Daily Word

Deuteronomy 26

Read Deuteronomy 26 – Presenting tithes and offerings to the LORD.  “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship – the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored.” :1

Take a look at the partnership the LORD is inviting the Israelites into with just this verse (and the parallels we have as Christians).  1) God gave them the land as a special possession, a gift (For the Christian this is Jesus – John 3:16).  2) They were to enter it (It’s a bit like Salvation, which is offered to ALL, but only those who clearly ask – receive).  3) They had to conquer it (again, like walking with Jesus, if one does not turn from their old life – repent- and embrace the awesome freedom of this new life, then what’s the point?).  4) And settle there (The Christian term is sanctification – the life-long process of walking with Jesus – it’s more than a Sunday only relationship – one should continually strive towards holiness).  5) The LORD told them to put some of the first produce aside… (as we are to set aside our first fruits).  6) God continues with, “from each crop you harvest” (one could consider this financial tithe, as well as time, talents, and resources). 7) And bring it to the place of worship – the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored (God picks the place, for believers that would be the church.  When you give to your church, you are not blessing them, you are thanking God).

Beloved, look at that, we are only one verse in, and you’ve heard more than enough from me.  Enjoy the rest of Chapter 26, and examine the ways you are living up to this call to tithes and offerings.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 25

Read Deuteronomy 25 – Crime and punishment – It was a big deal and punishment was carried out immediately.  If the crime merited a beating, a limit of 40 lashes was imposed as more than that would humiliate the neighbor. (:3)  In the New Testament, the Jews restricted such beatings to 39 lashes to be seen as merciful.  Paul was the recipient of such beatings 5 times according to 2 Corinthians 11:24.  

There was an interesting law on marriage and a brother’s duty to impregnate his sister-in-law, in the event of his brother’s death. (:5-10) There is a very colorful account of this law in action in Genesis 38, if you are curious about it.

The law for a wife jumping in on her husband’s fight with another man seems harsh, but I am certain there were very few one-armed ladies as a result. (:11-12)  It specifically applied to her grabbing the other man’s private parts and commentators suppose this may have been in protection of reproduction.

Weights and measures must be equal.  This is about integrity before God and he gives a promise and a warning for it.  The promise for the man who trades with honesty is a long life, and the dishonest man is detestable to the LORD.

Beloved, hold on to that idea to be “detestable to the LORD”.  When you sin, be it cheating, lying, drunkenness, anger, using the LORD’s name in vain, or any number of things, know that this is detestable to the LORD.  God’s Word says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 and “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”  Proverbs 9:10  I hope each of us would take this to heart, knowing that our sin is detestable to God and fear Him so much that we would not sin, but if we do, that we are quick to confess and repent (which simply means stop doing it, turn away from it). 

Please, Beloved, do not take your sin lightly.  Love and fear the LORD your God so much that it rules over your conduct.  As my pastor puts it:  Obedience motivated by love brings joy.  Disobedience brings pain.  Choose love.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 24

Read Deuteronomy 24 – Divorce, marriage and integrity –

I can’t help but wonder how it pained the LORD to address divorce. That was not his intention for the marriage union, but he knows our hearts, so he gave the concession of divorce.
Verse :5 is quite incredible. The first year of marriage was committed to simply delight and solidify the marriage – and the whole community was commanded to support this by not calling him to the army or any public duty. One can’t help but wonder, if a couple was fully committed to this, and the entire community was behind them, how that would affect the divorce statistics.

Our chapter speaks of those indebted to a person. One is not to be cruel when collecting debt from the poor and widows. (:10-15) We see this truth when Jesus gave the model for prayer, commonly known as THE LORD PRAYER (found in Matthew 6 and Like 11). “And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors, ” Matthew 6:12.

Twice in our chapter, and many times in the book of Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites to remember that they were slaves in Egypt. (:18,22)

Beloved, may you also remember the fate Jesus rescued you from. May the fear of God, the beginning of wisdom, keep you from straying off course.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 23

Read Deuteronomy 23 – Why yes, I am blushing – I feel as if the LORD just had “the talk” with me.  You know, the talk one’s parents have when a child is on the cusp of puberty. So, let’s TALK.  

“If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the LORD.” :1 I had to look at what the commentators had to say, Smith, Henry and Guzik, the LORD is referring to men who were associated with the pagan culture, and they were unable to be circumcised as was required of the LORD, so they would not be suitable within the assembly of the LORD.  Likewise for illegitimate persons, although there is disagreement on what it is meant by illegitimate, and it was suggested it is those born through incest.  

There were restrictions against the Ammonites and Moabites for ten generations because they did not offer hospitality when Israel came out of Egypt.  But the Edomites (relatives of Israelites through Esau, Isaac and Rebekah’s son, Genesis 25) and Egyptians (because Israel lived among them as foreigners) they were not to detest.  

The LORD addressed nocturnal emissions, saying that the men who experienced them would need to stay outside of camp all day, bathe toward evening and could return at sunset.  I wonder what this looked like in practice.  Was it shameful?  Did these men get teased?  

The LORD addresses another bodily function, relieving one’s self.  They were explicitly told to go outside of camp, to the designated area and cover excrements with a spade.  He explains why in :14, saying it is because he, the LORD their God moves around them in camp to protect them and defeat their enemies.  Also that he must not see any shameful thing among them or he will turn away.  

I find myself full of questions about this; how about you?  I am trusting that it will all make sense in heaven… I am also wondering if the need to relieve oneself will be removed in our eternal form?  Wouldn’t that be convenient?  

Our chapter goes on to cover other things, giving escaped slaves refuge, temple prostitutes and their tithes, loans, vows, and how to behave in the neighbors vineyard.  The LORD has expectations and standards for his children, and I doubt he blushed or fidgeted when he gave the TALK.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 22

Read Deuteronomy 22 – Kindness and purity – Our chapter contains several, seemingly random, laws to set the Israelites apart as God’s people.  In verse :1 a person might be inclined to say, “finders keepers” if a neighbor’s animal wanders onto his land, while God instructs kindness and integrity.  In verse :4 we see this includes one’s responsibility to stop what they are doing to help, and not look the other way.  Living for one’s self is not God’s way for believers.  Jesus made this law simple when he said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (See Mark 12) 

“A woman must not put on men’s clothing, and a man must not wear women’s clothing.  Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the LORD your God.” :5  Some religions take this to mean that a woman should not wear pants.  Consider when this was written, men wore robes and tunics… basically dresses!  However, men’s attire, be it in the form of pants, shorts, kilts, robes, tunics or the like is designed for men, and likewise, for ladies attire.  Present culture likes to blur the lines between men and women, and society just gets more and more confused.  Though we are no longer under the law, there is great wisdom here.

Build a railing on your rooftop. (:8)  Rooftops were like patio’s back then – one must be kind and foresee the risk of falling off and prudently put up this railing.  Again, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)  

Don’t mix up your crops; don’t plow with two different animals; don’t make clothing out of linen and wool.  These instructions seem random, but they are there for both simple wisdom – like linen and wool will shrink differently and pull apart – donkeys and oxen are unequal in size and strength – yoking them together creates an off balance system that will harm both… As well as the big picture – Israel was to be set aside as God’s treasured possession.  They were not to do the things their pagan neighbors did.

Sexual purity is important to God.  God’s Word has protections and punishments for offenders and victims.  I know this seems old fashioned, but just think of all the problems in our society that would not exist if sexual purity was valued. Disease, depression, unwanted pregnancy and fatherless children would all be HUGELY diminished.  Straying from sexual purity always hurts a person in the long run.

Beloved, I hope you see God’s love and protection within these laws.  You can think of them as the railing that keeps you from falling off the roof!

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 21

Read Deuteronomy 21 – My oh my, am I ever glad I did not live in the ancient world! Order was established for unsolved murders. The nearest town would have to make every effort to solve the crime, but if it remained unsolvable, they were to make atonement publically and before the LORD.
The LORD put protective standards in place for women who were taken in war as brides. This may have riled your feminist feathers, yet God’s standards actually gave rights to women who would otherwise be disregarded. Before the marriage could be consummated, the woman was to have her head shaved, her nails trimmed, her clothing removed and a month to mourn her parents. This was a reset period. It was both humbling and healing for a woman to move past her past and a time for the man to be sure he wanted to marry her and that it was not a fleeting decision based on her appearance. At the end of the month, he could marry her or set her free, without selling her or treating her brutally because that is what the LORD commanded. Sometimes break-ups stir vengeful feelings, but the man was not permitted to further dishonor the woman… Beloved, I hope you are able to see past our times as you look into these ancient ones and see the LORD’s compassion and protection.
Verses :15-17 had me thinking about Leah and Rachel, Jacob’s wives whom we are first introduced to in Genesis 29. Things can get rather messy with more than one wife, and the LORD gave commands to protect both parties with established practices for inheritance.
God gave serious instructions for the parents of a rebellious son – one would hope the mere fact of this ordinance was enough to keep any son from rebellion. (:18-21)
Our chapter concludes with instructions when capital punishment was rendered by hanging the guilty on a tree. Here we see a balance of justice and mercy. To hang the guilty on a tree was justice; to remove and bury him showed mercy and dignity for the land itself. Paul expands on this in Galatians 3:13-14 (in the New Testament) showing how Jesus became this atonement for us, taking on the curse we deserve for our sin. Beloved, because of Jesus we are redeemed from the curse of the law – and that is a giant Hallelujah to close on today!

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 20

Read Deuteronomy 20 – Rules of war – If I were in charge of a war (it’s not likely) I would want every conceivable person on my side.  I would want a large army to show up and stand with me.  But God’s ways are not my ways, and God only wants those pure in heart in the battle.

The first thing God commands is, “You shall not be afraid, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of Egypt.” (:1-4) Being reminded of who God is, what he has done, and that he is with you is a great strength when facing any battle.  Then the officers were to thin out the soldiers by calling out those who needed to settle things at home or were just plain fearful.  (:5-8)  The LORD can do great things with pure hearts and those men would be hindered by the half-hearted.  

The first act in an impending battle was to offer peace. (:10)  If peace were acceptable, the townspeople would serve the Israelites and do the forced labor.  If they did not accept peace, the Israelites were to siege the town, putting all males to the sword. (:12-13)  It is generally understood that any surviving male would be a perpetual enemy.  The women, children, livestock and spoils were considered plunder… spoils to be enjoyed by the fighting men of Israel.

BUT, certain cities that the LORD was giving Israel required everything that breathed be killed.  These places were so wicked that their utter destruction was required, so that their sin would not corrupt Israel.  However, the LORD had special instruction for the trees.  Fruit bearing trees were not to be cut down and the men could eat the fruit.  Other trees could be cut and used to build siege works until the city fell.  

Beloved, marvel at these details, nothing escapes the LORD’s instruction.  May your heart be pure and useful to the LORD in all ways.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 19

Read Deuteronomy 19 – Refuge and justice – the LORD established a system of justice, allowing for accidents, with cities of refuge.   

The thing that stands out to me about these cities is that one had to take personal responsibility for the death of another, even if it happened by accident without any malice.  Scripture gives the example of two going out to chop wood and the axe head falls off and kills one. (:5)  Though that was an accident, the survivor would then run to a city of refuge, tell the elders, and live within the city of refuge, protected from revenge by the dead person’s family.  

The LORD also knew that some would seek this protection in an unworthy manner, after killing someone deliberately, then seeking refuge.  In that instance the elders of the murderers hometown were to send agents to retrieve him, so that he could be put to death. (:12)

There was a system in place for false accusations, and I wonder how we got away from such a thing.  In our modern system of justice, anyone can sue anyone with no repercussions should the charges be found false.  In God’s system, the false accuser would receive the punishment intended for the accused. (:19) 

God’s justice serves the community by action and reputation.  Things were dealt with in a very present time frame, and the community would learn what happens when evil is done and be afraid to do such things. (:20).

It is incredible to me that the LORD holds no false hope about humanity.  We are sinners and a system of justice is necessary.  He gave us Jesus, sending him to pay our ransom, to be justice for us so we could be redeemed children, co-heirs with Jesus. (See Romans 8:17)

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 18

Read Deuteronomy 18 – Gifts, bad neighbors and liars – The Lord set the Levites aside as priests and he detailed the portions of the offerings that they could claim. It should be a joy to give to the Lord, and a pleasure to see the priests well taken care of. The Lord even made provision that no one judge the priests, even if they are receiving support from their family. Their share was their share. (:8)
Now, the promised land was full of wicked people with detestable traditions. The Israelites had to be very careful not to imitate them. God gives the example of not sacrificing their children as a burnt offering, practice fortune-telling, use sorcery, interpret omens, engage in witchcraft, cast spells, function as mediums or psychics or call forth spirits of the dead. :10-11 These are the very reasons the LORD is driving these people from the land and giving it to the Israelites. (:12) Beloved, we would be wise to hate what the LORD hates. Humans have a curiosity about the occult… when I was a little girl, horoscopes and Ouji boards were considered harmless entertainment. It was not until Jesus rescued me that I realized how deceptive and sinister these occult practices were – God forbids it. If you have any history of dabbling in these practices, I plead that you would confess, and pray to be cleansed of all unrighteousness right now.
Moses continues the list of cautions to warn the people about true and false prophets. The LORD told Moses, “I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him.” :18 And the LORD addresses how to tell his true prophet from an imposter; namely, if the prophecies don’t hold water, you will know it wasn’t a prophecy from the LORD. (:22)
Beloved, if your church/pastor declares prophecies that have not come true or been revised – RUN! Because of Jesus, you are worthy of an authentic faith, unhindered by those who would lead you astray. God’s Word is true, loving and trustworthy. If you discover something that doesn’t measure up in your life, confess it to Jesus, your Abba Father.

Daily Word

Deuteronomy 17

Read Deuteronomy 17 – Courts and kings –  The LORD outlines how justice is to be decided in :2-13.  It must be on the testimony of more than one witness and if it is too hard to decide in the local court they were to take it to the place the LORD would choose. (:8) Beloved, this shows how close their relationship with the LORD was.  He was their King and he would lead them to the Levitical priest or judge on duty to decide the case. (:9)  Justice was to be decisive and acted on immediately.  And if anyone was arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or priest – that person was to die.  God gives the explanation that this would purge evil from Israel and hearing about it would cause people to be afraid, saving them from such arrogance.

It is interesting that the LORD added this part on choosing a king.  He was their King, yet he knew they would eventually desire a human king as other nations had.  His requirements are excellent – Israel could have saved so much grief by adhering to them… and I can’t help long for a president in our nation who would meet them. 

The king was to personally copy this body of instructions on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests and read from it daily. (:18)  That is a king worthy of leading a nation!  

Beloved, with this all fresh in your heart, why don’t you take some time to pray for our courts and government.  It is not too late to return to the LORD!