Daily Word

Psalm 11

Read Psalm 11 – Faith changes your line of sight.

Riding a motorcycle on Southern California roads and highways is different than riding in a car. On a motorcycle each lane has many ways out and must pay complete attention to the road, the drivers, the upcoming merges all while taking in the beauty, the birds, the trees, the sky… I’ve never been to war like David, but I do ride a motorcycle. David expresses a level of faith in the LORD that I lean into. The LORD knows the number of our days. If the LORD has more work for us then we have nothing to fear from arrows, distracted drivers or anything that threatens! “In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.’” :1

David asks, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” :3

And he answers his own question with some truth about God. God is on the throne. God sees and examines what the sons of men are doing.

“The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.” :5-6

When I read the words ‘his soul hates’, I held my breath without realizing it. There are evil people in this world and the LORD doesn’t miss what they do in secret. It is an overwhelming thing to think of what our righteous LORD will do to the evil he HATES.

“For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.” :7

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? They can trust in the LORD, knowing he is righteous, he loves justice and those who walk with him in Jesus will see his face.

And while it is comforting to hold on to this, it also stirs my heart to more mercy, love and truth for those around me who are perishing. Do you know there is not a middle ground? There is heaven for those who are clothed in Christ Jesus; there is hell for all who reject him, and that’s it. There is no place in the middle for what one might think of as the ‘not so bad’, and it’s not a balancing act of good outweighing bad… because “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), Jesus is the only way. Is there someone you need to reach out to today?

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 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 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!