Deuteronomy 20-22

Deuteronomy 20-22…Laws concerning warfare, murders, inheritance rights, and immorality.

When we read the Mosaic law, we often find some of its regulations quite baffling. Take Deuteronomy 22:28–29, for example. This passage orders an arranged marriage following abuse, hardly a custom we find in today’s society.

However, this teaching is not a cruel injunction designed to have the wife bitterly remember the harm to her body and soul. In fact, this law protects the woman. During the period in which Moses lived and wrote about, women were extremely vulnerable members of their society. A woman like this was considered untouchable in most places, but the Mosaic law protects the victim by prescribing marriage to her attacker. In this way, the Lord guarded the woman from any further economic or social harm. It’s important to note that the bible absolutely, positively is opposed to any abuse like this, and recognizes the act as sinful. This part of the law does not excuse the behavior in any way whatsoever.

In our day, older men in the church need to teach the younger men to respect all women, and treat them as sisters. This is counter cultural, and will take very intentional steps in discipling. Our culture does everything it can to reduce women to objects, and all men, young and old, are being conditioned to think and act this way. Young men who are of the faith need to train themselves now to not look at women this way. The way they are treated by all men, especially at a young age, will have a big impact on them.

Deuteronomy 17-19

Deuteronomy 17-19…Laws on Israel’s Kings, and a new prophet like Moses.

The king was required to carefully study the law of God, and apply it to his life. It is not enough to have Bibles, but we need to use them daily as long as we live. The king’s reading was useless if he did not practice what he read. We too must obey God’s word, as mere agreement with it is not obedience.

God promises to Israel that he would “raise up a prophet like you from among their brothers.” Jesus would save sinners by becoming human like us, taking on flesh, and perfectly fulfilling the law. His human component takes on just as much importance as His deity. We needed someone to live a holy life in our place, and God’s wrath needed to be exhausted for sin. All the more reason for us to esteem him highly, because His rescue of us came at a great cost. Also, knowing that God’s wrath is set on those who don’t submit to Christ as Lord, we should be fervent in evangelism.

Deuteronomy 14-16

Deuteronomy 14-16…Tithing, sabbaticals, and feasts.

A second portion from the produce of their land was required in Deuteronomy 14. This was done to oppose the covetousness, distrust, and selfishness of the human heart. It promoted friendliness, liberality, and cheerfulness, and raised a fund for the relief of the poor. They were taught that their possessions were not really their own, but belonged to God. Accumulation of wealth is a tenet of the prosperity gospel, making it a false gospel according to God’s word.

In Deuteronomy 15, the sabbatical year (or year of release) was when every creditor would exercise grace toward debtors. This is symbolic of the gospel, as God extends grace to us. We cannot pay, and are greatly indebted to the Lord for what He has done for us in Christ Jesus.

The laws for the three yearly feasts are repeated in Deuteronomy 16. These were done to remember sin, and to rejoice in God’s righteousness and goodness. As believers, we should never forget to be laid low in the dust because of our sin. However, this reminder should also stir up joy and gratitude because we’ve been pardoned in Christ.

Deuteronomy 11-13

Deuteronomy 11-13…Love and serve the Lord, the place of worship, and warnings against idolatry.

In Deuteronomy 11, we see a connection which is consistent throughout scripture. Love toward God will equate to obedience. This is how we can be assured of our salvation (1 John 5:1-3), and why spiritual fruit is the true measure of one’s faith, not just mere agreement with the gospel.

Moses recounts some of the great works of God’s wrath which their eyes had seen. It is important that in both our evangelism and our discipling relationships we include an accurate presentation of God’s wrath, and of what conversion looks like. Hell is real, and according to Jesus, many are deceived into thinking they are saved from Hell (Matthew 7:21-23):

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Are you doing the will of your Father in heaven? How do you know if you are? This is why the local church is so important in our Christian walk. We are prone to being deceived, and therefore God’s manifold wisdom includes locking arms with other believers to build them up and to be built up. Our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ help us see our blind spots. The bible gives us clear instructions on how we’re to live, so if you have questions about what God’s will is for your life, ask your pastors/elders, or those you are closest to in your church.

Moses warned about the trouble that might come from the Canaanites in Deuteronomy 13. He cautions against the rise of idolatry. It is so important for us to be well-acquainted with the Bible, because just like the Israelites, we live among those who worship idols. We also are in the midst of a daily spiritual battle, and attempting to fight without any armor or weapons is foolish. We’re prone to worship idols, and need to be brought into conformity with God’s word daily.

Deuteronomy 8-10

Deuteronomy 8-10…Remembering God and His grace, and the importance of heart change.

Chapters 8-10 in Deuteronomy outline the key components of the gospel. Israel did not have the full revelation of God’s plan of salvation that we have, but the call to turn to the Lord and away from their sins is the same. Here are the key components of the gospel laid out in this text.

1) The objective reality we see in these chapters is that the Lord is their God. Regardless of what we believe, this is true for us as well. He has authority as creator to require our obedience, as we’re living in His kingdom.

2) Israel rebelled and stubbornly refused to submit to His authority. We are the same, and according to Deuteronomy 8:19, we “forget the Lord and go after other gods and serve them and worship them.” The warning here is that we will “surely perish.” He’s not talking merely about a physical death, although that is a component of the result of our rebellion against a perfectly holy and perfectly just God. The main point is that there is eternal punishment for our souls because we do not love God and obey Him like we should.

3) But God, being rich in mercy and abundantly patient and gracious, provides a rescue plan. Israel didn’t yet fully understand how God would execute the promise made in Genesis 3:15, but some believed, and the righteousness of Christ was counted as their own. God makes it clear that the people did not have a righteousness of their own to offer, and that it was only because of His faithfulness and love that they could be saved (Deuteronomy 9:5):

“Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

4) The way for us to be made right with God is not by our own righteousness. This is true for us, and was true for Israel. We see this clearly in Deuteronomy 9:6:

“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.”

The right response to knowing that we need a righteousness outside of ourselves, is to turn from our sins and believe God’s promise of salvation. Those saved in the Old Testament had faith in God, and He credited to them as righteousness. We can look back today and clearly see that this perfect righteousness came from God the Son, and is imputed to us if we repent and believe.

Deuteronomy 5-7

Deuteronomy 5-7…The ten commandments, the greatest commandment, a chosen people.

Moses demands attention giving God’s word to the people. When we hear the word of God we must both hear and obey. This is the goal of hearing and learning. We are not to fill our heads with merely notions, or our mouths with talk, but to direct both our affections and actions to the Lord.

In Deuteronomy 6, we read of the greatest commandment. The fear of God in the heart will be the most powerful principle of obedience. It is highly desirable that not we only, but our children, and our children’s children, may fear the Lord. If we’re saved, we’ll desire that all those in our church fear Him as well. He is glorified particularly by the corporate witness of Christ’s bride.

Here is a strict warning in Deuteronomy 7 against all close fellowship with idols and idolaters. Those who are in communion with God, must be very careful relationships. We will become like those whom we spend the most time. Therefor, Christian, find someone who is growing spiritually and be intentional about spending time with them.

Deuteronomy 1-4

Deuteronomy 1-4…Israel refuses to enter the promised land, they wander in the wilderness for years, Moses is forbidden to enter the land, and God commands obedience through Moses.

Unbelief is at the core of all sin. In Deuteronomy 1, unbelieving hearts were driving the refusal to enter the land. All disobedience to God’s laws, and distrust of his power and goodness, flow from disbelief of his word, as all true obedience springs from faith.

Only a short account of the long stay of Israel in the wilderness is given in Deuteronomy 2. God not only rebuked them for their unbelief, but prepared them for Canaan by humbling them, teaching them to hate their lusts, to follow God, and to find contentment in Him.

God’s refusal to answer Moses’ prayer to enter the promised land is a helpful lesson for us. God matures us by denying many things we desire. He hears all our prayers, but doesn’t give us all we pray for. The prosperity gospel ignores Deuteronomy 3, because Moses’ lack of faith wasn’t the reason for him not getting what he wanted. God is good, and disciplines those He loves, which often includes holding back things we want.

We see even in Deuteronomy 4 that we cannot earn our salvation. Our obedience as individuals cannot merit a right relationship with God. but it is the only evidence that we are saved. We are saved by faith alone, through grace alone, but our faith should not be alone without fruit. A fruitless faith is described by Jesus in Matthew 13 (The Parable of the Sower) as being one that doesn’t result in eternal life.

Numbers 34-36

Numbers 34-36…Boundaries of Canaan, the city of refuge, and the inheritance of Zelophehad’s daughters.

Canaan was not particularly large in geographical size. In this life we don’t need to have the biggest and best to demonstrate what God is like. Those who have their portion in heaven, have reason to be content with what they have on earth. The riches of forgiveness and joy in Christ are far better and more satisfying than earthly prosperity.

The city of refuge in Numbers 35 is a picture of what Christ offers. It gave support to every one who entered its walls. Those who have reached the refuge, may live by faith in Him whose flesh is spiritual food, and whose blood is spiritual drink. The things of this world will never bring satisfaction ultimately. This is why the most wealthy and famous are clearly the most broken if you’re paying attention. They keep turning back to idols which are not satisfying, and the perpetual cycle of serving self continues to disappoint. Contentment is a very powerful witness for the gospel, because it allows us to walk in freedom.

In the final chapter of Numbers (ch. 36), the heads of the tribe of Manasseh represent the evil which might follow, if the daughters of Zelophehad should marry into any other tribes. They sought to preserve the Divine appointment of inheritances, and that contests and quarrels should not rise among those who should come afterwards. It is wise for those who have estates in the world, to settle them, and to dispose of them, so that no strife and contention should arise.

Numbers 31-33

Numbers 31-33…Vengeance on the Midianites, the Transjordan tribes, and stages in Israel’s journey.

God waged war on the Midianites, and used Israel explicitly for that purpose. He enabled them to conquer by miracles, and the war was just and right. Their war was initiated and carried on expressly by Divine direction, and they were enabled to conquer by God’s hand. Waging war is not as clear today, as there are no theocratic nations selected by God to carry out His purposes like Israel in the Old Testament. There is nothing special about the actual nation of Israel today, nor is the United States “set apart” to carry out God’s purposes in the world in a peculiar way like we see in Numbers 31.

In Numbers 32, the Reubenites and Gadites wanted possession of the land before crossing the Jordan with the rest of Israel. There is much to learn from their selfishness. They consulted their own private convenience more than the public good. We see this in our churches today, as individualism has seeped in and pushed out living as a community. Many Christians go years without any consideration of the other members of their church. Sadly, many Christians go years without joining a church, and try to live out the Christian life on their own.

The people were about to enter the promised land. Now that they were close to getting what had been promised, they entered again into temptation to follow idols. They were warned if they spared either the idols or the idolaters, their sin would certainly be their punishment. This is also the result of local churches who aren’t careful about membership. When the church looks no different than the world, she lies about what Christ is like. Her corporate witness is diminished, and the message of the gospel loses power.

Numbers 28-30

Numbers 28-30…Offerings, festivals, and vows.

God saw fit now to repeat the law of sacrifices. This was a new generation of men; and they were concerned to keep their peace with God when at war with their enemies. They were a figure of the blood of Christ, the memorial of which is still left to the church in the cup, and of the blood of the martyrs, which was poured out as a drink-offering on the sacrifice and service of our faith, Philippians 2:17.

Every day of the festival of tabernacles required a sin-offering, as in the other feasts. Our burnt-offerings of praise cannot be accepted of God, unless we have an interest in the great sacrifice which Christ offered, when he made Himself a sin-offering for us. Everything we see here in Numbers 29-30 reminds us of our sinfulness. The life that we live in the flesh must be by faith in the Son of God, until we go to be with Him, to behold His glory, and praise His mercy. The objective reality that we often forget, is that God would be good and right to judge us right now and send us to eternal punishment under His wrath. However, in His great love and mercy, He’s made a way for a few to be saved. How gracious for the One who made us and who has been offended by our sin, to die in our place.