Deuteronomy 19 (HCSB) “When the Lord your God annihilates the nations whose land He is giving you, so that you drive them out and live in their cities and houses, you are to set apart three cities for yourselves within the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess… You must purge the evil from you. Then everyone else will hear and be afraid, and they will never again do anything evil like this among you. You must not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.”

For a religion that is undergirded by love, mercy and grace, today’s chapter questions the very fabric of that belief – or does it? Read the rest of this entry »


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Deuteronomy 18 (HCSB) “The Levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, will have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They will eat the Lord’s fire offerings; that is their inheritance… This is the priests’ share from the people who offer a sacrifice, whether it is an ox, a sheep, or a goat; the priests are to be given the shoulder, jaws, and stomach. You are to give him the firstfruits of your grain, new wine, and oil, and the first sheared wool of your flock. For Yahweh your God has chosen him and his sons from all your tribes to stand and minister in His name from now on… “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not imitate the detestable customs of those nations. No one among you is to make his son or daughter pass through the fire, practice divination, tell fortunes, interpret omens, practice sorcery, cast spells, consult a medium or a familiar spirit, or inquire of the dead… “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers… Then the Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to My words that he speaks in My name… You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

Moses continues to lay out expectations for Israel under God’s sovereign command and the first question that comes to mind is why do we need to know these laws when we are living under the new covenant and are not bound by Mosaic laws? Read the rest of this entry »

Aside  —  Posted: Thursday, September 6, 2012 in Deuteronomy, Old Testament
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Laws For The Faithful

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 in Old Testament
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Deuteronomy 17 (HCSB) “You must not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or sheep with a defect or any serious flaw, for that is detestable to the Lord your God. If a man or woman among you in one of your towns that the Lord your God will give you is discovered doing evil in the sight of the Lord your God and violating His covenant and has gone to worship other gods by bowing down to the sun, moon, or all the stars in the sky—which I have forbidden— and if you are told or hear about it, you must investigate it thoroughly… “If a case is too difficult for you—concerning bloodshed, lawsuits, or assaults —cases disputed at your gates, you must go up to the place the Lord your God chooses… “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, take possession of it, live in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations around me,’ you are to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses.

Brutality and firm enforcemeImagent seem to be the way of the Old Testament or am I reading this incorrectly. That is a question I hope you have when you read the chapter and hopefully we can answer it to some degree here. Read the rest of this entry »

Rituals And Expectations

Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2012 in Old Testament
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ImageDeuteronomy 16 (HCSB) “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, because the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night in the month of Abib… “You are to count seven weeks, counting the weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. You are to celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God with a freewill offering that you give in proportion to how the Lord your God has blessed you… “You are to celebrate the Festival of Booths for seven days when you have gathered in everything from your threshing floor and winepress… “Appoint judges and officials for your tribes in all your towns the Lord your God is giving you. They are to judge the people with righteous judgment… “Do not set up an Asherah of any kind of wood next to the altar you will build for the Lord your God, and do not set up a sacred pillar; the Lord your God hates them.

So many festivals and rituals it seems and there is very little room for followers of the Christian God to live outside of this requirement. What was the point of these many festivals and is there any relevance to our lives today? Read the rest of this entry »

Freedom From Bondage

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 in Old Testament
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Deuteronomy 15 (NLT) “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money. This is how it must be done. Everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites… There should be no poor among you, for the Lord your God will greatly bless you in the land he is giving you as a special possession… But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them… If a fellow Hebrew sells himself or herself to be your servant and serves you for six years, in the seventh year you must set that servant free. When you release a male servant, do not send him away empty-handed. Give him a generous farewell gift from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. Share with him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you… You must not consider it a hardship when you release your servants… You must set aside for the Lord your God all the firstborn males from your flocks and herds.”

One of the great criticisms the Christian faith receives is about its acceptance of slavery and in this chapter, God actually references it in detail. Does that mean God and His word support it? Read the rest of this entry »

A Ritualistic Nation?

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 in Deuteronomy, Old Testament

Deuteronomy 14 “You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure… You must not eat any detestable animals that are ceremonially unclean… You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud, but if the animal doesn’t have both, it may not be eaten… Of all the marine animals, you may eat whatever has both fins and scales. You may not, however, eat marine animals that do not have both fins and scales. They are ceremonially unclean for you. You may eat any bird that is ceremonially clean… All winged insects that walk along the ground are ceremonially unclean for you and may not be eaten… You must not eat anything that has died a natural death… You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk. You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence… And do not neglect the Levites in your town, for they will receive no allotment of land among you… Then the Lord your God will bless you in all your work.”

A bizarre set of rituals were called for with respect to mourning and eating habits of the Israelites and one wonders what the logic behind it was or if there was any? Read the rest of this entry »


Deuteronomy 13 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him… If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them… If you hear it said about one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you to live in that troublemakers have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly… Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors— because you obey the LORD your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.

Today’s chapter winded me when I read Moses’ instructions to the Israelites to destroy anyone and any place that preached another God or faith. Was this in error and what is God speaking to us about it? Read the rest of this entry »