Category Archives: Deuteronomy

IS THE LORD ON YOUR SIDE? (Joshua 9; Joshua 10)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Joshua 9-10

Joshua 9 – The Enemy, of My Enemy, Is My Friend

The Deception of the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:1-13)

The defeat and destruction of both Jericho and Ai moved other kings in Canaan to set aside their rivalries and form confederacies to challenge Israel’s invasion of the land (9:1). And so, “they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord” (9:2).

One city-state, Gibeon, believed all they had heard regarding Israel and “what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai” (9:3). Joshua 10 reveals that Gibeon was “one of the royal cities, because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty” (10:2).

Believing it was inevitable that Israel would attack Gibeon in the manner of Jericho and Ai, the Gibeonites determined to pursue peace with Israel (9:4). Sending ambassadors, by craft and deceit, the men of Gibeon made Joshua and the elders believe they had traveled a great distance, and from a far country (9:5-13).

The Discovery of the Gibeonites’ Dishonesty (Joshua 9:14-18)

Assessing the old shoes and clothes worn by the men of Gibeon and the moldy bread and patched wineskins, the leaders of Israel believed the Gibeonites were from a far country. Joshua and Israel then committed a grave error: They failed to seek the “counsel at the mouth of the LORD” (9:14).

“Joshua made peace with [the Gibeonites], and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware [an oath] unto them” (9:15). Three days passed when Joshua received the news that the Gibeonites had deceived him and the leaders of Israel. They learned the cities of Gibeon were no more than a three-day journey from their encampment (9:16-17). The congregation began murmuring against Joshua and their leaders, knowing they had allied with an enemy (9:18).

The Covenant with Gibeon (Joshua 9:19-27)

Although the Gibeonites had come under pretenses, the leaders of Israel reasoned with the people that they could not break their oath (9:19-20). So, a compromise was pursued, and it was determined that the Gibeonites would assume the lowest positions of servitude and become woodcutters and water carriers (9:21-27).

Joshua 10 – The Day the Sun Stood Still

The Confederacy with Gibeon (Joshua 10:1-7)

Because Gibeon was a great city and one whose men were mighty (10:2), the Gibeonites’ treaty with Israel became a cause of great concern for their neighbors (10:1). Adon-zedek, king of Jerusalem, the city closest to Gibeon, allied with five Amorite kings (10:3), and “encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it” (10:4-5). As a result, the men of Gibeon appealed to Joshua and Israel to fulfill their treaty and come to their defense (10:6-7).

The Battle and Defeat of the Amorites (Joshua 10:8-14)

With the LORD’s assurance that He would be with him, Joshua and his army marched through the night (10:8-9) and attacked the kings encamped against Gibeon. Then the LORD sent confusion among the Amorites, and as they fled, He “cast down great [hail] stones from heaven…[and] they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword” (10:10-11).

Joshua, desiring to utterly destroy the Amorites, called upon the LORD, “and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; And thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed…And hasted not to go down about a whole day” (10:12-13a).

Joshua and Israel’s Victory over the Amorites (Joshua 10:15-43)

What a great day it was, and one Israel forever remembered. Indeed, “there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel” (10:14). God blessed Joshua, and the five Amorite kings were captured, humiliated, and put to death. Their bodies were hung upon five trees until that evening (10:15-27).

Closing thoughts:

We read a summary of Israel’s victorious southern campaign, and it concludes with this testimony:

“All these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel” (10:42).

Questions to consider:

1) How did the Gibeonites deceive Joshua? (Joshua 9:4-13)

2) What did Joshua and the leaders of Israel fail to do? (Joshua 9:14)

3) What had the Gibeonites heard concerning Moses and Israel? (Joshua 9:24)

4) What did the LORD promise Joshua concerning the kings of the Amorites? (Joshua 10:8)

5) What was the miracle in Joshua 10:12-13?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

Moses’ Death, Obituary, and Memorial (Deuteronomy 34; Psalm 91)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 34; Psalm 91

Today’s devotion will focus on the final chapter of Deuteronomy and conclude our study of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament).

Deuteronomy 34

Moses’ View of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

The psalmist writes in Psalm 116, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (116:15), and indeed, the death of Moses would be numbered among the most splendid of believers. Having finished his parting blessing to the congregation of Israel, Moses “went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo” (34:1a). From Pisgah, one of the peaks of Mount Nebo, “the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan” (34:1). Gilead encompassed the land on the east side of Jordan, which Moses had promised the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, would be their inheritance (the “Dan” that is mentioned is not the Dan that was located on the west side of the Jordan River).

Standing on the peak of Pisgah, Moses beheld all the land the LORD had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as their inheritance (34:2-4). There was the land of Naphtali in the north, and “the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh” in the central region of Canaan (34:2a). To the west, he could see “all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea [the Mediterranean Sea],” and to the south, the Jordan Valley, that reached “the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar” (34:3). This region laid near to Sodom and Gomorrah.

How might Moses have scanned so grand a vista from Mount Nebo? The LORD revealed that miracle in these words: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes” (34:4). Additionally, the LORD had preserved Moses’ eyesight, for though he was one hundred and twenty years old, “his eye was not dim” (34:7).

Moses’ Death and Burial (Deuteronomy 34:5-7)

“Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the Land of Moab.” (34:5)

The preceding devotional described Moses as “the man of God” (33:1). In this final devotional, this giant of the faith is lovingly remembered as “the servant of the LORD” (34:5). Moses died, but not because he was old, frail, or suffering failing health. Instead, he died “in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord” (34:5). He was “an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (34:7). Moses was dead because it was “according to the word [and the will] of the LORD” (34:5).

The LORD had permitted Moses to see the land. Still, he was not allowed to “go over thither” (34:4). With humility and meekness, “the servant of the LORD” accepted the consequences of his failure to obey the LORD at Meribah-Kadesh (32:51-52; Numbers 20). He died, and the LORD “buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day” (34:6).

Moses’ Successor (Deuteronomy 34:8-9)

Israel mourned the death of Moses “in the plains of Moab thirty days” (34:8). When the days of mourning were past, Joshua, “full of the spirit of wisdom” (34:9), became the man whom “the children of Israel hearkened” (34:9).

Moses’ Character (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)

Now, there was no man like Moses, “whom the LORD knew face to face” (34:10-12). But Joshua did not need to be like his predecessor. He was the man for the hour and the one God had chosen to lead Israel and claim the Promised Land.

Psalm 91

Ancient scholars attribute Psalm 91 to Moses, and I believe there is much about the psalm that would arguably be the work of Moses; for his fellowship with the LORD was intimate, and he was one “whom the LORD knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10). Simple, beautiful, and inspiring; rather than give commentary, I encourage you to read Psalm 91 and meditate on its promises and truths.

Questions to consider:

1) From what mountain did Moses see the land God had promised Israel for an inheritance? (Deuteronomy 34:1)

2) With whom had the LORD established His covenant with Israel? (Deuteronomy 34:4)

3) Who buried Moses, and where was he buried? (Deuteronomy 34:6)

4) How long did Israel mourn Moses’ death? (Deuteronomy 34:8)

5) How intimate was the LORD’s relationship with Moses? (Deuteronomy 34:10)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

Moses: His Last Testament (Deuteronomy 33)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 33

Standing on the plains of Moab, the congregation of Israel gathered to hear the final words of the man who had dedicated his life to serving the LORD, and the people of Israel, delivering them from slavery. Moses had finished the song that memorialized the blessings of the LORD and His faithfulness to Israel. However, he concluded the song with a warning: Should the people break the covenant and turn back from the LORD, they would suffer the consequences of their wickedness. The LORD then commanded Moses to go up to Mount Nebo, where he would “behold the land of Canaan” (32:49), and there he would die (32:50).

Deuteronomy 33 

Moses’ Benediction (Deuteronomy 33:1-5)

The man who led Israel out of Egypt and guided them through the wilderness was described in the Scriptures as “the man of God” (33:1). What an outstanding epitaph for a gravestone! Though he was imperfect, he was a “man of God.” He was not without his faults, for we have witnessed those in reading the books he authored under the inspiration of the LORD (2 Peter 1:21). Moses was, however, “the man of God” (33:1).

Before his departure, Moses rehearsed briefly how the LORD had delivered Israel and displayed His glory by bringing that nation through the wilderness. Why did the LORD bring the people out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and to the borders of Canaan? Because “He loved the people” (33:3). One by one, Moses addressed and blessed each tribe of Israel (except Simeon, for Jacob had prophesied that tribe would be scattered among the other tribes because of his sin, Genesis 49:5-7).

Moses’ Parting Blessing (Deuteronomy 33:6-25)

Moses named and individually blessed the tribes: Reuben (the first-born son of Jacob), Judah (the royal tribe), and Levi (the priestly tribe) were the sons of Leah (33:6-11). Benjamin (Jacob’s youngest son), and Joseph, were the sons of Rachel (33:12-17). Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph born in Egypt, had taken their place among the tribes of Israel (33:17). Zebulun and Issachar were also sons of Leah (33:18-19). Gad was the son of the handmaid Zilpah (33:20-21). Dan and Naphtali were the sons of the handmaid Bilhah (33:22-23). Asher was also the son of Zilpah (33:24-25).

Moses’ Final Benediction (Deuteronomy 33:26-29)

Concluding his benediction, Moses exhorted the people to remember the majesty of “the eternal God,” who had chosen them, and their unique identity in Him (33:26-29). He urged the nation to find its refuge in the LORD and their security in Him (33:27). He promised that if the people destroyed their enemies, as the LORD commanded, they would find safety and be blessed (33:28).

Closing thoughts:

As a pastor of forty-four years, I have been privileged to be at the bedside of many saints when they concluded their earthly sojourn and passed through what David described as “the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). I have listened to the final words of a godly grandmother, who by God’s grace, found words to comfort her children and grandchildren. I have stood in the circle of a young family as they embraced at the bedside of a dying father, prayed, and sang songs of faith to comfort him as he drew upon his last breath. I have held the hands of dying saints, who, with the glistening dew of death on their brow, slipped from this life into the loving presence of their Savior.

The words, faith, and testimony of dying saints comfort family, loved ones, and friends. Therefore, let all who love the LORD obey His Word, and live in such a way, that it might be said he was “the man of God” (Deuteronomy 33:1).

Questions to consider:

1) What did Moses give to Israel before his death? (33:1)

2) What were the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel? (33:3-24)

3) How did Moses describe God in Deuteronomy 33:27?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

The End is the Beginning: Getting Ready to Depart (Deuteronomy 31; Deuteronomy 32)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 31-32

Deuteronomy 31

As we near the end of our study of the Book of Deuteronomy, I am reminded of a verse from the song Moses: “So teach us to number our days, That we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Keep in mind, as you read Deuteronomy 31-32, the balance of Moses’ life can be numbered in days, if not hours. This great leader, arguably one of the greatest of all time, was coming to the end of his earthly sojourn (31:2).

Moses’ Exhortation to Israel and Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:1-8)

Mindful of his mortality, Moses reminded the nation he was “an hundred and twenty years old,” and the LORD had said, “Thou shalt not go over this Jordan (31:1-2). With the urgency of a man who knows he will soon be passing, Moses exhorted the people: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (31:6). Then, “in the sight of all Israel,” Moses affirmed Joshua as the leader whom the LORD had chosen to lead the nation into the Promised Land (31:7-8).

Moses’ Challenge to Israel’s Spiritual Leaders (Deuteronomy 31:9-11)

Turning from Joshua, Moses challenged the spiritual leaders of the nation to be the custodians and teachers of the Law and keep the Law and Commandments before the people (31:9). Every seventh year, the priests were to gather the people together, and “read [the] law before all Israel in their hearing” (31:10-11).

God’s Confirmation of Joshua’s Succession (Deuteronomy 31:12-15)

The LORD then commanded Moses, saying, “Thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge” (31:14). The LORD then descended “in a pillar of a cloud…[and] stood over the door of the tabernacle” (31:15).

God’s Revelation of Israel’s Disobedience (Deuteronomy 31:16-18)

With Moses and Joshua standing at the door of the Tabernacle, the LORD revealed that after Israel conquered the Canaanites and took possession of the land, the people would “go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land” (31:16). They would break their covenant with Him (31:16b). and depart from the Law and Commandments. God then warned that He would hide His face and abandon them to the consequences of their idolatry (31:17-18).

A Song of Remembrance and Instruction (Deuteronomy 31:19-21; Deuteronomy 32)

To memorialize His prophecy against Israel, the LORD commanded Moses to write a song, “and teach it, the children of Israel…that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel (31:19). The song was to serve as a testimony of God’s faithfulness, and how He had fulfilled the promises He had made to their forefathers (31:20-21). And so, Moses wrote the song “and taught it [to] the children of Israel” (31:22).

A Public Charge to Joshua and Israel’s Leaders (Deuteronomy 31:22-30)

Deuteronomy 31 concluded with Moses giving a final charge to Joshua in preparing him to assume the leadership of the nation (31:23).  Moses then commanded the Levites to take the record of the Law he had written with his hand (31:24) and “put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD” (31:26). He then stated, what the LORD had revealed to him concerning the hearts of the people, saying, “I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death?” (31:27).

Deuteronomy 32 – The Song of Moses and His Imminent Death

Given the length of Deuteronomy 32, a brief oversight of Moses’ song of praise, worship, and forewarning will need to suffice. First, you will notice the preface of Moses’ song in the first two verses and a declaration of its purpose (32:1-2). Moses then wrote, “I will publish the name of the Lord: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God” (32:3). He then declared that Israel’s God was “the Rock [strong and stable], His work is perfect [complete; lacking nothing]: For all His ways are judgment [He is Just]: A God of truth [trustworthy] and without iniquity [sinless], Just [Righteous; Innocent] and right [straight; upright] is He” (32:4).

After confessing the sinful character of the people, Moses memorialized the LORD’s compassionate care as a testimony of His grace, love, and mercies (32:7-18). He also recorded the tragic prophecy of the nation’s wickedness and God’s punishment that would follow (32:19-33). Yet, though the LORD would use other nations to judge His people, He promised He would not altogether forsake Israel (32:34-43).

After rehearsing the song he had written “in the ears of the people” (32:44), Moses challenged them: “Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law” (32:46).

Closing thoughts:

When Moses finished speaking, the LORD commanded him, “49Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo…and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: 50And die in the mount whither thou goest up” (32:49-50a). Moses evidenced no protest at the LORD’s command and was reminded he would not enter the land (32:51).

From Mount Nebo, Moses looked out on the vastness of the land the LORD had promised Israel (32:52). His sin prevented him from leading the people into the land; however, the LORD had chosen Joshua, and the mantle of leadership now rested on him.

Questions to consider:

1) What assurance did the LORD give Israel that they should be “strong and of a good courage?” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

2) What tribe was responsible for carrying the Ark of the Covenant into the new land? (Deuteronomy 31:9)

3) What solemn event was Israel to observe every seventh year? (Deuteronomy 31:10-11)

4) What did Moses command the Levites to do with the book of the law he had written? (Deuteronomy 31:24-26)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

A Covenant and a Choice of Two Paths (Deuteronomy 29; Deuteronomy 30)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 29-30

Deuteronomy 29 – Renewing the Covenant

Moses declared and recorded God’s Covenant with Israel in Deuteronomy 5 through Deuteronomy 28. He then challenged the people to reaffirm the covenant they had entered into at Mt Horeb forty years prior (Exodus 24). In doing so, the nation would acknowledge its obligation to obey the LORD’s Laws and Commandments (Deuteronomy 29-30).

The Past (Deuteronomy 29:1-9)

Moses then rehearsed with the people all the LORD had done for them in Egypt. He acknowledged how they had been blind to the ways of the LORD (29:4) and reminded them how God had lovingly sustained and preserved them for forty years in the wilderness (29:5-6). Then, in the place they were that day, the LORD had given them victory over their adversaries and their land on the east side of the Jordan as an inheritance for the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and “the half tribe of Manasseh” (29:7-8).

A Summons to Obey (Deuteronomy 29:10-15)

Reminding the people they were standing “before the LORD,” Moses challenged every member of the nation (its captains, elders, officers, women, children, and servants) to “enter into the covenant with the LORD” (29:10-12). Moses promised the LORD would exalt Israel as a nation and be their God as He was with their forefathers (29:13). The promises of the LORD would not only apply to their generation but to their children and children’s children (29:14-15).

An Admonition (Deuteronomy 29:16-29)

Nevertheless, should a “man, or woman, or family, or tribe” turn from the LORD and worship idols, they would bear the sorrow and bitterness of God’s judgment (29:18). Such might be deluded and believe they might find peace walking after their imaginations. Still, Moses warned, “The Lord will not spare him…and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven” (29:20).

If Israel tolerated wickedness in its midst, Moses warned that the judgment of the LORD would leave the land like the “overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah” (29:23). He prophesied the nations would look upon the desolation of Israel and ask, “Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger?” (29:24). Then, men would answer, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt” (29:25).

Deuteronomy 30 – A Promise of Grace and Mercy

An Opportunity of Restoration (Deuteronomy 30:1-10)

Though Israel would reject the LORD and disobey His Law and Commandments, Moses promised He would remember His people and not forget His covenant promises (30:1). While the LORD promised to punish Israel for her disobedience, He also promised to be gracious, merciful, and forgiving if the people would repent of their sins and turn back to Him (30:1-7). Furthermore, should the people repent, God promised to renew His covenant with them and “make [them] plenteous in every work of thine hand…for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers” (30:9).

Ignorance was Not an Excuse (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)

The will and commandments of the LORD were not mysterious or hidden from Israel (30:11-13). Instead, God’s purpose was established, and His will was revealed by His “Word” (30:14).

Two Paths to Choose: Death or Life (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

Deuteronomy 30 concluded with a strong challenge to Israel to know the Word of the LORD was sure. While the path of obedience leads to “life and good,” the way of disobedience leads to “death and evil” (30:15). Choose to keep the LORD’s covenant, and He will bless you. However, disobey God’s Law and Commandments, and you invite His judgment (30:17-18).

So then, summoning heaven and earth to be his witness, Moses warned: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (30:19).

Closing thoughts:

I am reminded that every soul faces the spiritual dilemma of choosing between two paths in life. Faith and obedience are the paths of blessing and eternal life. The way of sin inevitably ends in death and hell. As the shepherd of Israel, Moses longed for the people to love and obey the LORD. After all, that path promised the quality and quantity of life that God alone could provide (Deuteronomy 30:20).

What path have you taken? Are you on the path of obedience and life or disobedience and death?

Questions to consider:

1) Why did Israel need to remember “all that the LORD did” in Egypt and the wilderness? (Deuteronomy 29:2-6)

2) What was the key to Israel’s prosperity in the new land? (Deuteronomy 29:9)

3) What was the condition for Israel to be blessed and fruitful? (Deuteronomy 30:8-10)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

The Curse of a Dying Nation: Feminine Men and Rebellious Feminists (Deuteronomy 28)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 28

The sum of today’s Scripture reading is essentially two words: Blessings and Curses. Deuteronomy 27 concluded with the people affirming their understanding of God’s Covenant and agreeing to its blessings and penalties (27:15-26). Deuteronomy 28 continued the same proclamation, detailing the LORD’s promise of blessings if the people would obey His Laws and Commandments (28:1-14) and curses should they disobey (28:15-68).

The Rewards and Blessings of Faithfulness (Deuteronomy 28:1-14)

The promise of blessings was conditional and would be fulfilled, but only if the people diligently listened to the Lord’s voice “to observe and to do all His commandments.” If the people would “hearken…observe…and do all His commandments,” the LORD promised He would “set [Israel] on high above all nations of the earth” (28:1). All would be blessed, both city and field (28:3), and would be fruitful and increase. Children would be born, cattle would calve, and the flocks of sheep would increase. The fields would give forth a great harvest (28:4-6).

Israel’s enemies would fall before them and be scattered (28:7). Her storehouses and treasuries would overflow (28:8-14).  The LORD promised He would open the treasury of heaven, send rain upon the land, and the world’s nations would become debtors to Israel (28:12). All this was promised if Israel obeyed the LORD’s Law, and His Commandments (28:13-14).

The Penalties of God’s Judgment for Disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68)

The balance of Deuteronomy 28 predicted the punishments that would befall Israel as a nation should the people turn from the LORD and disobey His Law and Commandments (28:15-68). In the same way, the LORD promised to bless the nation if the people obeyed Him; the opposite was true should they disobey Him. The curses are far too extensive for me to address individually; however, I invite you to observe their sum in today’s devotion.

Should Israel reject Him, the LORD warned He would abandon them to their enemies (28:45-47), and the people would become slaves to their enemies (this would come to pass during the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities and be repeated in the Roman era). Their enemies would eat the fruitfulness of their lands, trees, and storehouses. Their cattle and flocks would be destroyed (28:48-51).

Israel was warned that when their cities were besieged, the starving people would turn to cannibalism and eat “the flesh of [their] sons and of [their] daughters” (28:52-53).

Portrait of a Dying Nation: Effeminate Men and Embittered Women (28:54-57)

Their men became effeminate (“tender among you, and very delicate.” 28:54). Their women were no longer “tender and delicate” (28:56). The eyes of a wife would “be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter” (28:56). Leaving her natural affection, Moses warned a mother “shall eat [her children] for want of all things secretly in the siege” (28:57).

Because the people rejected the LORD and disobeyed His Law, He promised to bring upon the nation “great plagues…and sore sicknesses” (28:59). Israel would be overcome with plagues (28:58-60), and the births of the children would be few (28:62-63). Finally, the nation would be conquered, and the people scattered, oppressed, and enslaved (28:64-65).

Fear, dread, and depression would haunt the nation, and the people would dread the night and the dawn (28:66-67). Eventually, they would be taken from their land and “see it no more again…[and] be sold unto [their enemies]” as slaves (28:68). All that Moses warned is documented by the historian Josephus and came to pass in AD 70 when Titus, the Roman General, destroyed Jerusalem. Then, the Jews were scattered throughout the nations of the earth.

Closing thoughts:

Today’s Scripture reading reminded me that the pattern of decadence and decline foretold by Moses is seen in the nations of the world today. Such wickedness precludes the judgment of God upon those nations that reject Him. No nation can long reject God without experiencing moral decay and His judgment.

The trademark of God’s judgment is undeniable when I assess my country. I see the evidence of a nation that God has turned over to its enemies. The United States is an enslaved, debtor nation to our enemies. Our nation’s women have taken the lives of their unborn in grotesque abortions, as surely as if they cannibalize them from the womb (28:52-53). Effeminate men, “tender [and] delicate” (28:54), are celebrated, and rebellious women blight our society with an “evil eye” towards their husbands and children (28:56-57). We have experienced epidemics, a failing birthrate, a fear, and a dread of the future, as I have not witnessed in my lifetime.

The United States, like all nations, is doomed if we do not repent of our sins and turn to God.

Questions to consider:

1) What spiritual benefits would Israel gain if they obeyed the commandments of the LORD? (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

2) What curses would befall Israel if the people refused to heed and obey the commandments of the LORD? (Deuteronomy 28:15-24)

3) Rather than men of strength, how were the rebellious men of Israel described? (Deuteronomy 28:54)

4) What afflictions did Moses prophesy would befall a rebellious nation? (Deuteronomy 28:59-61)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

Choices Always Have Consequences (Deuteronomy 26; Deuteronomy 27)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 26-27

Deuteronomy 26

A Confession of Indebtedness and a Prayer of Thanksgiving (Deuteronomy 26:1-11)

Moses continued his charge to Israel with laws and spiritual principles to guide the people as they became a nation in their land (26:1). Remembering that the blessing of the harvest comes from the LORD (26:1-11), the first-fruits offering was to be taken to the place of worship (Tabernacle). There it was given to the LORD, thus supporting the priests, the Levites, and their households.

Tithes and Offerings for the Poor (Deuteronomy 26:12-15)

A special tithe was given in the third year, coinciding with the tither’s confession that he had honored and obeyed the LORD’s commandments. Rather than taking the tithe of the third year to the Tabernacle, it was used locally to meet the immediate needs of one’s community and to support “the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled” (26:12-15).

The Benefits of Obeying the LORD and Keeping His Commandments (Deuteronomy 26:16-19)

Beginning with Deuteronomy 26:16 and continuing to Deuteronomy 31:13, Moses expounded on the benefits of obeying the LORD and keeping His commandments. He reminded the people that they were to do all that God had commanded with all their hearts and soul (26:16). Israel had been chosen by the LORD “to be His peculiar people,” and He promised “to make [Israel] high above all nations” (26:16-19).

Deuteronomy 27

Renewing the Covenant (Deuteronomy 27:1-10)

Continuing his challenge, Moses was joined by the “elders of Israel,” and he “commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day” (Deuteronomy 27:1).

Lest the people forget all the LORD had done for them, the elders of Israel were commanded to build a pillar of uncut stones on the west side of the Jordan River (Deuteronomy 27:2-8). The stones were to be plastered, and engraved upon them were the Commandments of the Lord, serving as a lasting memorial of the LORD’s promises and commandments. Also, an altar was to be built to sanctify the place (Deuteronomy 27:5-8).

A Rehearsal of the Blessings and Curses Sanctioned by the Law (Deuteronomy 27:11-26)

Continuing his speech to Israel and with the elders beside him, Moses reminded the nation that “Choices have Consequences.” He charged the people that by obeying the Law, they would invite the LORD’s blessings (27:11-12); however, disobedience would arouse His judgments (27:14-26). Should the nation disobey the LORD and reject His Law and Commandments, Moses warned that twelve curses would befall the nation (27:15-26). To each pronouncement, the people assented and answered, “Amen.”

The first through fifth curses (Deuteronomy 27:15-19)

The following violations of the Law and commandments invited God’s judgment and would be cursed: 1) Idolatry, a violation of the first and second commandments, was cursed (Deuteronomy 27:15). 2) Dishonoring one’s parents was cursed (27:16), for it is a violation of the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12). 3) Stealing the property and possessions of another by deceit, a violation of the sixth commandment, was cursed (Deuteronomy 27:17; Exodus 20:15). 4) Taking advantage of one infirmed or disabled was cursed (Deuteronomy 27:18). 5) The fifth curse was upon one who would treat “the stranger, fatherless, and widow” unjustly (Deuteronomy 27:19;Exodus 22:21-24).

Sexual impurity, a violation of the seventh commandment, was addressed by the sixth through ninth curses (Deuteronomy 27:20-23; Ex. 20:14). Specifically addressed and cursed were: 6) Incest with one’s stepmother (Deuteronomy 27:20; Leviticus 18:8-9, 17; Leviticus 20:11); 7) Bestiality (Deuteronomy 27:21; Leviticus 18:23); 8) Incest between siblings and parents (Deuteronomy 27:22); and 9) Incest with one’s mother (Deuteronomy 27:23).

The fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13), was the subject of the tenth and eleventh curses (Deuteronomy 27:24-25): 10) Intentional murder of one’s neighbor (Deuteronomy 27:24), and 11) hiring an assassin to kill another was cursed (Deuteronomy 27:25).

The twelfth and final curse (Deuteronomy 27:26), a sum of the twelve curses, was addressed to any child of Israel who failed to confirm God’s Law and Commandments.

And so the people affirmed all Moses commanded, and all the people gave their assent and said, “Amen” (Deuteronomy 27:26).

Questions to consider:

1) What was Israel to present to the LORD after they took possession of the land? (Deuteronomy 26:1-2)

2) What was Israel instructed to do with the tithes and offerings in the third year? (Deuteronomy 26:12)

3) What did the LORD promise Israel if they kept His law and commandments? (Deuteronomy 26:17-19)

4) What was the first thing Israel was to set up after they crossed the Jordan River? (Deuteronomy 27:2-3)

5) With what word did the people acknowledge and affirm the curses pronounced by the Levites? (Deuteronomy 27:15-26).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

Moral Dilemmas: Divorce, Debt, and Human Trafficking (Deuteronomy 24; Deuteronomy 25)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 24-25

Our Scripture reading continues with Moses setting forward various laws that would guide Israel in matters of marriage, family, societal civility, business, and government.

Deuteronomy 24

Principles Regarding Marriage and Divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1-5)

Divorce is addressed, sadly indicative of man’s sinful heart. We understand that God’s desire for man and wife is: “A man…shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Yet, because man’s nature is bent away from God, the Lord allowed (through Moses) for a writing of divorcement when there was a valid reason.

Moses allowed for divorce in this passage; however, I remind you that was never God’s plan or will. What is the will of the LORD? The sum of God’s will for marriage is this: “A man…shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

The Pharisees questioned Christ on this subject and asked, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife [divorce]for every cause?” (Matthew 19:3) The LORD answered, citing the “one flesh” principle and added, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).

Displeased with His answer, the Pharisees pressed Him, saying, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” (Matthew 19:7). Christ answered and diagnosed the deplorable basis for Moses permitting divorce (Deuteronomy 24).

Matthew 19:8–98He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered [allowed] you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so9And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

A Moral Guideline for the Borrower and Lender (Deuteronomy 24:6)

Taking an upper millstone is foreign to most until we understand Moses referred to the stones used to grind grain into flour. So, a lender was warned he could not take for a surety the “upper millstone,” for by it, a family could grind grain into flour and bake bread for the family.

A Solution to Human Trafficking (Deuteronomy 24:7)

One of the great abominations of the 21st century is human trafficking (in essence, modern slavery). Forcefully taking children, women, and men and subjecting them to the darkness of moral depravity has been and continues to be an appalling wickedness. In the words of the Scripture, anyone found guilty of “[making] merchandise…or selleth [selling] him” shall be put to death (24:7).

If the judgment of the Scriptures were practiced in our day, victims of human trafficking would receive justice and human traffickers would be dispatched to a swift judgment: “Thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deuteronomy 19:21).

Charitable Obligations (Deuteronomy 24:10-22)

Today’s false teachers and preachers have led many to believe the laws of the Old Testament were lacking in grace. They support their reason and boast that we live in an “Age of Grace.” Indeed, we do, but grace has been a part of every age because God is a part of every age. He has been and continues to be immutable – the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, characterizing the Law and Commandments as “graceless” suggests the LORD was graceless, which is heresy.

Deuteronomy 24:10-22 proved that God was sensitive and compassionate concerning the condition of the poor, the weak, the orphan, and the widow. For example, in ancient times, the poor often had nothing more than the “clothes on their backs.” Robes were the attire for those times, and men generally wore inner and outer robes. The inner robe afforded modesty, while the outer robe protected against the elements and provided warmth at night.

Should a man of little means borrow, his outer robe might serve as the surety or pledge for his debt (24:10-11). However, the lender was not to humiliate a debtor and take by force the robe of a poor man while he was in his house (24:10-11). Also, in the evening, the lender was to return the outer robe so that the man “may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee” (24:13).

Admonitions Against Injustices (Deuteronomy 24:14-18)

Day laborers were paid their wages at the end of a workday (24:14). Also, everyone was to bear the consequences and punishment for their sins. Therefore, a father was not to be punished for the sins of his children, nor were his children to be punished for the sins of their father (24:16).

Charity Was the Law (Deuteronomy 24:19-22)

In ancient times there was no welfare system, and the impoverished were a perpetual presence on the earth. Tragically, widows were sometimes forsaken by their children, orphans were neglected, and foreigners often found themselves homeless. Moses reminded the congregation how Israel suffered bondage in Egypt. He urged the people to remember the poor and let them glean the leftovers from their fields, olive trees, and grapevines.

Deuteronomy 25

Time and space prevent a thorough commentary on Deuteronomy 25; however, I suggest the following outline of principles for your study.

I. Capital Punishment and Civil Justice (Deuteronomy 25:1-4)

II. Family Posterity (Deuteronomy 25:5-12)

III. Business and Commerce (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)

IV. The Offence of an Enemy (Deuteronomy 25:17-19)

Closing thoughts:

Once again, I trust you have seen the grace of God evidenced throughout His Laws and Commandments. Although some invite believers to ignore the Old Testament altogether, they do so at their peril and that of their followers. But, of course, the greatest expression of God’s Law and grace is identified in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (1 Peter 2:21-24).

Questions to consider:

1) Could a divorced man remarry his wife after she had been married to another man? (Deuteronomy 24:4)

2) What was God’s judgment concerning human traffickers? (Deuteronomy 24:7)

3) Rather than long terms of imprisonment, how was an offense settled in Israel? (Deuteronomy 25:1-3)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

Feminization, Sanitation, and Compassion (Deuteronomy 23)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 23

We continue our study of Moses’ challenge to Israel as he prepared that nation to go forward without him as its leader. Some of the principles in today’s Scripture may seem mundane; however, such was not the case for a nation that had suffered the humiliation of bondage for four centuries.

Moses taught the children of Israel how to conduct themselves in the sight of the LORD and preserve their sanctity as His people. In today’s devotion, we will consider the right of citizenship in ancient Israel and the exclusion of some from “the congregation of the LORD” (23:1).

The Feminization and Castration of Men Was Forbidden (23:1)

The topic of mutilation or castration is one in which we must use discretion; however, the LORD was clear in His instruction concerning honoring one’s vessel (i.e., body). There was to be no mutualization of a man’s private parts, for such was unnatural and against God’s created order.

Illegitimate Sons (23:2)

Sons born of adultery, or incest, were to be excluded in Israel unto the “tenth generation” (23:2). Also, sons borne of extra-marital relationships were excluded, for their conception was contrary to the will and design of God’s order.

Ammonites and Moabites Were Not Permitted in Israel (23:3-6)

These nations were the offspring of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughters (Genesis 19:30-38). While the Ammonites and Moabites might live in the land, they were not accepted as part of the congregation of Israel (the exception could be if one became a proselyte of the God of Israel, as was the case with Ruth the Moabitess, who became the wife of Boaz, Ruth 1:4; 4:13). Also, the Ammonites and Moabites had made themselves adversaries of Israel by hiring Balaam to curse the people (23:4-6).

Edomites and Egyptians (23:7-8)

Edom and Egypt were not friends of Israel; however, both had a history that prevented their complete exclusion. The Edomites were of the lineage of Esau and, therefore, distant kin of Israel through Isaac (for Esau was Jacob’s brother, 23:7). Egypt was also an exception, for that nation had been the host of Israel during their sojourn in that land. 

Cleanness and Purity in Times of War (23:9-11)

Remembering the presence of the LORD was represented by the Tabernacle amid the encampment; the people were reminded to keep themselves clean (23:9-10). A man who was not clean was to remain outside the camp until the evening and “wash himself with water” before entering the camp (23:11).

A Lesson in Sanitation (23:12-14)

The sanitation guidelines given by Moses to Israel placed that nation centuries ahead of other countries. The tribes were instructed to practice cleanliness and basic sanitation. They were not to answer nature’s call (i.e., to relieve themselves) within the camp. Instead, they were instructed to go outside the camp’s borders, “have a paddle” (a spade or shovel), and cover their excrement.

We understand much about sanitation and disease today; however, only in the past two centuries has proper hygiene been fully appreciated. The sanitation commanded by the LORD was not only because He dwelt amid His people but also because it was right and good for the health and well-being of the people (23:14).

Compassion for a Fleeing Slave (23:15-16)

A slave that had fled from his heathen master and sought refuge in Israel was not to be returned to his master (23:15). Instead, he was given shelter in the land and allowed to dwell where he chose (23:16).

Prostitution and Sodomy Condemned (23:17-18)

All manner of gross immorality accompanied the worship of idols in ancient times. Whoredom, and sodomy were ever present among the heathen nations. No daughter of Israel was to fall into whoredom, and no son was to be a homosexual (described as “the price of a dog,” thus graphically describing the debasement of sodomy, 23:18).

Usury: Charging Interest on Debts (23:19-20)

Israelite men were not to charge their fellow man (“thy brother”) interest for borrowing money (23:19). A “stranger,” however, a non-Hebrew, was lawfully charged interest on debts (23:20).

To Vow, Or Not to Vow (23:21-23)

Swearing an oath, or vowing a vow, was a serious matter with the LORD and was not to be taken lightly (23:21). No man was to “vow a vow unto the LORD” and fail to fulfill it without delay (23:21b). Indeed, it would be better not to have committed oneself to a vow, than to do so and fail to fulfill it (23:22-23).

To Eat, or Not to Eat (23:24-25)

Suppose a man is hungry and lacks the means to feed himself. Should that man be permitted to take from another’s field or vineyard and satisfy his hunger? The answer was recorded in Deuteronomy 23:24-25 which reminds us that the God of Israel was compassionate and merciful.

A hungry man was allowed to eat grapes from his neighbor’s vineyard and take wheat kernels from his neighbor’s field. He could not, however, go into his neighbor’s field with a vessel and fill it. So, instead, he was allowed to take only what he needed to quench his hunger.

Closing thoughts:

The growth of incivility we observe today is attributable to society rejecting the spiritual principles and precepts of God’s Word. I trust you are developing an appreciation for the judicious nature of the LORD and His grace and compassion expressed in His Law and Commandments. The LORD requires that we exercise grace and common decency toward others.

Questions to consider:

1) Who was excluded from entering the congregation of Israel? (23:1-6)

2) What was the law concerning a slave who had escaped his harsh master? (23:15-16)

3) How serious were vows made to the LORD? (23:21-23)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.

“WOKE,” Civility, Women’s Rights, and Sexual Perversity (Deuteronomy 21; Deuteronomy 22)

Click on this link for translations of today’s devotion.

(Additional languages available upon request by emailing HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com.)

Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 21-22

Warning: You may find the content of today’s devotion inflammatory; however, its immediate relevance is undeniable.

Moses continued his charge to Israel in our Scripture reading. In Deuteronomy 21-22, fundamental principles establish the sanctity of human life, the basics of civil decency and human kindness, and the practical application of the command, “love thy neighbor.”

Deuteronomy 21 – Fundamentals of Civil Duty

“Thou Shalt Not Kill” (Deuteronomy 21:1-9)

In our study of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), we have considered several passages of Scripture that explain the sanctity of human life and the sixth commandment that reads, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). Capital punishment, a “life for a life,” was God’s judgment upon the man who willfully, and deliberately took the life of another (19:11-13, 21). In addition, Deuteronomy 21:1-9 addressed the loss of human life, should a victim’s body be discovered, but there are no witnesses to the murder.

Concerning Women Taken as Spoil of Wartimes (21:10-14)

Ancient cultures considered women taken as prisoners in war to be nothing more than a possession, a spoil of battle. The God of Israel, however, established laws to protect women. Should a man desire to take a female prisoner as his wife, he was to allow her head to be shaved, an outward symbol of her purification, and give her thirty days to mourn her parents’ deaths before taking her as his wife (21:12-13). Should the man later decide to reject her, he was to set her at liberty and was commanded to neither sell nor humiliate her (21:14).

The Inheritance Rights of a Firstborn Son (21:15-17)

Some propose that the reference to “two wives” (21:15) suggested polygamy; however, I believe it is not. From our study of the Book of Genesis, we know that God defined marriage as “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24), meaning the union of one man and one woman. Therefore, polygamy cannot be the intent of Deuteronomy 21:15, for the Mosaic Law did not redefine what God Himself had designed and established.

In my opinion, the explanation for the reference to “two wives” (one being described as “beloved” and the other “hated”) implied that the first wife was dead. In this example, the first wife had given birth to a son; as the firstborn son, he was the husband’s heir (21:15-16). The second wife, the stepmother of the firstborn son, would perhaps be tempted to influence her husband to disown his firstborn; thereby choosing her son to be his heir (21:16). The LORD condemned that practice. He declared that the firstborn son would be given “a double portion” of all that was his father’s (21:17).

Capital Punishment of a Rebellious Son (21:18-21)

A disobedient son, defined as “stubborn and rebellious” (21:18), refused to hear and obey his father and mother. Such a son (described as “a glutton, and a drunkard”) would be brought before the city elders, who would sit in judgment of his character (21:19-20).

I understand that stoning a rebellious son is undoubtedly offensive to our 21st-century sensibilities. Yet, given the severity of the punishment, we can conclude that it was a rare event. Indeed, such a judgment required the consent of both the father and mother (21:19-20). Yet, should the city’s elders find the son guilty, he would have been stoned to death by the “men of his city” (21:21).

Deuteronomy 22 – Having a Good Conscience

Compassion for a Neighbor’s Livestock (22:1-4)

We are reminded that God’s people were to love their neighbors. That command applied to his person and was demonstrated practically in one’s duty to his neighbor’s livestock, clothes, and possessions (22:1-3). Should a man’s ox, sheep, or donkey be astray, his neighbor was to restore them to their owner. Should the owner not be readily known, an Israelite was commanded to take the animal to his home until its rightful owner was established (22:2). Once again, we are reminded that God is benevolent. He required compassion for the animals of His creation (22:4).

An Abomination: TransgenderTransexuals (22:5)

There is much ado about the “rights” of self-declared “Queers, “Transexuals,” and “Asexuals” in 21st-century society. Such people aspire to blend and distort the natural differences between males and females in their dress and manner. It may surprise you to learn that blurring the distinctiveness in the sexes is not a “new woke” (as some would have you believe). Indeed, it was declared an “abomination unto the LORD” in the Scriptures and condemned as a practice among ancient heathen societies (22:5).

Compassion and Affection for Nature (22:6-7)

From the beginning, humanity was commanded to be the “keeper” of God’s creation (Genesis 2:15). It follows, therefore, that even the smallest of creatures should arouse in man a natural affection and compassion (22:7).

Closing thoughts:

Several other laws and guidelines are given in Deuteronomy 22, but I conclude this devotion by inviting you to notice the LORD’s protection of womankind (22:13-29).

Unlike their heathen neighbors, Israelite women were protected and shielded from abuses that are even prevalent today. For example, a woman had the right to due process should her purity and testimony be questioned. Also, should a woman be forcefully taken and raped, the severity of the law would fall upon the man, and he would forfeit his life for his sin (22:25-27).

Tragically, our nation and world have rejected the authority of God’s Word and removed itself from the divine guiding principles for life and civil society. We have become a people with laws divorced from unalterable principles. As a result, we are governed by the whims of wicked, unprincipled men and women. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah’s condemnation of the wicked is applicable and relevant when we read:

Isaiah 5:20-21 – “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21  Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”

Questions to consider:

1) How were captive, enslaved women to be treated in Israel? (21:10-14)

2) What might become of a rebellious son? (21:19-19)

3) Why would the adage “finders, keepers” not apply to God’s people? (22:1-3)

4) What was the law concerning a man dressing like a woman or a woman dressing like a man? (22:5)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals and have them sent directly to your email address. Please enter your email address in the box to the right (if using a computer) or at the bottom (if using a cell phone). You may also email your request to HeartofAShepherdInc@gmail.com

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization.