TODAY’S READING: DEUTERONOMY 18-22
Levites and Priests; Prophets; Cities of refuge; Civil statutes; Warfare; Unknown Murders; Family statutes; Civil statutes; Adultery
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
If Moses were to come to speak in our church next Sunday, he could use the first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 18 as his text. His instructions and warnings definitely speak to today’s issues. The first section deals with the compensation of spiritual leaders and the second addresses nine issues of the occult. The Apostle Paul writes about these same matters in I Corinthians 9:13, 14; 10:21, 22 and Galatians 5:19-21.
Verses 15 through 19 give one of the greatest prophecies in the entire Old Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ. Another prophet like Moses will come! Throughout the Gospels, Jesus was asked if He was “that Prophet.” John the Baptist announced: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). John 1:11-12 says: “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” The sad reality is that the people that knew this prophecy from Deuteronomy missed the fulfillment.
The cities of refuge are described again in Chapter 19. As in our study on Day 55, the cities picture the refuge we have in Christ. As the innocent manslayer would tell his story to the elders of the city, Psalm 62:8 tells us to pour out our heart to God, who is our Refuge.
The chapter concludes with several civil statutes. Moving a landmark is stealing land from your neighbor. Matters of law are established with two or more witnesses. (How many times have we established something in our own mind on the word of only one person?) The person who sued for some amount in a false lawsuit, would be required to pay that amount to the defendant. Wouldn’t that limit today’s lawsuits? The commandment of fair and just judgments of the last verse is to the civil government. Sadly, it is soon twisted to provide an excuse for personal vengeance, vengeance that is always reserved by and for the Lord (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19).
Chapter 20 lets us know that Israel is going to have an unusual army! Instead of a general, a priest is going to speak to the troops. But that is not surprising; verse 4 reminds them that their strength and victory is the Lord. Four reasons are given that excuse a man from fighting: a new house, a new vineyard, a new wife or just plain fear! The children of Israel are to seek peace when possible except for the six nations listed in Deuteronomy 20:17. These nations have been listed repeatedly as the nations that must be completely destroyed. God lets them know that if these nations are permitted to exist, they will bring false gods and worship to Israel and be thorns in their sides continually.
In chapter 21, after dealing with the offering to cleanse the land for an unsolved murder and instructions for taking a wife from the captives of the new land, Moses gives statutes for families. He lets Israel know that inheritances are to be divided by statutes and not emotions. Next, Moses explains that stubbornness and rebelliousness lead to death. Look carefully. Three times it is written that the son will not obey or hearken to the voice of the parents. Our goal in raising a child is that OUR voice will control and instruct their little body and mind. As our child matures, the control and guidance is to constantly be directed to the LORD and His WORD. If they never learn to respond to OUR voice when they are children, they will not respond to GOD’s voice when they are grown.
Chapter 22 gives statutes on many civil and family matters from taking care of your brother’s belongings, to clothing, to construction, to plowing, to divorce, to adultery. Over and over again the statutes and commandments are written to purify and sanctify a land that God would dwell in with His people. This had been a land of transvestites, a land of incest and adultery, a land of selfishness and self-involvement. The Lord desired a pure and holy nation in an undefiled land. II Corinthians 6:16, 17 tell us to come out from the evil of the land and be a separated people to our Lord!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As PROPHET – Deut. 18:15 (John 5:46; Acts 3:22, 23) As SIN BEARER – Deut. 21:22, 23 (Galatians 3:13; I Peter 2:24)