Parashat Mishpatim (Judgments) Exodus 21:1-24:18
Haftarah: Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:25-26
There are things which are a personal danger to you. I am speaking about things that lead people away from the intimacy and power of G-d. These things one must remove from his life so that they do not influence him. This is what HaShem wanted to teach the people of Israel. For G-d promised to drive the inhabitants of the Land from before the Children of Israel so that they should not be a מוקש.
“They shall not dwell in your land, lest they will cause you to sin against Me, that you will worship their gods, for it will be a trap for you.” Exodus 23:33
The most common way that English translations render this word is “snare” or “trap”. In Modern Hebrew, this word can mean a land mine. The idea here is that one cannot see the land mine and the danger that it poses, but once a person comes into contact with it, then it is too late.
The danger in this passage is those individuals who were not believers in the G-d of Israel. HaShem emphatically said that it was forbidden to make a covenant with them and they could not dwell in the Land of Israel. What is the principle for us today? Our associations with non-believers should be for the purpose of leading them to a redemptive relationship with Messiah Yeshua. Obviously there are numbers of people that we need to deal with each day at work, school, etc.; however those that we choose to spend time with should be fellow believers or those with who we are purposely building a relationship for the specific desire to share our faith.
Recently I spoke with a Jewish man who wanted to share his faith in Yeshua with some relatives, but he was concerned that this may end his relationship with them. It was hard for him to tell them about his salvation experience, because of the fear that those individuals that he had come to love and enjoy would not want him around them anymore. This is of course a difficult situation. What is the solution? Love–this man needed to remember that although he values these relationships, the risk of losing them is far outweighed by the reality that failure for them to receive the Gospel is certain eternal separation with them and them from G-d.
Usually it is easier for us to make the right decisions when we think of them from an eternal perspective.
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