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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Mishpatim 18-6


Exodus 23:20-25

You shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces. You shall serve the LORD your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. 

Ex. 23:24-25 ESV

What are the consequences of pure worship?

 The Eternal forbids us not only to bow down to pagan gods but also to serve them. There is a very close relationship between these two words: worship – or bow down – in Hebrew hishtahavah השתחוה – and serve – in Hebrew avad. עבד. One thing leads to the other, worship leads to service.

Nevertheless, it's possible to serve pagan gods without bowing down to them. Many pagan practices are intertwined in all the cultures of the world, including the Jewish one, and many times we follow them by force of habit without knowing their reason and origins. When we follow pagan customs, in a way we serve pagan gods. Let's be careful and check our behaviour.

Now, even if a person doesn't worship or serve pagan gods, he/she could be doing things that idolaters do. That's why the Torah also warns the people from imitating the idolaters' actions, even if they are nice or beautiful. Here we can mention many different customs: music styles, apparel, celebrations, ways of speaking, cooking, etc., but this is out of the scope of these messages.

What we are indeed going to stress is the great promise made by the Eternal to all those who reject pagan gods and idolaters' customs to serve only Him. If one turns from all form of idolatry and takes away from his daily practices and festivities all kinds of pagan traditions and turns his heart to serve the Eternal in all areas of his life, then, he will experience a special blessing over his food and drink. The one who devotes all of the areas of his/her life to serve the Eternal exclusively will not suffer from hunger, as it is written in Psalm 37:25: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (NIV)

Even more, not only food and drink will be blessed when a person lives serving the Eternal, fulfilling His commandments, but also no harmful thing in food or drink will have effect on him/her as it does in the idolaters. HaShem promises to take away sickness from among a people who keep from idolatry and its customs - to devote themselves solely to Him.

Take into account that the promise doesn't say that sickness cannot come. The promise says that sickness will be taken away. So, don't be discouraged if you have been attacked by a disease. The important thing is to reject it and fight it with all the weapons that the Eternal has given us, including a life of prayer and study of the Torah, obedience, a healthy diet, exercise, medicine, healthy relationships, joy, etc.

May the Eternal give you total health, both in body and soul through Yeshua who shed his blood to sanctify his people and confirm all the Eternal's promises.


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