Monday, December 04, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Deuteronomy 23-25

Our scripture reading continues in the midst of Moses’ final challenge to Israel.  Conscious his departure is at hand, and understanding the trials the people will encounter as they transition from sojourners to an established nation; Moses sets forward numerous laws to guide the nation in matters of family, societal civility, business, and government.

For the sake of brevity, I suggest the following outline of the principles and precepts given by Moses to Israel in Deuteronomy 23-25.

  1. Principles Regarding the Distinctive Nature of the Congregation of God’s People (23:1-8)
  2. Principles Regarding Physical Hygiene (23:9-14)
  3. Principles Regarding Civility, Fairmindedness and Charity (23:15-20, 24-25)
  4. Principles Regarding Consecration (23:21-23)
  5. Principles Regarding Marriage, Family, and Civil Obligations (24:1-5)
  6. Principles Regarding Civil Justice and Equitableness (24:6-22; 25:1-4)
  7. Principles Regarding Family Posterity (25:5-12)
  8. Principles Regarding Matters of Business and Commerce (25:13-16)
  9. Principles Regarding Injustices (25:17-19)

Our nation’s laws were established upon the guiding principles and precepts Moses delivered Israel.  Granted, some of the guidelines were unique to Israel as a nation; however, the fundamentals of the principles are timeless.  For example, God commanded Israel to be a sanctified, set apart, holy people (Deuteronomy 23:1-8); He has also commanded the same of His church.

1 Peter 1:15-16 – “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

Lest some take Moses’ guidelines concerning divorce and marriage (Deuteronomy 24:1-5) as a justification for their own sinful choices in this matter; I remind you the institution of marriage between one man and one woman is sacred and divorce is not the will or plan of God.  Christ addressed the question of divorce in Matthew 19 when He taught His disciples,

Matthew 19:6-8 – Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
7  They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

Today’s scriptures also give us a moral basis of right and wrong in matters of business and employment.

For example, while giving principles for paying one’s debt, Moses did not diminish the obligation for the lender is to be charitable (Deut. 24:10-13).  While a debtor might offer his robe to secure a loan and the lender might take possession of it during the day, the debtor was not to be denied the warmth and comfort of his robe at night.  That principle is timeless!  People should not assume debts they cannot pay; neither should lenders be harsh in seeking justice and restitution.

The law required employers to give a fair wage to hired servants (Deut. 24:14-15) and farmers to be charitable to the poor (Deut. 24:19-22).

Because justice is essential for the peace and well-being of a society, judgment was to be carried out against those who violated the law; however, the punishment was to fit the crime and not be excessively harsh (Deut. 25:1-4).

Another example of right and wrong is the necessity of integrity in matters of business and commerce; weights and measurements used in commerce were to be “perfect and just” (Deut. 25:13-16).

I close with a personal opinion:

Justice in America has fallen on hard times and I believe the principal reason is our society and judicial system has strayed far from the spiritual precepts found in today’s scripture.

While I would argue America’s judicial system is, in spite of its failings, the greatest in the world; court decisions and judgments in the past 50 years evidence a precipitous erosion of justice and fairness.

A stunning example of injustice and lawlessness in America is the advocacy of liberal lawmakers for “sanctuary cities” that violate federal law and activist judges and juries who sacrifice justice and fairness, setting criminal aliens free to prey upon the innocent.

Some will argue legal decisions, judgments and sentences handed down by judges and juries are legal; however, I suggest that does not mean they are right or just. 

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith