In this section Moses covers many miscellaneous laws, some that are applicable to us today, and others that aren’t. This is where it’s not just helpful, it’s critical to know the New Testament (the New Covenant) and to be able to identify the precepts and principles of Christianity.
If I lived in those days I would not be eligible to enter the assembly of the LORD (the Tabernacle fellowship) because I was born out of wedlock – this would apply also to my descendants, up to the tenth generation. Thank God we are no longer under the law! (Galatians 4:4-5; 5:18)
Generally speaking God would not allow the Ammonite or Moabite to enter the assembly because they did not meet Israel with bread and water on the road. As a matter of fact, they tried to curse the Jews. But God’s people cannot be cursed by the enemy. I always get immeasurably blessed by these words:
Deuteronomy 23:5 (NKJV) “Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.”
Moses commanded Israel not to reject the Edomites or the Egyptians, and to keep their hearts clean, as well as their camps. I love the reasoning:
Deuteronomy 23:14 (NKJV) “For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.”
Did you know that God walks among us?
The legitimate runaways were to find sanctuary with God’s people. Income was to be honest. Warren Wiersbe comments on Deuteronomy 23:17-18, “Even the source of our money is God’s concern. The pagan temples had religious prostitutes, male (“dogs”) and female, and God would not accept their money earned by abominable means.”
God wants to be involved in all the details of our lives, He’s interested in who we charge interest to, He wants us to make sure we keep our word and pay our vows, and He has a special place in His heart for the poor. We see frequently in God’s law the way He gave the foreigner, fatherless, and widow opportunities to glean the leftovers in the field (Deuteronomy 23:24-25; 24:19-21). Laboring like this would be preferable to handouts.
Again, we see that Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of man’s heart (Matthew 19:8), but God hates it (Malachi 2:16). We even read the way a husband was called to bypass military service for a year, in order to “bring happiness to his wife…” (Deuteronomy 24:5). What a wonderful goal for all guys who are married…what can we do to make our wives happy?
There’s much to ponder – how kidnappers deserve the death penalty, the care we should take in times of pestilence, to be kind and considerate of all people, including our employees, and to be sure to pay them what they’ve earned.
The Law of the Lord covered every sort of situation they would ever face – the number of blows a man could receive when he was punished, how oxen were to be treated while treading out grain, how to perpetuate a man’s name and family (levirate marriage), fair and respectable fights, honest business, and dealing with the flesh, which is what Amalek symbolized.
May God plant His principles and precepts in our hearts, that it may go well with us, and that we’d bring God glory.
Jesus spoke woes of warning to towns of Chorazin and Bethsaida, for they witnessed firsthand the power and presence of God, and yet refused to repent. On the day of judgment their punishment would be more severe than other towns because they’d seen so much. It reminds us of that Biblical principle , “To whom much is given, much more is required.” (Luke 12:48)
When the seventy return, their joy is rooted in the fact that they have power over demons – and it’s good and true that in Christ we do; but we’re not to focus on that. Our joy must never be anchored to what appears to be “ministry success,” our joy must come from our salvation (Psalm 51:12).
Luke 10:20 (NKJV) “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
Warren Wiersbe touched on this truth, “When the disciples rejoiced over their successful ministry, Jesus told them to rejoice because they were the citizens of heaven. After all, their work might not always be successful; but their salvation would never change.”
Luke 10:21-22 reminds us that none of could ever have been saved unless the Lord had revealed Himself to us. Jesus thanked the Father for the simple saints, the childlike church, those who don’t overcomplicate it. Unfortunately what can happen all too easily is people get “educated” in the ways of the world, sophisticated, complicated and therefore miss out on the saving mission of the Messiah. Not many “wise” in the world…enter in (1 Corinthians 1:26).
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is such a heavy, heavy, teaching. The lawyer (scribe) asks Jesus about eternal life, and Jesus turns the question around by asking him what he saw when he read the Bible? The lawyer mentioned the two greatest commandments, to love God and to love others. Jesus’ response is, “Yes, that’s the evidence of a saved soul – love!” So the lawyer wanted to hone in on this and asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor that I’m called to love?” It’s here where the conviction hits hard. It’s the one who’s in need, the people God puts in your path, those who are brought to your attention – even if it’s someone we’re at odds with (the Jews hated the Samaritans, and vice versa).
God is calling us to love everyone, especially the ones we might have an inclination to hate. Some think they’re good with God because they serve in the ministry, they’re very busy, too busy to help, like the priest and Levite, they just pass by on the other side, but Jesus teaches us – that’s not love or life! We are to love with a very practical, tangible, and sacrificial love in order to prove we are saved.
Warren Wiersbe said this, “It is not difficult to discuss neighborliness in the abstract, but it costs something to be a real neighbor. Do you pause to help when you see injustice and hurt, or like the priest and the Levite, do you look for an escape? You are never more Christlike than when you feel another’s hurt and seek to help.”
God helps us to, “Go and do likewise.”
Judgment is coming, we just don’t know when. God will choose the “proper time.” (Psalm 75:2)
The Psalmist may have the entire earth in mind (Psalm 75:3), but he also addressing individuals who will be brought down in God’s timing. We’ve seen it throughout the ages, how God humbles the mighty and exposes the unrepentant. He lifts up one, and He brings down and other, for He really is a just Judge.
Psalm 75:6–7 (NKJV) “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. 7 But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.”
V. 12 contrasts the difference between the wicked who would rather steal what others have stolen, and the righteous who works hard and bears fruit.
V. 13 contrasts the difference between the wicked who gets trapped (caught) by his wicked words, and the righteous who escapes the devil’s traps through God’s wisdom.
Verses 13 and 14 are what we all “antithetical parallelism,” while v. 15 is “synthetic parallelism,” where the second line expands upon the first. A wise man will be blessed because he not only says good things with his mouth, but because he also does good things with his hands.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.