In today’s passage we get a lot more laws that no longer seem to apply to us. Few of us are still farmers and go around lending our livestock to neighbours. But there are some themes that come up through these rules.
Note the punishment for many of the crimes. It usually involves repaying the victim of the crime, making what was wrong right. If someones steals something they are to give it back and some.
There is no jail time in these Ancient Israelite laws. You do something wrong; you make amends for it. If the crime is severe enough, you are removed from the community, either through exile or through death.
A few times we are called not to oppress or take advantage of others. Specific groups that are mentioned are the poor, the widow, the fatherless (orphan), and foreigners. Basically, anyone who is marginalised is society. We are called to support these groups, to bring them in so that they feel part of the community.
There’s a fair bit on honesty. Honesty in our dealing with others. Honesty in not spreading lies or rumours about people. Honesty in not telling a lie to protect someone who is guilty. Honesty is the foundation of a healthy community. Without honesty, there can be no trust, and without trust a community cannot work together.
There are rules on the Sabbath and annual festivals. These are to help us get into healthy rhythms. We make space for rest. We also put aside regular time where we remember and celebrate all that God has done.
Having unpacked the rules for the people to follow, God reaffirms what he is going to do. He is going to go ahead them and protect them from enemies that would attack them. He is going to bring them into a promised land and expand their borders.
With the expectations laid out for both sides, the people make a commitment to this Covenant, this relationship with God. They will follow all the rules and they will be his people. As a sign of this covenant, God allows the leaders of Israel to enter his presence and eat a meal with him.
The idea of eating a meal might seem strange, but we read how Abraham did the same back in Genesis 18:1-8. We’ll see this theme appear again in Leviticus.
This psalm falls into the category of a royal psalm, (see Psalm 18, 45, 72, 110, 144 for examples of other royal psalms). Royal psalms are psalms that are focused on either God as king or on a human king. If Psalm 23 celebrates God as a shepherd, Psalm 24 celebrates him as king.
It is likely that this psalm was used as liturgy in a worship service. As the people got ready to enter God’s presence, they reminded themselves who it was they were coming before.
Psalm 24:1-2 - The Lord is creator of all the earth
Psalm 24:3-6 - Those who are pure may enter his presence
Psalm 24:7-10 - The Lord is the King of Glory
If there is a king, then there is a kingdom. This psalm opens by establishing the boundaries of God’s kingdom. In short, there are none. When it comes to God, all the earth is his kingdom. Everything in it belongs to him.
When faced with such a mighty king who can enter his presence? In the same way that someone cannot just walk up to the queen, or the President of the United States, there are expectations on entering God’s presence. Those that enter God’s presence must be of pure heart and committed to truth. Those that meet this requirement will be blessed and made righteous before God.
Now ready to enter God’s presence, the psalm builds to bring praise to God. Not only is he king over all the earth, he is a strong and mighty king. So make way for him and allow him to enter.
Much like Psalm 15, Psalm 24 seeks to remind us of the awesomeness of God, so that we never take the fact that we can enter into his presence lightly.
Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.
This Bible study devotional covers Exodus chapters 21-24. Here we see God’s desire for justice and equity in the first parts of the Law expanding on the Ten Commandments.
As always, we are committed to showing you how Jesus fulfills these specific passages. In Exodus 21-24, we see that Jesus perfectly embodies God’s desire for justice and is transforming those who believe in him into that same embodiment.
The Naked Bible Podcast is for those that want intense Bible study. Be warned, many will find these podcasts go too deep for them. There are six episodes, averaging an hour each, covering these four chapters. But for those that persevere this will be a rich source of teaching for you.Check the podcast out here
Understanding the context of your passage is always important. BibleProject always do an incredible job of breaking down each book so you can see how your passage fits into the wider story.
BibleProject have done an animated recap of Exodus 1-18 to help you fit today's passage into the overarching story of Exodus.
Spoken Gospel outlines the book of Exous and point out some of the key themes, all in the medium of spoken word.