TODAY’S READING: DEUTERONOMY 13-17
Warnings against following other gods; Clean and unclean animals; Seven year release; Bond servants; Three feasts; Civil judgments; Kings
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
The Apostle Paul was concerned that the people of the church in Colosse would be deceived by the enticing words and/or empty philosophies of men (Colossians 2:4-8), and that the people of the church in Corinth would be beguiled by the subtlety of Satan (II Corinthians 11:3). In today’s reading, we are reminded that there is nothing new under the sun! God’s children are warned of being drawn away by three different methods in Deuteronomy 13:
1. God warns His people lest they be drawn away by someone performing
signs and wonders. Miracles and powers have had a place
historically in the purposes of God, but alone, have never been
the test of truth (Ex. 7:11, 22: 8:7). Hello!!!
2. God warns His people lest someone using the closeness of their
relationship to draw them away.
3. God warns His people lest they be drawn away by a foreign
philosophy life, and/or foreign practices of worship.
The judgment that coincides with each of these is consistent: Death! The worship of the Lord and His gospel must remain pure!
Moses then reminds the children of Israel in chapter 14 that they are to remain pure and holy. In the first 2 verses, the pagan practices of the people of the land they will enter must be avoided. The list of clean and unclean animals would separate the children of Israel from the other inhabitants of the land. Because the blood could not be removed from an animal that died of itself, the children of Israel were not to eat an animal that had already died; others could eat it, but not the chosen, separate people of Israel. We, too, are a chosen people who have been called to be separate and holy (Titus 2:14; I Peter 2:9). There may be practices that are socially and culturally accepted, that have no place in the life of God’s people.
The tithe in verse 22 is the second tithe that is commanded of the people (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26). This one is a tenth of the yearly increase of their fields. It was to be brought to the place of offering that the Lord had chosen. A portion was to be eaten with rejoicing to remember that everything comes from the blessing of the Lord. At the end of this chapter a tithe is collected for the poor. There are plenty of lessons and New Testament parallels to be drawn from the passage:
•Everyone can tithe. II Corinthians 8 and 9 teach that the only
prerequisite is a willing mind.
•We are to give according to what we have been given.
•When we give bountifully, we will reap bountifully.
•God loves a cheerful giver.
•Everything we have comes from the Lord.
•Giving instructs and enriches the one receiving it.
Chapter 15 provides added instruction to the seventh year described in Exodus 23 and Leviticus 25. Not only is the land to rest, but debts are to be forgiven! It is a glorious reminder that our debt has been forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ! We do not have to pay the debt of sin! The debt of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and Christ has paid the debt! Verses 7 through 15 tell of generosity to the poor. Don’t ever forget Christ’s generosity toward us when we were poor!
The chapter finishes with consecration of the firstborn male of the herd or flock. It is set apart for the Lord. But it must be without blemish, if it is to be an offering to the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ is the unblemished Lamb of God. As in verse 23, He was offered and His blood was poured out as water. What a perfect offering!
Three feasts are described in chapter 16. The first is the Passover followed by seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This was a feast of remembrance. Remember God’s deliverance. The second is the Feast of Weeks (Feast of Harvest in Exodus 23), later to be known as Pentecost. A freewill offering is to be given “according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.” The third feast is the Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Ingathering or Feast of Booths in Exodus 23; Leviticus 23; Numbers 29). This again is a time of giving and rejoicing.
The chapter concludes with the selection of judges and officers and warnings against false gods. Like God, judges were not to be a “respector of persons,” nor were they to receive gifts from people. God wanted them to be completely free to judge righteous judgment. Another warning is given about taking up pagan practices of idol worship in groves of trees. God doesn’t want any worldly practices near His altar and worship.
Chapter 17 gives statutes concerning the discovery and investigation of idol worship. A matter of death requires the witness of two or more witnesses who must be the first in administering punishment. A matter too difficult for a judge is to be brought before the priests.
Verses 14 through 20 give instructions for a king. A king over Israel must be chosen from the children of Israel. He is commanded to not multiply to himself: horses, wives, silver and gold. When he sits on the throne he is instructed to write a copy of the law and read it everyday of his life so that he will fear the Lord, keep His words and do them; that his heart will not be lifted up and his days may be prolonged. As those who have been made kings by the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 5:10), we should carefully consider these instructions!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE UNBLEMISHED SACRIFICE – Deut. 15:21 (I Peter 1:19; II Corinthians 5:21) As THE PASSOVER LAMB – Deut. 16:1 (John 1:29, 36; Revelation 5:12) As THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE – Deut. 16:18; 17:8 (Revelation 19:11; Romans 14:10)