Exodus 23:25-26: 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. None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.
To serve is to do another’s bidding, to be active in following another’s will. And God wanted to re-orientate the children of Israel, just coming from servitude in the land of Pharaoh, to Himself, as they are being led to be formed into a nation with a specific distinction: to be attached to the only true God (John 17:3) as their God. He doesn’t want them to be a copy cat nation, copying the gods of the nations that he was going to drive out to plant them in their land. These are gods attached with myths, traditions and ceremonies (that could be deceptively fascinating) that have their origin in the desire of the devil to derive worship from man in rivalry to the only true God, creator of the heaven and the earth. God doesn’t want them to attempt to be like others, nations who have existed hundreds of years before them. He wants to realise that they are distinct, celebrating their distinction.
The focus verses highlight what the promises for serving God are. Attached to the service of the gods of other nation are certain promises of provision or protection (with deception and falsehood with satanic “wonders”), but God wanted the children of Israel to trust him for them, by committing themselves to serve him and him alone.
He will bless your bread and your water
This has to do with physical sustenance, God wanted the children of Israel to see him as the source of their physical sustenance. It was David who wrote that the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). Even when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God supplied them with the provision of bread and water. There was manna from heaven and also water that gushed out if a rock that was following them (Deuteronomy 8:15-16, 1Corinthians 10:4).
When Jesus was in a place preaching to a group of people, he noted that they needed food and he miraculously made provision (Matthew 15:32-38). Jesus as the revelation of who God, the Father is (John 14:5-11), is concerned about whether people eat or not.
While Jesus was giving what has been termed the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:25-32). He emphasised the theme of God being our father and wanted the people to realise that their heavenly father cares for them. He wanted the people to desist from worrying about what to eat because the heavenly father who provides for the birds of the air would see to their welfare.
God was therefore telling the children of Israel that if they would commit to serving Him, focus of him exclusive of other devotions, he was going to take care of them. As the heavenly father, he made sure that the duo of Adam and Eve were well provided for in the Garden of Eden as far as they were devoted to him (Genesis 2:8-14, 3:22-24). (That is the kind of Person He is, the one who provides.) He was going to assure the same thing for the children of Israel if they continue in devotion to him.
I will take sicknesses away from among you
This is another promise of service to God, of setting out to please him. Sicknesses and diseases are especially delimiting, just like lack of food and adequate provision of water. That is why Paul said that having food and raiment we should thereby be content (1Timothy 6:8), they are pretty basis and God knows that.
To have rest in the area of heath is desirable to everyone and the bible says that no good thing would God withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11, Hebrews 11:6). From the words of the focus verses, we know that the will of God is against sicknesses in any form or shape. It pains God to have the person he has designed as his image to be subject to physical oppression. And we as Christians have the right to expect a sickness-free life.
The one who spoke those words of the Old Testament has not retired. We should see that as the divine intention, that is still active towards us even today. Paul said that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). His power can deliver into our hands a sickness-free life. But you should at least start by thinking that it is possible, if not God may be handicapped in delivering his power into your life, when it comes to your body becoming free from illnesses.
None shall miscarry or be barren in your land
Take God on his word for this. This is the promise of fruitfulness. To show the limitlessness of the power of God in the area of fruitfulness, we have the biblical testimonies of people like Sarah, Hannah and Elisabeth. Their stories changed from barrenness to fruitfulness. Here (focus verses) in this promise to the children of Israel, we have the divine intention concerning miscarriage, pregnancy and not being able to conceived, revealed. He does not tolerate them at all. He is willing, ready and capable to make sure such does not happen to his children, if you are willing to take the word of God on face value.
It is a sad thing to experience miscarriage or lack of the ability to conceive. Note that in the time of the bible there is no general knowledge to show that sometimes the issue of barrenness in the context marriage may be due to male infertility but God who is all knowing knows this and therefore captures this in commitment to having no barrenness in the land.
We would note that all these issues are what men and women seek help for, all around the world and God was telling the people of Israel that he is their help. He is their rock of defence (psalm 94:22) against these things that befall other people around the world. He doesn’t want the children of Israel running helter-skelter, looking for solution from other gods where no solution is and where whatever “solution” there is, there is the addition of sorrow (Proverbs 10:22), somewhere down the line. He shows himself superior to all others, manifesting himself as light to take care of the darkness people may experience in these areas.
I will fulfill the number of your days
How many years would you like to spend on earth? I am sure you would not want to die without a sense of accomplishment, in accident or have you life cut short by sickness. Here in the above words, God is committing himself to our living a full and fulfilled life, no untimely death; dying after you have been satisfied with life. The promise of God is long life. In the book of psalms we read these words of promise: “with long life would I satisfy him (Psalm 91:14-16).” Therefore long life, fulfilled life is the intention of God for us as his children
Though these promises were made to the natural children of Abraham, made with conditions, Jesus fulfilled the conditions so that we as spiritual children (Romans 8:1-4) can lay hold of the blessings (Galatians 3:6-9, 13-14). That is called the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:11).