Read Exodus 23
Laws instituted; three annual Feasts (Festivals) required, which must be kept; angel promised for a guide; instructions for Tabernacle furnishings. Confirming the Covenant (Ex. 24:4-8). God desires to dwell with His children, to commune with them (25:8,22).
How easy but sinful it is to spread gossip! Of all sins, some of the vilest are committed with the tongue. Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest (pervert) judgment (Ex. 23:1-2). This means more than repeating gossip or slander. The Hebrew word also means that a person should refuse to even listen to slander. A talebearer revealth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter (Prov. 11:13).
God alone determines what is acceptable conduct as well as acceptable worship to Him. God says that anyone who uttereth a slander (repeats an ill report or accusation), is a fool (10:18) and the one who repeateth a matter separateth very (close) friends (17:9).
Slander is perhaps the easiest, most subtle sin a person commits; yet, it is so wicked that it is listed with the seven most abominable sins that God hates: These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (6:16-19).
By gossiping, some have not only destroyed the good reputation of others but their own usefulness to God as well. The Bible says: If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. . . . The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity . . . it defileth the whole body . . . and it is set on fire of (from) hell. . . . it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. . . . Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. . . . the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 1:26; 3:6,8,13,17).
Thought for Today:
These . . . things doth the Lord hate . . . he that soweth discord among brethren (Prov. 6:16,19).
As the Ark of the Covenant (Testimony). The wood demonstrated His humanity; the gold overlay represented His deity. Only through His blood sprinkled on the Ark could one receive forgiveness. God dwelt above the Mercy Seat (Ex. 25:10-22). Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He (Jesus) entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).
23:2 neither . . . decline after many to wrest judgement won't side with the majority to pervert justice; 23:5 forbear to help him refuse to help him; 23:8 gift bribe; 23:13 be circumspect pay strict attention; 23:23 cut them off utterly destroy them; 23:31 bounds boundaries; sea of the Philistines Mediterranean Sea; the river the Euphrates River; 24:11 laid not his hand did not strike down; 25:22 commune speak.
Pray for Staff: Pam Pendergrast • Government Officials: Gov. Chet Culver (IA) and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ) • Country: Sierra Leone (5 million) in western Africa • Major language: English • Increasing restrictions on Christian work in some areas • 50% belief in river spirits, medicine men, and witchcraft; 39% Muslim; 7% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Pray for the Lord to give you the right words to share Christ with others (Matt. 10:18-20).
Optional Reading: Matthew 25
Memory Verse for the Week: Proverbs 30:5