What does it say?
A “formal” translation (KJV, NASV, ESV or NET, for example) is best for in-depth study, because of the focus on an exact rendering of the words and phrases, even if it sounds “stiff” or uses unfamiliar words. Less formal translations (NIV, NLT, MEV, etc.) more often paraphrase or use cultural equivalencies to help contemporary readers follow the flow and meaning better. If you have time, try reading this passage in a less formal translation. Then, go back a read it again in the translation you normally use and see if you understand better. It does no good to focus on the individual words if you don’t know what they mean or the context in which they are used.
Today, you try it. Read these three chapters and make a simple list of the two or three main elements in each. Remember, don’t look first at what it means; right now you are looking simply for what it says. You can do this!
What does it mean?
The three main Hebrew feasts are central to their religious life. God made humans relational, and gives importance to assembling together in his presence. Read Hebrews 10:25 with this understanding. The mission is given to the church (literally assembly), not to me as an individual. I was not designed to do this alone, but in assembly with others. Notice the sensitivity toward foreigners (Exo 23:9). Israel has a mission to the nations.
God promises to send his Angel before them. Angel literally means messenger, and most scholars see this as the visible manifestation of the Son of God before the incarnation of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. In essence, God promises his presence to Israel. In the next chapter they actually see God (24:10-11), not the totality of his being, which is impossible, but in the sense that Jesus told Philip that to see him is to see God (John 14:8-9). Jesus’ commission to his followers (Mat 28:18-20) likewise promises us his ongoing presence.
How will I respond?
Do you give proper priority to assembling with other believers? Our mission is collective. Can you join a prayer team in your church to more actively participate with others in the mission? Begin today to start saving for a short-term trip to meet your church’s partners in other places.
God’s presence is essential. Consistent prayer and Bible reading is a huge part of our ongoing relationship with God. Your faithfulness to these daily Bible readings is part of your personal growth. Keep it up! Be encouraged!