If this is your first viewing, please see my Introduction before reading this.
25 January. Exodus chapters 22-24
Parts of the Torah becomes very detailed, and some of its laws seem obvious and still good sense while others seem obscure to us in a different culture, but all are derived from the principles of the Ten Commandments. I will highlight just one, Chapter 22 verse 21 which is so important that it is repeated at 23:9: “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” At the present time following the election of Donald Trump in the USA, and the many controversial right-wing policies he is starting to implement (not least strict immigration rules and a strengthened border with Mexico) it would be good for the American people to remember this verse, for all they (even “native” Americans if you go back far enough) were immigrants once. Britain is the same – we all trace our ancestries to one or more waves of incomers, be they economic migrants, refugees or invading armies. There is no such thing as a “pure race,” and no such thing as one tribe that owns the land while others have no rights in it. As it says in Psalm 24, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it”.
In chapter 24 we see Moses and the seventy elders going up the mountain where they actually see God. That is something exceptional in the Bible, for while God often speaks or sends angels (messengers), few people are allowed to see him in visible form directly. But it is important that they see that Moses is receiving the commandments from God and not just making them up. After that, Moses spends 40 days on the mountain to receive the detailed laws that followed. The 40 is of course symbolic of “a long time”, like Jesus’ 40 days of temptation or Paul’s 40-day retreat in the desert after his conversion. A long retreat (time alone with God) is still prescribed for those about to be ordained or at a point of crisis in their lives, so that they can be without all distractions to receive spiritual guidance for the task in hand.