GOOD MORNING SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Deuteronomy 24-27
Notice at the start of Deuteronomy 24 there is no prohibition against a couple who has divorced remarrying one another – unless one or the other got remarried in between their divorce and the time they wanted to remarry. Some believe this was to prevent a pattern of behavior in which a man wanted to stay within the law but still wanted to entertain multiple females so he would “marry” one for a day or two, divorce, then “marry” another and eventually “marry” one or more of them again in whatever order he chose.
Deut 24:5- Newlywed man staying home for one year – while this seems like a sweet honeymoon type law, it actually served a purpose. Newly married couples in this day and age hoped to conceive and start a family as soon as possible. A woman with a son was able to be taken care of and capable of carrying on the line should her husband die in battle. The thought process was that you get married and start a family right away. Ricky and I would have made great Hebrews back then. Our son was born one month before our one year anniversary. We got married and we wanted a family! God is good!
Deut 24:6 – A millstone was very expensive and often the source of a family’s livelihood. If you loaned someone money you were not allowed to take away their ability to support their family.
Deut 24:8-9 is going to be one of the ultra cool verses on the next go around, after we’ve read the gospels and connected some dots. Hang onto that one!
Deut 24:16 This is a reminder that while there are generational curses, we are each held accountable for our own actions – and we can each choose to turn to the Father and thereby step under the blessings He has promised, breaking the bonds of any generational curses our family may have put us under. Recall that we’ve discussed how these work in the past and how they naturally play out in our lives today.
Sidenote: the Bible builds on itself. Here in Deuteronomy, it is expected that the reader have foundational knowledge of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. In the Gospels, it will be expected that we have all of these books under our belt. Anytime we pick up a book and start reading midway through or just read the last few pages, it is a given that we will absolutely not have an accurate understanding of the entire book. If you’re just now beginning to join our Bible study, you are at a disadvantage. I encourage you to take some extra time each day and read through the notes beginning in Genesis 1. If you only took a half hour extra each day you’d be caught up in no time. Having said this, no new members have been added to the Facebook group since we closed membership back at the beginning of our reading plan, but I realize that some may just now be tuning in. Tragically, some plan on tuning in only when we get to the gospels. I want to be completely honest here, if you only tune in once we get to the gospels, you will be utterly lost. The Gospels and letters are accounts of folks living out what we are learning here today. There will be a lot of questions and those questions that clearly stem from having not read the foundational Scriptures with us will simply be directed back to Genesis 1.
Deut 24:15 -I love this law about giving a hired worker their wages the same day. This is respectful and considerate and in any case where it is possible, always a kind thing for us to do.
Deut 24:17- more kindness and consideration given to the sojourner among Israel with a reminder that Israel was once in their shoes. As a sojourner in this world myself, I greatly appreciate this consideration.
Do you see how compassionate the Father is? We often lose sight when we choose to judge His actions which our western mindset, having only a fraction of the picture, deems harsh. We need to understand, first and foremost, that He is a God of love and compassion and that everything He does fits into that framework, even when we can’t see it.
As humans, we are nowhere near as smart as we think we are.
Deut 25:4 -Oxen treading grain naturally lean down and graze a bit. They are doing a service to you so you should make allowances for them.
Deut 25:5-7 Do you see this framework that played out in the book of Ruth?
Deut 25:14-15 is warning against fraudulent weights when buying or selling goods.
17 “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, 18 how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. 19 Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.
Put the pieces of this puzzle together by reading Genesis 36:12, Exodus 17:8, and 1 Samuel 15:2 Back in Exodus we mentioned how we’d hear more about this as we went on.
Deut 26:3-4 I love how the man was to go to the priest and recount what YHWH had done for Him.
And this brings me to a challenge for you today. I want you to sit in the quiet of your home or on your back porch or somewhere else today and I want you to verbally, out loud, declare some of the things that the Father has done for you. Praise Him out loud, declare the miracles He has performed in your life and in the lives of your spiritual ancestors. We need to make it a practice of doing this, even when we’re alone, so that declaring His works comes more naturally when around others and so that we, ourselves, will be more prone to remember them rather than set them aside in our minds amid the distractions of the world. If you will commit to doing this, comment and let me know something like “Challenge accepted” or the sort on the comment thread. Feel free to talk about how it made you feel, your thoughts on this, etc.
Deut 26:12-15 It is important to note that the giver is responsible for giving his or her tithe according to Scripture. I think we often have a habit of just giving our tithe to someone else and trusting them to see to it that it is used according to Scripture but that does not remove our responsibility to the widows, orphans, and sojourners among us. We had some good discussions about the differences between tithes and offerings in the group the other day.
There are some verses that really stick out to me today and I want to share those with you and then tell you why they stick out:
Deut 26:14 I have obeyed the voice of YHWH my God. I have done according to all that you have commanded me.
Deut 26:16-18 16 “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared today that the Lord is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice.18 And the Lord has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments
Here are a few other verses, out of the many, that say the same thing:
Deuteronomy 5:31-33 ‘But as for you, stand here by Me, that I may speak to you all the commandments and the statutes and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I give them to possess.’ “So you shall observe to do just as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. “You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you will possess.
“Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. Deut 12:32
Deut 8:1 The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that YHWH swore to give to your fathers.
Why did these verses jump out at me?
Because we have been programmed to think that not only can we NOT do this but it is wrong for us to even SAY these statements.
We have also been programmed to openly declare, in direct contradiction to YHWH’s word, that keeping His commandments is SO hard for us that we can’t possibly keep them.
But YHWH says (spoiler alert)
9 The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10 when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
The Choice of Life and Death
11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. Deut 30:9-18
And so where do you think we got the idea that not only can we not possibly obey the commandments, but that it is wrong for us to even say that we will?
Hint: It did not come from the mouth of YHWH. The one who created us says that we can and that it is not too hard for us. He even knew the language the world would use to tell us otherwise and He countered it thousands of years earlier.
World : “Don’t even try that, Don’t even say you are going to try that. It’s too hard.”
YHWH, thousands of years before the world’s rant: “They’re going to try to tell you it’s too hard. I made you. I’m telling you that it is not.”
We’ve been told that to even say we are commandment keepers is wrong because, according to the world’s “wisdom” it is the same as saying that we are without sin. That is a logical fallacy but still, how does the Father view us through the sacrifice made on our behalf by our Messiah?
3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:1-10
The world twists this and tells us that to keep the commandments is to discount or diminish Messiah’s sacrifice, to put ourselves back under bondage. But Messiah said that “those who love me keep my commandments.” John 14:15
When we allow the world to tell us how to worship the Father, instead of the Father, we fall into grave error. You see, the world doesn’t actually want us to worship the Father or live according to the Father’s plan so it will try to dazzle us, deceive us, trick us, and convince us that doing so is bondage and living the world’s way is freedom when in the truth, the opposite is the case.
In light of that privilege granted to us by Messiah’s sacrifice let us boldly declare that we are commandment keepers!
If obeying the Father and living in His blessings is bondage, sign me up and give me the team patch!
We end this chapter with a series of curses, reminders of what God’s law has laid out for Israel and those grafted in. As you are reading these, see which ones you agree with and which ones you don’t. What?? Yes, that is as crazy as it sounds and I said that to get your attention because that is how we treat the Bible in many cases. All back to that Greek vs Hebrew thinking.
Tomorrow we will begin with blessings for obedience!
Blessings and curses, always before us, the receipt of one or the other is the result of the choices we make every day.