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Exodus 34.17-26-Renewal Of The Covenant With Decalogue Of Sample Laws

Exodus Chapters 33-40  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:17:02
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Journey Through The Bible Series: Exodus 34:17-26-Renewal Of The Covenant With A Decalogue Of Sample Laws-Lesson # 58


Wenstrom Bible Ministries

Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom

Sunday October 28, 2012

Journey Through The Bible Series: Exodus 34:17-26-Renewal Of The Covenant With A Decalogue Of Sample Laws

Lesson # 58

Please turn in your Bibles to Exodus 34:17.

Exodus 34:17 “You shall make for yourself no molten gods. 18 You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt. 19 The first offspring from every womb belongs to Me, and all your male livestock, the first offspring from cattle and sheep. 20 You shall redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. You shall redeem all the firstborn of your sons. None shall appear before Me empty-handed. 21 You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest. 22 You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks, that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year. 23 Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. 24 For I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your borders, and no man shall covet your land when you go up three times a year to appear before the Lord your God. 25 You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread, nor is the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover to be left over until morning. 26 You shall bring the very first of the first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” (NASB95)

In verse 17, the Lord prohibits the Israelites from making cast idols, which reiterates in abbreviated form the commandment that appears in Exodus 20:4 and addresses the Israelites’ relationship with Yahweh and is a prohibition against the practice of idolatry.

In Exodus 34:18, the Lord repeats almost verbatim the command which appears in Exodus 23:15, which required that the Israelites observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the month of Abib (March-April) about the time of the barley harvest.

The observance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is first mentioned in Exodus 12:17 and was to be a national celebration of Israel’s redemption from Egypt.

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were closely connected and constituted a single unit.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was to be for seven days according to Exodus 12:15, from the fifteenth to the twenty-first of the month (Lev. 23:6; Num. 28:17).

The removal of leaven from each home signifies the removal of evil and speaks of sanctification.

In Exodus 34:19, the Lord’s command reiterates His command in Exodus 13:2 and 22:29.

Since the Lord spared the firstborn children of the Israelites and the firstborn of their flocks, the Israelites were obligated to dedicate to the Lord their firstborn children and those from their flocks.

Exodus 34:20 records the Lord reiterating His command which appears in Exodus 13:13.

The first offspring of a donkey was to be redeemed with a lamb and if it was not redeemed its neck was to be broken.

Donkeys were considered ceremonially unclean animals (Leviticus 11:2-4), thus they could not be sacrificed but they could be redeemed by a lamb.

The firstborn of man was to be redeemed as well and Numbers 18:15-16 teaches that the firstborn of man was to be redeemed by their fathers and the redemption price was five shekels in silver.

Since the Lord spared the firstborn children of the Israelites and the firstborn of their flocks in Egypt, the Israelites were obligated to dedicate to the Lord their firstborn children and those from their flocks.

The last command which appears in Exodus 34:20 which requires the Israelites to not appear before the Lord empty-handed reiterates the last command which appears in Exodus 23:15.

By obeying this command, the Israelites would be demonstrating their loyalty to the Lord by coming to worship Him with a gift rather than having nothing to offer Him.

Then, in Exodus 34:21, the Lord summarizes at the beginning of the verse His command to observe the Sabbath, which appears in Exodus 20:9-11, which also reiterates His detailed instructions regarding the Sabbath in Exodus 16.

Now, in Exodus 34:21, in addition to the command to observe the Sabbath every seventh day, the Lord adds the phrase “even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.”

The Lord issues this warning because it would be a temptation for an Israelite farmer to set aside the observance of the Sabbath during the periods of the year when they are planting and harvesting their crops since these two periods were the most important in the life of a farmer.

The Israelites would be faced with a very strong temptation to work seven days a week since plowing and harvesting at the right time can be essential for the productivity of one’s crops.

The Lord is teaching the Israelite farmer in Exodus 34:21 that worshipping Him is more important the productivity of their farm.

In Exodus 34:22, the Lord reiterates the command for the Israelites to observe the Feast of Weeks, which is called the Feast of the Harvest in Exodus 23:16 and was the second national festival in Israel and took place fifty days after the Passover Sabbath (Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:25-21; Num. 28:26-31; Deut. 16:9-12).

It was designated the Feast of Weeks which celebrated the wheat harvest in Israel and was a one day feast of celebration and was originally the festival of the first fruits of the grain harvest (Ex. 23:16; Lev. 23:17-22; Num. 28:26-31).

It was called the Feast of Weeks because it came after a period of seven weeks of harvesting that began with the offering of the first barley sheaf during the Passover celebration and ended with the wheat harvest.

The Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles is also called in the Scriptures the festival of Tents because the Israelites were commanded to live in booths during its continuance (Lev. 23:43) and because it was held after the ingathering of the harvest of fruits (See Leviticus 23:34-36; 39:43; Deuteronomy 16:13-15; 31:10-13; Nehemiah 8).

The people during the feast were to dwell in booths made of the branches of palm trees and willows from the brook, which would remind them of the palm trees of Elim, and the Willows of Babylon (Ps. 137:1-9).

In Exodus 34:23, the Lord commands that all the Israelite men were to appear before Him three times a year for these three feasts, which are the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and the Feast of Ingathering (Tabernacles).

This command does not imply that women and children could not attend these festivals but merely assigns the representation of the families to the fathers and husbands in Israel.

In Exodus 34:24, the Lord tells the Israelites that the reason why they were to observe these feasts is that He was going to drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan as He told them He would, which reiterates the same promise which appears in Exodus 23:27-30.

The Lord reassures the Israelites in Exodus 34:24 that no nation will covet their land when they observe these three feasts.

The Lord is thus telling the Israelites if you are faithful to me in worshipping me these three times a year as a corporate unit, I will most assuredly protect your homes and farms while you are absent from them.

Exodus 34:25 records the Lord issuing two commands, which repeat the two found in Exodus 23:18.

In the ancient world people knew that when the blood was drained from the animal that the animal would die and thus they concluded and they were right that the life of an animal is in its blood.

Consequently, these ancient people would drink the blood of the animal in an attempt to prolong or strengthen their lives.

The Lord who gives and prolongs life forbid the Israelites from engaging in such practices (cf. Leviticus 3:17; 7:26; Deuteronomy 15:23).

Also, in these two verses, the Lord commanded the Israelites that they must not let the fat of the animal remain overnight until morning, which is directly related to worshipping God in the manner in which He prescribes.

Keeping the fat until morning would be withholding from the Lord that which is His and would be making God wait for His portion, which is disrespectful. Leviticus 3:16-17 presents a more comprehensive statement with regards to the Lord’s teaching here in Exodus 23:18 and 34:25.

In Exodus 34:26a, the Lord orders the Israelites to bring the firstfruits of their crops and give them to Him and this command appears in Exodus 23:19a.

This command teaches the Israelites to give the Lord their best from their crops, which would honor Him and prevented the Israelites from cheating God.

God deserved the best of their crops because He is responsible for giving them their crops and their productivity.

In Exodus 34:26b, the prohibition to not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk occurs three times in the Pentateuch and first appeared in Exodus 23:19 and is also found in Deuteronomy 14:21 and is directly related to pagan rituals.

In the Canaanite fertility religion, they believed that cooking a young goat in its mother’s milk would magically stimulate the power of nature to procreate, thus producing a stronger flock or would somehow make the flock more fertile.

To engage in this practice would be dangerous for the Israelites because it could lead them to conclude that the productivity of their flocks was not directly tied to the blessing of the Lord but rather was tied to these magical practices of this fertility religion.

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