The Limits of Freedom
Book of Exodus Chapters 23 and 24
We should understand that our freedom is a gift from Jehovah! The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall “make” you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Remember our Lord is also our Creator!
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
By nature we are in bondage to sin.
By “Grace” through “Faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are made free from sin!
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
So, there must be limits to our freedom.
We must understand Jehovah will exalt any nation that diligently listens to His voice.
We can understand that voice as the words that Jehovah gave to all the writers of the Scriptures of which we have a copy.
Deu 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
Deu 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
It is the blessings of Jehovah that become reality when we love the Lord Jesus Christ!
Psa 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
We are foolish if we cannot see that Jehovah has removed His hand of blessing from the United States of America, because so many have rejected the voice of the Lord.
You see it does not matter what national laws that exist if those laws are not written according to the voice of God, what we call the Bible.
Not just any book called a Bible, but a Bible that is written according to the received text, the true Greek, and Hebrew Scriptures.
Our freedom must be limited according to the laws of Jehovah!
It is critical to our eternal life that we follow the voice of God!
False religion, false gods, false worship, will cause us to miss the benefits of living with the Almighty Living God!
*Exo 23:10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:
Exo 23:11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.
Exo 23:12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
We hear so much about climate change today. It is mentioned in every conversation and every news broadcast.
We should have listened to the voice of Jehovah on how to take care of our lands.
In our last lesson we talked about a Sabbath Day so now let us see as our God talks about a Sabbath Year.
We all certainly know that without farmers there would be no real food for anyone. Few of us own enough land to grow food to meet all our needs.
Jehovah told the children of Israel that once they entered into the Promised Land, the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, that every seventh year was to be a Sabbath Year and the land was to rest.
Before Israel was allowed to reclaim that land in 1948, we know there was nothing more than a piece of desert where no crops could grow.
Today we see just how fertile that land truly is.
Every seventh year the land was to be unplowed and unused.
This is where crop rotation had its beginning.
That same land left untouched would still feed the poor and the animals.
Why would Jehovah do such a thing? No other nation did such a thing.
Many a farmer today have learned the hard way of the problems of overusing the land.
They plowed too deeply.
They destroyed soil nutrients:
They failed to rotate crops.
The children of Israel did not know about such things, so they had to be taught and their teacher was Jehovah.
This lesson for the land was not the only lesson that was taught.
They had a need to learn compassion because Jehovah is a compassionate God.
Whatever this land produced in the Sabbatical Year was to be shared!
We know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Lord of life!
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and “the life”: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So, this was not just a time to allow the land to rest, it was also a time to get closer to the Lord.
Deu 31:10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles,
Deu 31:11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.
Deu 31:12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:
Deu 31:13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
There was to be a special time of worship.
There was to be a time of reading and studying the Word of God.
Remember Moses had written down everything that Jehovah had said.
The key to this worship was learning how to follow the Lord and to live as He commanded!
What do we know? We know that Israel failed to keep this Sabbatical Year for at least 490 years and God allowed Babylon to remove Israel from that land and the land laid at rest for 70 years.
2Ch 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
We can see that the Word of God is to be obeyed including to allow the land to have her rest every Sabbath Year.
We must understand that God knows what He is doing all the time, and nothing ever surprises Jehovah!
Joshua reminded these children of Israel the importance of the Word of God as they entered the Promised Land.
Jos 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
And according to the Word of God, we must never turn our backs on those who are poor in worldly things and also those who are poor in the knowledge of Jehovah God.
And again we see that a day of rest is emphasized.
And there was to be no talk about false gods.
*Exo 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
To be circumspect is to reverence the Word of God, guard it as the truth, be obedient.
That word circumspect means to be cautious, carefully examining all the circumstances that affect our lives.
These children of Israel would have to admit they had seen some of the awesome power of God and those false gods of Egypt had done nothing for them except to place them in bondage.
God decided that they needed a law concerning false gods.
1) They must obey Jehovah.
2) They must not call on false gods.
In fact the names of false gods must never be heard from their lips.
It is no different for us today. We are to obey all the Word of God, rightly divided.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Today we should lean on that phrase “What Would Jesus Do” being cautious in every situation that we face in this world.
We must be fully awake to the importance of the Word of God!
We should give no thought to false gods they are fantasies that deserve no mention. By the way this includes Allah, and Budha and all others!
We must be careful to remember the commandments of God and do them!
Eph 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
We must spend time with our Lord!
*Exo 23:14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
Exo 23:15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
Exo 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
Exo 23:17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.
Three times each year each male of a certain age was to make the journey to the Tabernacle.
No matter where they were nor how far away, they were, they were commanded to appear before Jehovah.
By reading the Scriptures we know that most of them took their families with them as they traveled to the Tabernacle and later to the Temple.
They were to thank the Lord for their bountiful harvest.
They were to praise the Lord for His deliverance.
They were to never come before the Lord empty handed.
**The “Feast of Unleavened Bread” began with the Passover.
The Passover commemorates God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt.
The Passover meal commemorates the deliverance of the children of Israel from slavery.
The annual Passover was a memorial to these truths, but they were also symbolic.
A memorial in memory of that first Passover night in Egypt.
Symbolic because its ultimate fulfillment was at Mount Calvary, where the lamb of God (Jesus Christ) took away the sin of this entire world in all its Ages.
Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
1Co 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
On that first Passover Jehovah revised the Hebrew calendar.
On Mount Calvary the Lord Jesus Christ revised the calendar that the world still uses today.
Today the Jews use two calendars:
Their legal documents are dated by the Civil Calendar.
Al religious events are dated by the Sacred Calendar.
This first feast began with Passover, but it continued for seven days.
They worshipped Jehovah on the first day and again on the last day.
The unleavened bread reminded then to flee from slavery not even taking the time for the leaven to cause the bread to rise.
Notice also that Jehovah said no man was to appear before Him empty handed, but this offering was to still be a freewill offering.
Jehovah had done far too much for this people for them to offer nothing!
Deu 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
**There was then the Feast of the Harvest:
This Feast is also called the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, or the Latter First fruits.
This Feast commemorates the “Giving of the Law” to the children of Israel and these laws were given to the Children of Israel.
We need to rightly divide the Scriptures to know which laws affect which people.
The three groups in the world are the Jews, the Church, and those who are Lost and without the Lord Jesus.
It was a time to present an offering of the new grain of the summer harvest to the Lord.
This Feast is tied to the Ten Commandments.
We are always to thank Jehovah for the harvest He gives to us, for the income and blessings He pours out upon us, and the offerings due to Him!
Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
**There was the Feast of Ingathering:
Also called the Feast of Tabernacles because the people were commanded to make small booths or lean-toos to live in during the time of this feast.
This feast was to remind them of that 40-year journey to the Promised Land.
This Feast celebrated the harvest of the grape vines and orchards and lasted for seven or eight days.
Neh 8:17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
Neh 8:18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.
We can see that the Children of Israel were lax at keeping these feasts.
Jehovah demanded the observance of these feasts:
1) To bring these people together in the spirit of unity and oneness to build a strong, unified nation.
2) To show the people the great blessings of Jehovah, His deliverance, and His guidance day by day.
3) To cause this people to give thanks, to praise Jehovah and to give their tithes and offerings to Him.
Today, the Church can grow through our association with other true believers.
When we surround ourselves with other Christian believers we benefit from their wisdom and counsel.
Pro 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
We benefit from encouragement and edification.
We benefit from encouragement and edification.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
We benefit from safety and protection.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
We benefit from unity and a common purpose.
Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
We benefit from worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ with like-minded people!
Php 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
Php 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Jehovah had these same intentions for these Children of Israel!
*Exo 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.
Exo 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
You see, the Lord genuinely wants us to know about Him!
The Lord wants us to understand why His Word involves commandments and not suggestions!
This group of people did not think the Word of God was too harsh and they all agreed they needed to be obedient to the Word of God.
Jehovah is seeking a people committed to being obedient to all the things He says, and it is really not that hard.
We must overcome the pull of our own flesh to do terrible things that go against the Word of God!
Moses declared all the things of Chapter 19 and all the things of Chapters 21 through 23 and these people agreed that they needed to be obedient to all the Word of God.
These were the laws that were to govern their nation and they agreed that these were good laws.
This is the one thing that Jehovah wants from us all, “obedience”!
Deu 5:29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
For a brief period of time all of Israel was in one mind and one accord with Jehovah God.
*Exo 24:5 And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD.
Exo 24:6 And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar.
Exo 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.
Moses sealed this agreement with Jehovah and now the Mosaic Covenant was made.
Remember a covenant is a mutual agreement between two parties with each bound to fulfill certain agreements.
Moses wrote down all the words of this covenant so everyone could see what this agreement consisted of.
It was then that all people needed to study the Word of God so we could know this agreement.
2Ti 2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Moses sealed this agreement by making it public.
Moses built an altar to sacrifice unto the Lord, a blood sacrifice.
In the Old Testament, to approach God required a sacrifice.
The burnt offering was a freewill offering.
The animal had to be a clean animal. Free from defects.
The blood of that animal was a substitute.
So we know all these sacrifices pointed these children of Israel to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
When Moses read all the Word of God to the people, he was giving them the words they had committed themselves to, so there would be no confusion.
We know that in order to keep the Laws of God, we need to hear God’s Word over and over again!
These children of Israel needed to learn those Ten Commandments.
They needed to base their civil laws upon that Word of God.
Moses then sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice upon the people saying this blood confirms this covenant between them and Jehovah God.
Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
Jehovah is very serious concerning the covenants He makes with any and all people!
We have come to understand the Laws of Moses as a symbol of a schoolmaster who brings us to the Lord Jesus Christ!