After Israel crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land they were instructed to traverse north between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. There they would build an altar and rededicate themselves to the Law. To do this, they would recite blessings and curses. The blessings reflected what God would do for them if they kept the Law. The curses reflected the punishments God would bring upon them for rebellion.
After a long summer hiatus our Deuteronomy blog is back with chapter 26! This section closes out the lengthy middle portion of the book where Moses revealed laws and statutes which were designed to regulate the lives of the people as individuals and as a nation under God. Chapter 26 reminds them of their responsibilities in offering God firstfruits and tithes of thanksgiving for all He has done for them.
Deuteronomy 25 includes one of the more troubling passages of the Old Testament: "If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall not pity her" (vs. 11-12). Perhaps you have read these verses and found them troubling. Do not be disturbed any longer - find out how to understand them in the greater setting of the Law of Moses in this study.
In addition to a few miscellaneous matters, the most difficult issue of Deuteronomy 24 deals with divorce and remarriage under the Law of Moses. In this study, a few ideas are presented for you to consider and as always, we encourage you to investigate the Scriptures that you might fulfill the charge of the apostle Paul: "Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Deuteronomy 23 features a variety of prohibitions for Israel including rules about the assembly, maintaining purity, dealing with runaway slaves, and properly applying the eight commandment: you shall not steal. These rules continue the dominant themes of Deuteronomy as God molds His people to reflect His own care for the needy and suffering.
The Bible is replete with principles. A principle is a generic rule which governs behavior. In the second half of Deuteronomy 22, the dominate principles are: men and women must honor their covenants, especially the covenant of marriage, and God maintains high standards of chastity. To elaborate on applying this principle, Moses enumerates several examples where Israel may be guilty of violating God’s standards.
A number of miscellaneous commands make up the first portion of Deuteronomy 22 including this prohibition: "A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God" (vs. 5, NASB). Find out what this strongly-worded statement means and how it fits into the greater context of God's rule in this exciting post.
There are a number of difficult issues addressed in Deuteronomy 21 including unsolved murders, the treatment of women captured during war, and how parents were to handle rebellious children. All of these matters reflect a number of concerns God consistently demonstrated throughout the Old Law such as the sanctity of life, the protection of the vulnerable, and the administration of justice.
Deuteronomy 19 revisits the cities of refuge and the strictness of landmarks. Chapter 20 is all about warfare. Within both of these ancient law sections God’s high and holy standards of justice shine forth in his care for properly prosecuting criminals, executing judgment on heathen nations, and treating foreign countries and Jewish soldiers with graciousness.
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. The question before the ancient Hebrews was, who will you imitate? The Lord warned: "When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations" (Deuteronomy 18:9). He followed this warning with a list of abominable practices which God detests. The antithesis, however, is presented next: "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him" (Deuteronomy 18:15). Who will you heed and imitate?