Exodus 23 – Sundry Laws Against Sundry Gods (or: Israel, Take Heed)

I’ll be frank: the last half of Exodus 22 and the first half of Exodus 23 read like God suddenly gave up on organizing his laws into categories and just started declaring norms. The NASB gives the section the header “Sundry Laws,” which sound like laws pertaining to your sundry. But no, “sundry” is an adjective, not a noun. And if you look through this legal grab-bag, you can find some recurring themes, like gods.

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Psalm 115 – Idol Hands Are Devolved Worship

If the central question of modern theology is “What is the nature of God?” then the central question of theology in the ancient Near East was “Which gods should we worship?” In ancient cultures, towns would commonly adopt a patron deity, and there were no shortage of choices. Just take a look at Wikipedia’s list of Mesopotamian deities. And people would commonly fashion sculptures of their deities as part of their worship: they’d make idols.

Psalm 95 – Shout at the Lord

This psalm is a call to worship. In the span of the first two verses, the psalmist uses the phrase “Let us shout joyfully,” with God on the receiving end of the people’s shouts of praise. I was tempted to look up the Hebrew word for “shout,” and perhaps there’s some hidden nuance in the original Hebrew language here. But today I’m gonna take the translator of the NASB at his word. It’s reasonable to expect that “shout” means “shout.” The psalmist is inviting the people to go loud.