Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Deuteronomy 21-23

Various and miscellaneous laws:

The discussion about how to atone for a dead body in the land where it cannot be determined how the death occurred is really about how sacred life is to God.  this ceremony with the heifer and the oath and the handwashing illustrates the necessity of substitutionary atonement where sin occurs.  The death of the heifer is a substitute for the life that has been lost.  This is at the core of what we believe about Christ's death on the cross.....he is our substitute.  Unrelated to anything, but reading about the elders handwashing as part of the ceremony reminded me of Pilate washing his hands to rid himself of guilt in the crucifixion of Jesus.

In the later part of the 21st Chapter is some instruction about taking of women during war.  I only mention this because it is so radical in the context of that time in history.  Women, children and material goods were considered as the "wages" of war, but here God instructs Israel that these women could be taken as wives (granting them all the privileges and protections of a wife) but if they were not, they were to be set free.  This was very radical behavior and illustrates God's concern for all of his "children", even those of pagan nations.

I doubt that very many rebellious sons were ever stoned......wouldn't that be a serious limitation on population.  Teenagers would be a great risk.  But this law was about the 5th commandment; honor thy father and mother that your days shall be long upon the earth.  Honor is do....part of honor is obedience to our elders.....that is God's way.

Chapter 22 emphasizes that we have a responsibility not just to ourselves, but to others as well.  I discern this because God calls on the Israelite to care for lost property and make every effort to return it to it's proper owner.  "finders keepers, losers weepers" was not God's intention for us.

Further proof of God's high esteem for life can be seen in his order to Israel that they put parapets around there roofs to insure that no one could accidently fall off a roof and die.  A parapet would be a low wall around the edges of the roof.

The tassels at the corners of robes and outer garments are to remind all of Israel to keep God's law.  What is your reminder?

In Chapter 23 is God establishing the law for Israel that the traveler can enter into a field or a vineyard and eat of the harvest there (but not take more than he needs in that moment).  I mention this to illustrate how the Scribes and Pharisees were way off base when they accused Jesus and his disciples (Luke 6) of violating the Sabbath by gleaning in the fields on the Sabbath.  Jesus and the disciples were taking grain in their hands to satisfy their hunger.....a practice that was guaranteed by God in this 23rd chapter of Deuteronomy.

Hope you are having a great week!!

No comments:

Post a Comment