TODAY’S READING: DEUTERONOMY 23-26
Requirements to be in the congregation; Cleanliness; Civil statutes; Divorce; Civil statutes; First offering; Charge to hear and obey
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
When you see all of the statutes the nation of Israel were given, aren’t you glad that Christ fulfilled the Law for us? Don’t you love “the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3), as we hear Him say that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength, and that the second is like it, to love thy neighbor as thyself? (Mark 12:30-31)
Certain people were not to be admitted into the citizenship of the children of Israel. They could reside in the area, but due to impurities (mutilation, illegitimacy, ancestry) they could not join the congregation of Israel. The Lord desired a pure congregation of His people. Sins had a lasting consequence. Inside the congregation, purity and cleanliness had an important place; the statutes in chapter 23 reminded the people that the Lord was in their midst. (See II Cor. 6:16-18)
The last of chapter 23 speaks of vows and generosity. As in Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5, do not delay to pay vows; it is better not to vow than to not pay the vow. Verses 24 and 25 tell the children of Israel that they are to be a generous people while reminding them not to take advantage of the generosity of others.
In Matthew 5 and 19, the Lord deals with the issue of divorce from Deuteronomy 24. Divorce was not God’s plan from the beginning (Matthew 19:8); Christ says divorce is here “because of the hardness of your hearts.” In verse 2, the woman is permitted to go and be another man’s wife. But in verse 4, she is referred to as being defiled. Once again, sin has a lasting consequence.
Workers, servants and the poor are to be treated fairly. The rich and powerful are not to oppress. The stranger, the fatherless and the widow have a special place in God’s economy. God wanted Israel to always remember that they had been slaves in Egypt, and wanted them to treat others in their affliction the way God had treated them (See Eph. 4:31-32). This new land and nation is to be a nation of abundant generosity and care for others. If the children of God are to be a reflection of their Father, they (we) must be abundantly generous!
Chapter 25 gives direction to the judges and then describes the special relationship of the kinsman redeemer, another incredible revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Book of Ruth (especially the fourth chapter), gives the story of Boaz performing the statutes found here in verses 5 and 6. Boaz is the picture of the Lord Jesus Christ redeeming a Gentile bride for Himself. What an amazing Book!
The chapter continues with statutes for honesty in business. In the commerce of that day, merchants would carry balances with their own weights for transactions. Some determined that they could have weights for buying and different weights for selling; I mean, who would know the difference? The omniscient Lord knows of our honesty with people, and deals with us accordingly.
The offering of the first fruits in Chapter 26 is a special one time offering for the first harvest in the new land. There is a time of remembrance, a time of rejoicing and a time of confession (verses 13-15). They will be in houses that they did not build, eating from crops and gardens that they did not plant. They will be living in beauty and abundance from the hand of the Lord. They will have been brought into the Promised Land!
Verses 16 through 18 are a confirmation of all that has been commanded. The Lord has commanded that these things are to be kept with all the heart and soul. The people have answered and agreed that they will walk in His ways, and keep His commandments. The Lord promises that they will be His peculiar people, holy to Him. The second sermon of Moses in Deuteronomy is ended. My, can that boy preach!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE GENEROUS ONE – Deut. 24:19-21 (II Corinthians 8:9; Romans 8:32) As THE KINSMAN REDEEMER – Deut. 25:5-6 (Romans 3:24; Col. 1:13, 14) As FIRSTFRUIT OFFERING – Deut. 26:10-11 (I Corinthians 15:20, 23) As THE DELIVERER – Deut. 26:8 (Galatians 1:3, 4)