God gives further instructions regarding the care of His people, who would normally be overlooked by society: virgins, strangers, widows, and orphans. He also tells the people that three times a year they should keep these three annual feasts: in the spring, the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), in the summer, the Feast of Harvest (Pentecost), and in the autumn, the Feast of Ingathering (Feast of Booths or Tabernacles). These feasts will be further explained in Leviticus 23.
Then the Lord says to His people that an Angel will go before them to bring them into the place the Lord has prepared for them. He instructs the people to obey the Angel, and if they obey, the Lord will be an “enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.” God says He will cut off all the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and the Jebusites and drive them out of the land. However, “I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.” Once again, the Lord promises to act on behalf of the Israelites, but it is not going to be a quick and easy process.
God instructs the Israelites to obey His commands when they enter the promised land – “For I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.” The Lord warns the people not to make covenants with the people around them nor serve their gods because He knows this will lead to their destruction. Remember what happened when Seth’s descendants, who were calling upon the name of the Lord, began intermarrying with Cain’s descendants who were walking outside the presence of the Lord? Their hearts turned from the Lord to evil and wickedness, which led to their destruction by the flood.
God desires for His people to obey His instructions because He knows His instructions are for their good. He also knows that there are severe consequences that come with disobedience. So when Moses relays all of the Lord’s instructions to the people, they say “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.” But will they really? Keep reading to find out. (Exodus 22:16-24:18)