Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 23:14-19.  I am going on a vacation.  Next devotion, God willing, will be next Sunday, October 9, 2022.

Here is a link to this Scripture –

I quote only the following verses.

“Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me.  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 Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt.  And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.  Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field;  also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field.”  Exodus 23:14-16. 


“And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”  Exodus 5:1.

“Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.  For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”  1 Corinthians 5:7-8.

“While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat;  this is My body.”  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;  for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”  Matthew 26:26-28.

“Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.” Psalm 32:11.

“Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.” Psalm 33:1.

“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.” Psalm 92:4.

“O sing to the LORD a new song,
For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.” Psalm 98:1.

“Sing to the LORD a new song;
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
3 Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.
9 Worship the LORD in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.” Psalm 96:1-3 and 8-10.

“Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
3 Know that the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm chapter 100.

“Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the LORD;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
3 Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.
4 He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The LORD is gracious and compassionate.
5 He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will remember His covenant forever.” Psalm chapter 111:1-5.

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 23:13.

“Now concerning everything which I have said to you, be on your guard;  and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.”  Exodus 23:13.


This law follows the first commandment:  “You shall have no other gods before Me.”  Exodus 20:3.

Sometimes, laws give the reason for their existence as we saw yesterday in the immediate preceding verse.  For example, we read:  “Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.”  Exodus 23:12. 

We could speculate on the reason for the law in today’s Scripture, but we may be wrong, and this law stands alone without stating the reason for its existence.   

“Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7.

But, how often does a preacher and teacher think he is excused from the law to not mention the name of other gods, because he is teaching history or supporting his good point which justifies it!

“… be on your guard;  and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.”  Verse 13.

Is it profitable to personify and name things as if she or he had a mind of her own?  Could that not tempt others to fear them as a god?

There could be a better way to describe those things.   

But, whether or not there is a better way to describe those things, “… be on your guard;  and do not mention the name of other gods, nor let them be heard from your mouth.”  Verse 13.

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19.

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11.

“To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God;  there is no other besides Him.  Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you;  and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire.  Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them.  And He personally brought you from Egypt by His great power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today.  Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below;  there is no other.  So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”  Deuteronomy 4:35-40.

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 23:10-12.

“You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat;  and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat.  You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

“Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves.”  Exodus 23:10-12. 


“Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
2 Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the clouds His chariot;
He walks upon the wings of the wind;
4 He makes the winds His messengers,
Flaming fire His ministers.

5 He established the earth upon its foundations,
So that it will not totter forever and ever.
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
7 At Your rebuke they fled,
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.
8 The mountains rose; the valleys sank down
To the place which You established for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not pass over,
So that they will not return to cover the earth.

10 He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
11 They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.

14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
15 And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.” Psalm 104:1-15.

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 23:6-9.

“You shall not pervert the justice due to your needy brother in his dispute.  Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for I will not acquit the guilty.

“You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.

“You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.”  Exodus 23:6-9.


The theme of the recent devotions has been how much God loves justice.  

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.” Psalm 89:14.

“He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.” Psalm 33:5.

In addition, in the last devotion, we were pleased to acknowledge that God does similar things as He commands us.

Today’s Scripture gives us the duties to “not pervert justice”, to not “subvert the cause of justice”, and “You shall not oppress a stranger”.  

So, putting these two principles together, God’s general love of justice and that God does similar things as He commands us, we can take great hope that God will certainly “not pervert justice” nor “subvert the cause of justice”.

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.”  And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.”  Hebrews 6:10-13.  

“now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?  I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.  …”  Luke 18:7-8.   

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 23:4-5.

“If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey wandering away, you shall surely return it to him.  If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying helpless under its load, you shall refrain from leaving it to him, you shall surely release it with him.”  Exodus 23:4-5.


Today’s Scripture is like other Scriptures which not only gives us a duty to do good things but also gives us a hope that our LORD will do similar good things.  

Specifically, today’s Scripture gives us a duty to show mercy and do good to others even to our enemies.  Our hope is that our LORD will see us, who by our nature of “Total Depravity” hate Him, “lying helpless under its load” of sin and slavery to Satan, but will nevertheless show mercy to us and do good to us.   

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man;  though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:6-10.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:1-7.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;  for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”  Matthew 5:43-45.

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 23:1-3.

“You shall not bear a false report;  do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.  You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice;  nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.”  Exodus 23:1-3.


“You shall not distort justice;  you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.  Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”  Deuteronomy 16:19-20.

Today’s Scripture presents specific examples and specific dangers of being a false witness which are within the scope of the ninth commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  Exodus 20:16.

“16 There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19 A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.” Proverbs 6:16-19.

We can easily understand how the wicked can use a false witness to be malicious.  We can easily understand how masses can be stirred up to do evil and pervert justice by false witnesses.  We can easily understand how some can be tempted to be partial to the poor, thinking that they were doing good by, so to speak, pressing down the scale of justice in favor of the poor thus balancing the scales of justices, in their perverted sense of justice.  

As one example, we remember what some did to Stephen.

“And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.  But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.  But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.  Then they secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”  And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before the Council.  They put forward false witnesses who said, “This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law;  for we have heard him say that this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter the customs which Moses handed down to us.”  Acts 6:8-14.

“A worthless man digs up evil,
While his words are like scorching fire.” Proverbs 16:27.

But, there is hope!

“and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”  Ephesians 4:24-25. 

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 25, 2022

“You shall be holy men to Me”

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 22:25-31.

“If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, you are not to act as a creditor to him; you shall not charge him interest.  If you ever take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, you are to return it to him before the sun sets, for that is his only covering;  it is his cloak for his body.  What else shall he sleep in?  And it shall come about that when he cries out to Me, I will hear him, for I am gracious.

“You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

“You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage.  The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me.  You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep.  It shall be with its mother seven days;  on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.

You shall be holy men to Me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh torn to pieces in the field;  you shall throw it to the dogs.”  Exodus 22:25-31.


We naturally like simplicity and freedom.  Even “just” the Ten Commandments may seem too many and too much law.  And so, these various ordinances that are in the book of Exodus may seem too many and too much law.

Likewise, the people who were listening to Jesus may have felt religious and righteous about obeying the Ten Commandments, and then Jesus spoils their smug attitude by teaching them that obeying Ten Commandments could not be done just superficially.  Here are just three examples of what Jesus said.  

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court;  and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court;  and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”   Matthew 5:21-22.  

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’;  but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Matthew 5:27-28. 

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:48.

The conclusion of today’s Scripture, “You shall be holy men to Me”, is like the conclusion of Matthew chapter 5, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” 

But, there is hope!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-4. 

“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31. 

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Hebrews 10:14.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  2 Peter 1:2-3.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely;  and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25.

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 22:16-24.

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife.  If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.

“You shall not allow a sorceress to live.

“Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.

“He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the LORD alone, shall be utterly destroyed.

“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  You shall not afflict any widow or orphan.  If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry;  and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.”  Exodus 22:16-24.


Justice recognizes and protects the rights of others, including the rights of those who are less able to protect themselves like virgins, strangers, widows, orphans, and the poor.

“3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and needy;
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4.

“If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29.

“When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” Deuteronomy 24:19.

“The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor,
The wicked does not understand such concern.” Proverbs 29:7.

But, there is hope!

“I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted
And justice for the poor.” Psalm 140:12.

“7 Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free.

8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
The LORD raises up those who are bowed down;
The LORD loves the righteous;
9 The LORD protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
10 The LORD will reign forever,
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!” Psalm 146:7-10.

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 22:1-14.  Here is a link to this Scripture –

I quote only the following verses.

“If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.

If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double.

“If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution.

“If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking, an oath before the LORD shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor’s property;  and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution.  But if it is actually stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner.  If it is all torn to pieces, let him bring it as evidence;  he shall not make restitution for what has been torn to pieces.

“If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution.  If its owner is with it, he shall not make restitution;  if it is hired, it came for its hire.”  Exodus 22:1, 4, 6, and 10-14.


Restitution is another pillar of justice, particularly for property damage.

We also see the application of another pillar of justice which is proportionate punishment according to the severity of the crime or offense.  For property damage, the more severe the offense, the more restitution is required.  

But, there is hope!

So to speak, restitution appeases the anger of the victim against the offender so that the victim will forgive the offender and not try to take personal vengeance and try to injure or even kill the offender.

“Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”  And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Luke 19:8-9.

Restitution also leads us to consider and appreciate redemption which is similar.  Like restitution, Christ’s redemption through His blood appeased the anger of God against offenders and God forgave the offenders.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace”.  Ephesians 1:7.    

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 21:26-36.  Here is a link to this Scripture –

I quote only verses 28-29 and 33-34.

“If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten;  but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished.  If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 

“If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution;  he shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his.”  Exodus 21:28-29 and 33-34.  


“To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3.

Through His Word, God is teaching people what is justice.  The situations that we encounter in the world are so numerous that Scripture cannot cover each specific situation.  But, if we diligently read and meditate on God’s Word, then we will know general justice principles and can apply them to help us do justice in every specific situation.

“He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.” Psalm 21:9.

“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:

2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,
3 To receive instruction in wise behavior,
Righteousness, justice and equity;
4 To give prudence to the naive,
To the youth knowledge and discretion,
5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,” Proverbs 1:1-5.

Today’s Scripture about the ox teaches us general lessons about justice.     

Justice teaches us that there is greater liability for personal injuries or death than liability for property damages.  

This certainly should make sense, but do we take it to heart and drive much more carefully when we are driving near pedestrians than when we are driving near other cars where we may “only” scratch or dent their car?

Justice also teaches us that there is greater liability where we knew, or should have known, that our activities present danger to other persons and we could have easily prevented it.  

Consider the sharp distinction where a man’s ox gored a man or a woman to death but he did not know that his ox was dangerous to others (punishment was just death to the ox) compared to where he was warned and did know that his ox was dangerous to others but did not properly confine it as he could have easily have done and prevented death or injuries to other (punishment was death to the owner of the ox).     

But, there is hope!

“The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But is terror to the workers of iniquity.” Proverbs 21:15.

“30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
And his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip.” Psalm 37:30-31.

“How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the LORD.
2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.
3 They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.
4 You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Your statutes!” Psalm 119:1-5.

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