GOOD MORNING, SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Deuteronomy Chapters 21 – 23
Today Wayne Scott is providing rabbit trails again. Before I turn it over to him I want to point out a few things in one of the more difficult passages in our reading today, the rebellious son in Deut 21:18-21.
Note two things: Both the mother and the father have to agree on this course of action and there is no account of this ever having taken place. Enact a law with a stiff penalty and you are far more likely to prevent people from breaking it. Now onto brother Wayne!
Personal comment. “Pinch-hitting” for writing rabbit trails and notes is a VERY humbling experience. I told Christy yesterday that doing this makes me feel underqualified and overwhelmed. I’ve read the chapters and verses over and over. I’ve done internet research. Most of all, a lot of praying, asking for the words. It’s one thing to read someone else’s notes or commentaries and then chime in my own thoughts. It’s a WHOLE different ball game when you are the one writing the notes. So, I do not take this lightly and ask in advance for your grace.
Do you remember Christy’s recent post for Numbers 33-34 where she shared the graphic that compares the Greek vs.Hebrew Thinking? I wanted to bring this up to help me get to where I need to go in communicating some thoughts here. In short, here is the main take-away that I have from it:
Feel, Think, Choose, Act (Greek Thinking) vs. Faith, Choose, Act, Feel (Hebrew Thinking)
It wasn’t too many years ago that I would read these sections of Scripture with the Greek mindset. I’m still trying to get completely to the Hebrew mindset (I still trip up from time to time!), but it’s getting a little easier each day. I will take the words in the Scripture in the faith that they are His words, His instructions to us. It is not for me to judge His words, His instructions based on what little old me thinks is right or just. No, He is the Creator and I am the creation. I will choose to first have faith in Him, choose to follow His way and not my own, turning them into action.
So, given that, we turn to chapters 21 to 23. We’re introduced to commandments given to Israel by Moses. They cover a variety of topics ranging from atonement for unsolved murder, wartime rules of behavior, marriage, family law, personal property of others, humane treatment of animals, human relationships, doing business fairly, and other topics related to how we interact as individuals, families, and communities. Some may strike us a bit peculiar, some may touch our personal sensibilities, others might confuse us a bit. Rather than me try to struggle to teach all of these (which would be WAY out of my ability) I decided to simply walk through one method I use to try to break down and “unpack” the Scriptures.
“Mitzvot” / Command: Deuteronomy Chapter 21:1-9 is often called “Purging of Innocent Blood”. If a slain person is found fallen in a field, the elders of the nearest city are instructed to break the neck of a heifer (verse 21:4) to atone for the blood.
Deuteronomy 21:9 says, “So you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the sight of the LORD.” The term “innocent blood” popped out at me. I had seen that phrase before. So, I took a little rabbit trail.
I found the same phrase elsewhere in the Bible. I kept it really simple by just inserting the phrase “innocent blood Bible” into Google. . (Other Bible apps like Biblehub, YouVersion and others have really good search functions….)
So, here are a couple of verses that use the same phrase:
Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans,feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
Deuteronomy 27:25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
The commandment of the heifer makes better sense to me now. We learn in Proverbs 6 that YHWH hates the shedding of innocent blood. So, here He provides a provision for the community to deal with a fallen body where no guilty party is found and where there are no apparent witnesses. Yes, the heifer is killed. But, YHWH hates the shedding of innocent blood. I will defer to Him.
As I write this I think back to Abraham and Isaac in Genesis Chapter 22.
Genesis 22:1-3 :’“After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.’’’
Hebrews 11:17 “ By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son”.
And in the end, YHWH would ultimately allow His Beloved Son to shed His blood for us. The thing He hates, He allowed to happen to His Beloved, for us. I don’t know about you, but I know that I am loved and will be more willing to take these teachings in Faith.
I hope this might give a little insight to dig into these readings. I’ve heard it often said that to study the Scriptures we need a Bible, The Holy Spirit, and a good concordance. I agree, but I think there is a 4th item needed, Faith.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!