEAR LONG in EVERY YEAR to recall how UTTERLY DEPENDENT they were on Him for ALL of their INCOME!
        5. Thus, God VERY MUCH wanted His people to realize they were to look to Him ALONE for all their provisions as OPPOSED to seeking security in any other source or god!
      4. Exodus 23:18-19 completes this emphasis for Israel to trust God versus any other god by calling Israel to worship God wholeheartedly: (a) the Exodus 23:18a prohibition on leaven shows the need for Israel to be totally separate from sin (especially idolatry) in worshipping God; (b) the Exodus 23:18b call for the sacrificial fat to be fully burned up signifies wholehearted devotion to the Lord (versus half-hearted devotion that left room for devotion to false gods); (c) the Exodus 23:19a call to bring the first of the firstfruits to God recalled that God (versus any other source) caused Israel's income and (c) the Exodus 23:19b word not to boil a kid in its mother's milk [probably] countered pagan fertility cults, Ibid .
Lesson: To AUGMENT the lesson of the land Sabbaths, God instituted the three feasts of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and Ingathering to show how MUCH every Hebrew "breadwinner" needed HIM for ALL of their employment success, that they seek NO competing god for security in their lives on earth!

Application: May our ONLY PRACTICAL Security and Source of blessing in life be God Himself!