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

Mark 12

Reflections on Mark 12 – I love this chapter!  There is much to reflect on, but the verse that truly changed my life is in the section :28-34, and :31 in particular.  Do you have time for a little testimony, Beloved?  

You see, when I started walking with Jesus in full measure, I fully understood and loved the number one commandment to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength; :30.  And I thought I was doing an impressive job with the second commandment, to love my neighbor as myself, because I wrongly thought I loved others more than myself.  I carried a lifelong burden of insecurity.  It ruled my life; I was constantly making self-deprecating comments to show others that I held them in higher esteem than myself… Do you know what the truth behind this lie is?  Insecurity was my idol; it came before God, and it devalued His gift of my life.  It kept Jesus’s gift of my Salvation subdued.  It was like getting a gift and loving it, but putting it in the back of the closet for safekeeping… To honor the giver is to delight in the gift.

You can imagine my joy when the Holy Spirit finally helped me see this!  The reality was that I wasn’t truly loving others – I was desperate for approval.  It’s a very hard way to live and a very hard thing for others to be around.  It was not the life Jesus died to give me.  

Beloved, the freedom of this realization was transforming for me!  “The thief came to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10  The more I delight in Jesus, the more I am able to delight in my life and the more love pours out on everyone!  That is the heart of ‘loving my neighbor as myself’.  Hallelujah!

Mark 12 covers many wonderful teachings of Jesus, The Parable of the Evil Farmers, shows the wickedness of the religious leaders.  The trick of Taxes for Caesar was a ploy by those same leaders to trap Jesus.  And the beautiful Widow’s Offering, :41-44, reveals how much Jesus treasures the heart behind the offering.  Beloved, which of these parables or verses was Jesus’s gift to you today?