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February 13: Exo 23 | Psa 77 | Mark 9

Reading 1 - Exo 23:19

"Do not cook a young goat in its mother's milk" (Exo 23:19).

Here is an interesting prohibition, which is found three times in the Law: in Exo 23:19; 34:26 and Deu 14:21.

At least five possible meanings have been suggested -- not necessarily mutually exclusive:

  • The mother would suffer from still producing milk, with no offspring to nurse.

  • The Canaanites revered milk as coming from certain goddesses (and so this might be seen as a warning to keep away from worship of the idols of the land).

  • This could be a prohibition against imitating the superstitious rites of the Egyptians, who, at the end of their harvest, cooked a kid in its mother's milk and sprinkled the broth as a magical charm on their gardens and fields, to render them more productive the following season.

  • The suckling should not be killed so young, being cut off in its prime. (Christ the sacrifice suffered in the midst of his own people.)

  • And, finally, possibly... a warning to parents: do not "destroy" your child with the "milk" of excessive kindness and coddling!

Reading 2 - Psa 77:19

"Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen" (Psa 77:19).

It is surely true: those who walk on or through the sea leave no footprints!

There were no tracks when the Glory of the Lord crossed through the waters of the Red Sea, leading His people. After the waters returned, not even the locality of the crossing would be known except by tradition. It would take an eye of special discernment, an eye of faith, to "see" the work of Yahweh -- and this has always been true!

Job 9:11; 23:8,9 express a similar idea. Likewise, Pro 30:18-20 -- although the subjects are drastically different!)

With this may be compared also Hab 3:15 -- a chapter with several close resemblances to Psalm 77.

On a different plane also, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his PATHS beyond tracing out! 'Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?' [Isa 40:13] 'Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?' [Job 41:11]. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever" (Rom 11:33-36).

And, finally, is this Jesus walking on the sea (Mat 14:22-36; Mar 6:45-56; Joh 6:15-21)?

Reading 3 - Mark 9:37

"Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me" (Mar 9:37).

"The theme of the child runs through a whole section of the Gospel of Mark, but always with the child standing as a type of the genuine believer. The child's well-being is made the measure of conduct, the child's spirit is the rule by which others are judged. Not that Jesus would idealize children; growing up in a large family, he had doubtless seen the 'foolishness' that is bound up in the heart of a child (Pro 22:15). But he saw the child as small, dependent, and therefore trusting; he saw also the child's directness and simplicity, the outward-looking to those who are loved and admired. There is a candid logic in children which can be devastating to their more complicated elders, and it is this which enables them to recognize a truth and see its consequences; and that is the frame of mind which makes faith possible. In this Jesus saw in children the type of the children of God. And it is in the service of such as these that the true disciple will find his exaltation" (LG Sargent, Mark 133).


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