(Today’s readings.. (Exodus 23), (Psalm 77), (Mark 9)
Joining hands, a handshake, is a physical sign of friendship, but Moses uses the term in a metaphysical sense in today’s Exodus reading (Chapter 23). This contains warnings about joining hands for bad reasons. Moses makes some down-to-earth statements of things that God sees as wrong, and did not want to see in his people that were being trained in the wilderness to become a nation. Several of the things we read about are part of life today as men and women act in devious ways to cheat and deceive one another; and much money is made by the legal profession as some try to put right the wrongs they see as being done to them.
”Now these are the rules you shall set before them,” God said to Moses [Ch.21 v.1] What if these rules were in place today! What about the kingdom age, what do we read in Isaiah! “When your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” [26 v.9] When we come to Psalm 96 we will read “ …he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.” [v.13] Now Paul made the point to the Corinthians, “do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?” [1 Cor. 6 v.2] Paul made another thought challenging point in writing to the Hebrews, he warned those who had “shared in the Holy Spirit,” that they “have tasted … the powers of the age to come…” [6 v.4,5] and that they must not abuse this privilege. What cause for our heart-felt contemplation here! Consider the role of the saints in the kingdom! Your role – the powers you will have?!
Back to our Exodus chapter, here is a sample of the kind of rules that will be in place in the kingdom. We read, “You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice” [23 v.1-2].
When Jesus said that we should love our enemies (Matt. 5 v.44), he surely had in mind things which Moses had said – as we read today, “If you meet your enemies ox or his donkey going astray you shall bring it back to him” [v.4] But can you make people “love” one another? Why will there be a rebellion at the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ? Rev. ch. 20 v.9 tells us that “they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints” ! Imagine the cause, the total frustration of many, their desire to “join hands” to do as they please!
Let us fully develop a true sense of God’s righteousness now in readiness for the role he will, by his grace, expect us to carry out in his kingdom.