Monday, November 30, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 28

Deuteronomy 28

-This is an amazing prophetic chapter describing the blessings of obedience to the Law of the LORD for His people in Israel and the curses of disobedience should they choose to stray away from their covenant God. The first fourteen verses delineate the prosperity of doing things God’s way. These blessings will come upon them and overtake them if they are diligent to keep the commands of the LORD their God. They will be blessed in the city, in the country, in their offspring, in their produce from the ground and animals. They will be blessed when they come in and go out. Their enemies will be cursed and scatter before them in seven (complete) directions. All that they do will prosper in the land. They will be established as a holy people, called by His Name, and feared among the nations of the world. God will open up His “good storehouse” from the heavens to give rain in its season (of appointed times) to bless the works of their hands. The result? They will become a creditor nation rather than a debtor nation. They will become the head and not the tail (top not the bottom, brain not the butt). All of this will happen IF they listen to the LORD and observe His decrees carefully and faithfully (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

-The reverse is then given for the remaining verses in this text (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). Notice that the warnings are more distinct and graphic as a warning to the people of God on the front end. Sadly and tragically, they ended up going this way in the course of their earthly kingdom (2 Chronicles 36, see Jeremiah and Lamentations among many other Scriptures). The curses center around the themes of suffering, lack of provision, and weakness. There will be constant oppression and destruction for their waywardness and unfaithfulness. The details are astounding and descriptive of what actually happened in their land as they would follow idols other than the Living God. God was showing His goodness in foretelling what they would experience if they turned away from Him. They were without excuse when disaster occurred (2 Chronicles 36:15-16). The LORD delighted to prosper them as long as they trusted only in Him, but He disciplined them severely when they left their first love. They would be scattered throughout the nations without rest because of their own freewill choices. Nevertheless, God would eventually promise to bring them back as the faithful covenant keeper that He is (Deuteronomy 30:4 among many other prophetic Scriptures).

-*Application* God still has high expectations and gives us the choice to follow Him on our own accord. While He knows the direction we will go before it ever happens, from our perspective we still have some important decisions to make. As this book concludes over the next several chapters, we are faced with some important biblical teaching and doctrine. Choose life or death, blessings or curses, faith or unbelief. God is good and wants to prosper us in every way. Do you believe that today, or are you still a skeptic? His ways are higher than ours and we must come up to His standard if we are to live (Isaiah 55:6-9). Great thing about that though, is that He paid it all on Calvary giving us the opportunity to simply receive His righteousness to cover our transgressions by faith (Luke 23:33, Ephesians 2:1-10, Titus 3:3-8). His compassions, they fail not.

Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 27

Deuteronomy 27

-As the children of Israel were preparing to enter the land, Moses, along with the elders, begin their last charge to have the people of God keep all of His commandments that they had given them. When they crossed over the Jordan River, they were instructed to set up large stones, coat them with mortar and write all the words of the Mosaic Law upon them. These were to be uncut stones using none of men’s tools (Exodus 20:24-25), and this would be a prerequisite for entrance into the Promised Land. Along with this memorial structure, an altar was to be built there on Mount Ebal to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings to the LORD their God with eating and rejoicing before their Sovereign. The words of this Law were to be written very distinctly for all to observe for this day they become the people of God with the expectation of complete and utter obedience to His commands and statutes (Deuteronomy 27:1-10).

-Moses also charged the people on that day imploring them to stand on two mountains: Gerizim to bless the people, and Ebal to pronounce the curses from not following the Law. On Mount Gerizim would stand the tribes of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. On Mount Ebal would stand the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. The Levites were to answer these recitations with the curses of not following the Law. They would proclaim in a loud voice, and then all the people would respond with an authoritative and boisterous “Amen!” Here are the curses pronounced. Cursed is the man who: makes an idol or a molten image (an abomination as the works of man’s hands set up in secret), dishonors his parents, moves his neighbor’s boundary mark, misleads a blind person on the road, distorts justice due an alien, orphan, or widow, lies with his father’s wife, lies with an animal, lies with his sister, lies with his mother-in-law, strikes his neighbor in secret, accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person, and refuses to confirm the Law by doing it (Deuteronomy 27:11-26).

-*Application* God is definitely in the business of putting before us blessings and curses. His desire is to lovingly put before us, on the front end, the consequences for doing things our own way, which amounts to foolishness and depravity. His actions should not be considered as threats, but concerned warnings that we can avoid for a blessed and prosperous existence. The ancient saying is true, a man will reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7-9). God is giving us wisdom if we will only listen to it and apply it. Choose His ways and enjoy His favor. Deny them and eventually there will be serious regret.

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 27:2-3

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 26

Deuteronomy 26

-In this final law section of the book, Moses outlines God’s requirement for bringing in the first fruits to the place that the LORD would choose to establish His Name (again this will be the Temple in Jerusalem). The finest of the first fruits were to be put in a basket and offered to the priest who is in office with a declaration to the LORD’s goodness for all His many blessings. This was to be a joyful time of celebration for the abundance of God’s provision as it was set down before the altar in gratitude. The children of Israel had come a long way. Their ancestors were wandering Arameans who had gone down to Egypt bankrupt and destitute. God had miraculously saved them from famine, made them and strong and numerous nation, and brought them to the Promised Land. God had heard their voice in their cries from the affliction they were under. Their toil and oppression was seen by their Heavenly Father, and He acted on their behalf according to His faithful promise. With a mighty Hand and an outstretched Arm, with great terror, signs, and wonders, God brought them out of slavery into new life in the land flowing with milk and honey. All these things the people were to acknowledge as they presented their first fruits of their increase before the LORD in His sanctuary. They were to worship and adore Him for His goodness, kindness, and compassion. And, these things extended to the Levite, the orphan, the widow, and the alien. This was in keeping with all they had been commanded by the Sovereign Almighty. They were not to violate any of His conditions and chinch out on their offering. Every statute, ordinance, and command were to be carefully observed with all their heart and soul in order to walk in His ways and listen to His Voice alone. This would ensure continued prosperity and success in the land to which they were going. If this Law was followed, they would be established high above all the nations that God had made for praise, fame, and honor. They were to be a consecrated people to the LORD their God, as He had spoken (Deuteronomy 26:1-19).

-*Application* This is the time of Thanksgiving in our land. We celebrate all of God’s bountiful provision with loved ones and reflect during this season. What a mighty God we serve! What a compassionate and faithful Lord! Rejoice in His goodness!!!

Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 26:7-10

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 25

Deuteronomy 25

-The laws of the land continue to roll along in this descriptive chapter. Disputes between men that go to court shall come before the judges to decide their case. They are the ones who justify the righteous and condemn the wicked without partiality (Deuteronomy 16:18-20). If the wicked man deserved to be beaten, he had to lie down and be whipped in the presence of the righteous with the number of stripes according to his guilt up to 40 times, but no more than that. A fellow countryman, even though condemned, was not to be degraded beyond that in the society (Deuteronomy 25:1-3).

-Additional commands are then given. The muzzling of the ox while he was threshing had agricultural value, which Paul picks up on in the New Testament to have significance to rightful compensation and fairness. The oxen were used in these ancient times to tread out the grain on the threshing floor. He had poles attached to him so he could pull a large millstone around and around while his hooves pressed down and trampled the grain separating the kernels from the chaff. At the same time, the millstone would grind the grain into flour. To muzzle the ox would be to keep it from eating while it was working hard for the people’s benefit. *Application* Two principles here are worth considering. Don’t treat people unjustly when you have the opportunity to bless them, and it is reasonable to expect compensation for the labor that you indeed perform for others (Deuteronomy 24:15; 25:4, 2 Corinthians 9:10, 1 Timothy 5:17-18, ideas came from NASB Life Application Study Bible, Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995, p. 317).

-The protocol for taking a deceased brother’s wife to propagate and carry on the family name is detailed in the following verses (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). There are some interesting concepts that the nation of Israel was to follow if the brother of the deceased were to reject the departed’s wife. She could go to the elders of the town telling them her plight, since she was very dependent in this culture on a bread winner for the family, and his unwillingness to perform his familial duties. In the sight of the elders she was to pull off her brother-in-law’s sandal and spit in his face, declaring, “Thus it is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.” And that man will be dubiously labelled, “The house of him whose sandal is removed (Deuteronomy 25:7-10).” Another interesting and graphic law revolved around a wife getting into a struggle in support of her husband. If she grabbed and seized the enemy’s genitals, her hand was to be cut off and shown no pity (Deuteronomy 25:11-12). All I can about that is WOW, the Bible is a detailed reality book is it not?

-Differing weights and measures are prohibited in the society in an attempt to keep justice and impartiality. Abiding by this law will prolong their days in the land according to the LORD. “For everyone who does these things, everyone who acts unjustly is an abomination to the LORD your God (Deuteronomy 25:13-16).”

-The last section exhorts the children of Israel to “remember what Amalek did” to them along their way when they came out of from Egypt. Amalek met them on the way and attacked their stragglers at the rear when they were faint and weary. Amalek “did not fear God.” Therefore, God commands them when they have been given peace from all their surrounding enemies and they are secure in the land that they “shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And, they were not to forget this command (Deuteronomy 25:17-19).

-*Application* Justice remains the theme as we contemplate this evocative chapter. God’s just judgment is what we deserve; His grace is a precious gift that we can receive when we believe and repent.

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 25:16

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 24

Deuteronomy 24

-This next section starts out with laws of divorce within the nation of Israel. If a man finds indecency removing his favor, he is allowed to write her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand sending her out of his house. She is then free to leave and become another man’s wife. If that latter husband also turns against her and writes another certificate of divorce putting it in her hand and sending her out of his house, the former husband is not allowed to take her back again to be his wife. In other words, there will be no wife swapping in God’s country. She is considered defiled, and the Bible says very clearly that it is an abomination before the LORD bringing sin upon the land (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). When Jesus was asked about this issue, He was very clear about the intent of all these things written in the perfect Law of the LORD. He told His audience very matter of factly that it was man’s “hardness of heart” that permitted for divorce, not God’s intended plan (Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-9). A further marriage provision is now given in the Law of the Promised Land that seems like an awesome idea. “When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken (Deuteronomy 24:5).” I wish that law applied to America J. God was concerned about establishing a happy, joyful, and prosperous home life between man and wife.

-The text then moves back into more diverse-sundry laws for the society of God. Verse six has to do with not taking the handmill or upper millstone in pledge. Taking these things would be to take a poor man’s sustenance from him because this is what was used in the home to make bread for their society. Kidnapping is then outlawed. If a person who was kidnapped and treated violently or sold into slavery, that perpetrating thief would be dealt capital punishment; again this was for the purpose of purging the evil from among the populace (Deuteronomy 24:7). The Levitical Law was to be carefully observed by the ordinary people of the land in regards to leprosy infections with a call to remember what happened to Miriam in the wilderness journey (Leviticus 13-14, Numbers 12, Deuteronomy 24:8-9). Certain laws for taking a pledge in regards to loans were commanded with special care given for those who may have been poor. Also, how wages should be distributed were covered to prevent injustice, which amounts to sin. The sum of this is stated as such, “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns (Deuteronomy 24:10-15). A further area that was dealt with pertained to individual responsibility for crimes committed in the land. Fathers were not allowed to be put to death for their sons mistakes, and sons were never to be put to death for their fathers faults (Deuteronomy 24:16). No perversion of justice was to be allowed in Israel and those laws extended to aliens, orphans, and widows. The Israelites were again reminded that they had been redeemed from slavery in Egypt, and that they were to deal kindly with all involved in their culture. Reaping laws were put into effect to benefit the needy such as not going back to pick up forgotten sheaves of wheat in the field, not beating the boughs of the olive tree a second time in harvesting, and not regathering grapes a second time from the vineyard (Deuteronomy 24:17-22).

-*Application* All of these laws are put into place with regards to having the right kind of heart. It will be easy for us to follow all the laws of God if our heart is right with Him. The problem is, our natural hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Apart from the saving life of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that indwells us upon our acceptance of Him, we are in desperate trouble. Once we have His righteousness, things clear up and we can do the mighty acts of God joyfully and generously as we continually grow in His grace (Matthew 6:33, Romans 3:19-31, Ephesians 2:1-10).

Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 24:14, 17

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 23

Deuteronomy 23

-Some more sundry laws for the civilization coming into the land were stressed here in chapter 23. Men who had had their testicles or male organ removed were not allowed to enter the assembly of the LORD along with those who had been born from illegitimate births up to the tenth generation. What do you think this says legally about people’s perception of Jesus when He came along? No Ammonite or Moabite was allowed into the assembly of the LORD up to the tenth generation because they refused food and water to the Hebrews in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, and because they hired Balaam to curse the Hebrews, which didn’t work out too well. “Nevertheless, the LORD your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God loves you.” In fact they were never to seek these peoples’ peace or their prosperity all their days (Deuteronomy 23:1-6). On the other hand, the Edomites, who were their brothers, were not to be detested along with the Egyptians. The Egyptians were to be allowed because they had provided a safe haven for the sons of Israel while they were aliens in their land even though that eventually turned into slavery after hundreds of years (Exodus 1:8-13). The sons of the third generation who were born to them could enter the assembly of the LORD (Deuteronomy 23:7-8).

-When the armies of Israel were to go out against their enemies, they were required to keep themselves “from every evil thing.” Nocturnal emissions, or what we might call “wet dreams,” were considered unclean resulting in that man being excused from the camp until evening with a cleansing bath and return to camp at sundown. Excrement was to be properly disposed of with a spade outside the camp. God walked through this army’s camp to deliver and defeat His enemies. Therefore, the Hebrews camp was to be holy with nothing indecent among them. Else, He would turn away from them and withhold His blessings (Deuteronomy 23:9-14).

-Slave/master relations were delineated further now. A slave that ran from a previous owner and came into a new situation was to remain at the new master’s house. He was to live in their midst in the place of his choosing in a town that pleased him. Masters were not allowed to mistreat any of their slaves. This is the bill of rights for slaves that was extremely humane providing extensive considerations (Deuteronomy 23:15-16). Along with that, God informed His children that none of the daughters of Israel were allowed to be cult prostitutes, nor any of the sons. The harlot for hire and “the wages of a dog” (keleb- a male prostitute or sodomite) were never to be brought into the house of the LORD for a votive (neder- an avowed gift) offering. Both of these are an abomination unto the LORD (Deuteronomy 23:17-18).

-Countrymen of Israel could not charge one another interest on anything that was loaned. Foreigners could be charged interest, but not any of the Israelis. This would ensure God’s blessings in all that they would undertake in the land. It rewarded a spirit of generosity within the community (Deuteronomy 23:19-20). Vows to the LORD would need to be repaid without delay. Otherwise, it would be considered a sin in them and the LORD would require retribution. Refraining from a vow was a better option since it carried no weight of sin in them. The point was this, “You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised (Deuteronomy 23:21-23, Matthew 5:33-37).” The final two verses deal with being able to go into neighbor’s vineyards and grain fields. Everyone was to share their grapes, but gathers were not allowed to put the grapes in a basket. Standing grain could be plucked, but they were not allowed to wield a sickle in their neighbor’s standing grain (Deuteronomy 23:24-25). This also propagated the idea of generosity and sharing within the society. The land would, in many ways, be communal property.  

-*Application* The humanitarian side of Israel’s society is the thing that should jump out at us the most from this passage. Everyone should be treated with grace, common courtesy, and dignity. We have to remember that God created each one of us as human beings with love and respect. We should love our fellow man and treat him as we would want to be treated. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). How good are we doing at that?

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 23:5

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 22

Deuteronomy 22

-Various laws for societal progress and order are continued in this section. The first idea promoted by the LORD revolved around returning lost items to their rightful owner. In their agrarian culture this involved animals primarily like sheep, which do have a tendency to wander away, donkeys, and it extended to everything. Even garments were required to be returned or held until the person to whom it belonged could retrieve them. Animals that were fallen down and hurt on the way had to be taken care of. It was wrong to neglect them. They were required to help raise them back up. This was the neighborly thing to do and relates closely to Jesus’ parable in Luke 10:25-37 (Deuteronomy 22:1-4). Things like transgender dressing, which is an abomination to the LORD, and caring for birds with eggs or babies are discussed for the prolonging of days in the land which the LORD was blessing them with. Then, some practical considerations for every day healthy living were covered. Guardrails on roofs of newly built houses so people wouldn’t fall off were implemented, as were sowing with only one kind of seed in their vineyards, which could corrupt it. An ox and donkey were not allowed to plow together with the same yoke, and a material mixed with wool and linen together was not allowed to be worn. The tassels on the four corners of their garment that was their outer covering was also required (Deuteronomy 22:5-12).

-Laws of sexual morality were then outlined in further detail to the previously given commands by the LORD. If a wife was accused of not being a virgin upon becoming married, there was a just and fair process for seeing if the indictment was true or not. If a man falsely accused, he was to be chastised by the elders of the community and fined 100 shekels of silver to be given to the girl’s father because of his causing a public humiliation. But if the charge were accurate and found to be true, the girl was to be stoned to death for committing an “act of folly” in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house. This would “purge the evil from Israel (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).” If a man was found in adultery with a married woman, both of them deserved to die. If a man goes into a woman that is an engaged virgin inside the city and she does not cry out to protect herself, both her and the man who committed this sexual sin were to be brought out to the gate of the city and stoned to death. This betrothal period was considered to be a violation against a neighbor’s wife, and the society was required, again, to “purge the evil” from among them. This was to be a totally chaste people group. There was a practical clause for this activity that happened to occur outside the city areas in the open fields where no one was at. A rape in the desolate areas would incur guilt only on the man, since there was no one to hear the girl cry out in these types of places. She had not committed a sin worthy of death in these instances. Further, if a man takes a virgin who is not engaged and seizes her and lies with her and are discovered, then the man who did the deed was required to give the girl’s father 50 shekels of silver, and he was made to marry her without any chance of divorce all his days. Finally, a man was not allowed to take his father’s wife. This would be dishonoring and humiliating to the patriarch (Deuteronomy 22:13-30).

-*Application* The degradation of a society does not take long when courteous and practical rules for well-being are not followed. The Law restrains evil and is a necessary part of any civilization. We may disagree on the severity of punishments, but measures must be put in place to negate vile behavior. Sexual sins, which become paramount in the concluding verses of this pericope, are not innocent dabblings in taboo pleasures. They disrupt and eventually destroy the saneness of a culture. They confuse and eradicate the climate of respect, trust, and credibility so important and vital for solid marriages and secure children. For us, we must understand the consequences and stand for purity in the sincere love for our neighbor. This is the continuing commandment of the LORD (1 Corinthians 6:15-20, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8).

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 22:5

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 21

Deuteronomy 21

-This chapter begins a section on laws for human relations in the country of Israel with significance for all civilizations. First thing covered is the unfortunate event of a manslaying that has gone unwitnessed and unknown. When the Israelis find a slain person lying in the open country in the land, there is a certain prescription with how to handle the situation. The elders and judges will go out and actually measure the distance to the surrounding cities to verify whose city the body is closest to. The closest city will have the elders take a heifer from the herd, which has not worked nor pulled in a yoke, and bring the animal down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown. They will break the neck of the heifer there in the valley, and then have the Levitical priests of the area, who have been chosen to serve God and bless in His Name and settle every dispute and assault, come near and have the elders wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley. They will then profess that “our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it.” They will ask the LORD for forgiveness from the redeeming Father with the expectation that He will not place the innocent blood guiltiness on them. This prescription will remove the guilt of innocent blood from the midst of Israel as they do what is right in the eyes of the LORD (Deuteronomy 21:1-9).

-Next, in the area of domestic relations, God gives provisions for taking a wife from the conquered foes. These desired women should be taken to the man’s home. When there, her head was to be shaved, and her nails trimmed. She was to remove her captivity clothes and remain in the house for a full month so she could mourn her father and mother who was lost. After that, the Hebrew man was allowed to go into her as her husband making her his wife. If the man was not pleased with her, he could let her go wherever she wished, but there was a prohibition that the man could never sell her for money, nor could he mistreat her because he had humbled her (Deuteronomy 21:10-14). Further, in the case of two wives with a preferential partner that was loved more, the man could not pick the firstborn. Jacob would have been an earlier example of the reason for this law (Genesis 29:1-35:29). Therefore, an acknowledgement of the firstborn was objective as he was to be given a double portion of the inheritance, “for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).”

-Another domestic situation that was covered dealt with stubborn and rebellious sons who would not listen to nor obey their parents even when chastised. These rebels would be seized by their parents and brought to the elders of the city at the gateway of his hometown. In public humiliation the son would be called out as a rebellious, gluttonous, drunkard. Then the men of his city were required to stone him to death for the purpose of removing the evil from their midst. All of Israel will hear of it and fear. Honoring the father and mother was serious business in the land (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

-A final claim is made which has prophetic implications. “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:22-23, Matthew 27:57-60, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:30-42).”

-*Application* Man’s sin has always been an extreme affront to the Holy God of the universe. He deals with it brutally as we see here in these verses. But as just as His condemnation is, and the fear it causes, the grace He shows in sending His only begotten Son to die as a curse in our place shows us the love and mercy of the Father all at the same time (John 3:16). Forgiveness is what mankind needs more than anything else because every single one of us have transgressed His perfection outlined in His Law (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is physical and spiritual death, but the free gift of God is eternal spiritual life in a resurrected body through the amazing sacrifice of Jesus Christ our LORD (Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 15:12-58). We all deserve death, and there is great fear in that. Thank God that perfect love, which comes when we receive His Son, casts out all that fear (1 John 4:15-18).

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 21:23

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 20

Deuteronomy 20

-The laws of warfare for the children of Israel are described in this chapter again as a preparation for possession of the land. First of all, they were commanded to “not be afraid of them.” They would see seemingly insurmountable situations, but they were to trust in their God for victory after victory, which He promised them. When approaching the battle, the priest had an integral role as he was to come near before them and speak. The priest was to be the motivating force telling them not to be fainthearted, afraid, panicked, or trembling before the enemy. In other words, they were to be very strong and very courageous, “for the LORD your God is the One who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you (Deuteronomy 20:1-4, Joshua 1:3-9).”

-There were some details to take care before they went to war. They were commanded to “dedicate” their house, use the fruit of their own vineyard, marry their betrothed, and confirm their courage (Deuteronomy 20:5-8). At that point when the officers have finished speaking to the people, they were to “appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people (Deuteronomy 20:9).”

-Their approach to the city they were invading would be to initially offer it terms of peace. If the invaded city capitulated, they would become their forced labor force serving their new Hebrew masters. However, if they refused peace agreements and made war, the Israelites were commanded to besiege the city all around. When the LORD gives them the city after the besieging, they were to strike down all the men in the city with the edge of the sword. Only the women and children and animals in the city were to survive along with the spoils that they could take, which were not under a ban. These instructions were for all the cities that were very far from them and not nearby. The cities that the LORD was initially giving them were to be completely destroyed of anything that breathed. The Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite who lived on Mount Zion were to be utterly disposed of. What was God’s reason for all this calamity? “So that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the LORD your God (Deuteronomy 20:10-18).” The final couple of verses give instructions for saving food producing trees in the areas they would conquer (Deuteronomy 20:19-20). God knew that only He could create such sustenance; they were not tainted. And, He wanted to make sure His people were always stocked with food. God looks out for every detail of the operation doesn’t He?

-*Application* These commands may seem like atrocities to us in our placid, tolerant society, but God saw the future and knew completely the hearts of these detestable-pagan cultures as to their potential of ever changing towards His truth. God always wants to eradicate evil, and this was the only way that this was going to happen. Our current struggle with radical Islam is a prime example. Capitulating and caving to the enemy out of fear does not make them more compliant. It only raises more violence and a more dreaded future of sectarianism and totalitarianism. Take for example what just happened in Paris, France. It is our time to be strong and courageous without fear, panic, trembling, or faintheartedness. Yahweh is the only Living and True God! Sometimes He calls us to a just fight for our freedom and the gospel of Jesus even though war is a horrible thing.

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 20:18

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 19

Deuteronomy 19

-This chapter covers a couple of things in particular that the children of Israel would also need as they possessed the land that the LORD was giving them. The first issue covered was that of refuge cities for the people who can committed manslaughter without evil intent. To avoid their avengers, they could go to one of three cities dispersed throughout the nation to have a safe haven until a trial and justice should transpire. These who killed innocently did not deserve to die since they had no hatred or animosity in their heart. These were simply accidental mishaps. If the killing was investigated and found to be intentional out of a heart of hatred, the elders could send and have that person taken away from the city of refuge so that the avenger could take care of business. No pity was to be given for the truly guilty. Their punishment would indeed “purge the blood of the innocent from Israel,” that it could well with them. In addition to the three cities in their territory God was giving them, a provision was made for the future to add three more cities in the extended lands God had sworn to their ancestors. This was a conditional promise that would occur IF they carefully observed all His commandments to love the LORD and walk in His ways (Deuteronomy 19:1-13).

-The second issue covered here in this passage deals with laws of landmarks and testimonies. Boundaries were never to be moved which the ancestors had set. This would insure the inheritance for each family and tribe within the land. A single witness could not make a case under the Law in matters of accusation concerning sin. However, on the evidence of two or three, the matter would be confirmed. In the contested case of a malicious witness against a neighbor to accuse of wrongdoing, the priests and judges in office would hear the dispute as they stood before the LORD and under His Law. The matter would be investigated thoroughly. If there was found to be a false witness against his neighbor, he had to have done to him as he had intended to do to his brother. This would certainly make people think twice before accusing their neighbor of something with lies and deception. It would thus “purge the evil” from amongst their society. Fear to do evil was the intention of this whole thing because a strong hand would be dealt to the guilty in any case. For the convicted ones, again there would be no pity: “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (Exodus 20:16, Deuteronomy 5:20; 19:14-21).”

-*Application* This passage is often used in a negative fashion compared to the grace God offers in comparison by the New Covenant of His blood in the New Testament. While Jesus’ sacrifice can cleanse the guilty and purify the sinner, the fact remains that if we reject that payment, we remain in our sin and will bear the penalty of spiritual separation from His mercy (Hebrews 10:26-31). Christ’s offering should truly change us. It is not as light a thing as most people think. The God of the Old Covenant is the same and immutable God of the New Covenant. God will always hate and purge evil, but give grace, mercy, and favor to the contrite of heart that seek justice and His loving ways (Psalms 51:17, Isaiah 57:15; 62:2, notice these are OT passages).

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 19:21

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 18

Deuteronomy 18

-The portion of the Levites, who were the God ordained priests in the nation of Israel, is covered here in chapter 18. Actually the Levitical line would have no portion or inheritance. They were to eat the LORD’s offerings by fire and have His portion. The LORD was their inheritance as He had promised them. This meant that they had to “give up” their national rights and be consecrated to devoted service in the place that God would choose, which would one day be the Temple in Jerusalem. On the positive side, they would receive the first fruits and best portions of their allotment since they were selected to stand and serve in the Name of the LORD forever. They were to share in their portions equally with the exception of what they received from the sale of their fathers’ estates (Deuteronomy 18:1-8). Therefore, we see that the Levites were dependent on the good will and obedience of the people of Israel for their well-being as a command of God.

-Then, the interesting issue of spiritism and prophets within the burgeoning people group is extrapolated. Moses, through the power of the Holy Spirit commands that they never learn to imitate the detestable things of the nations that that are going in to dispossess. These occultic practices had their children being sacrificed by fire (research the pagan practices to gods like Molech), were using divination, witchcraft, interpreting omens, and using sorcerers, spell casters, mediums, spiritists, and those calling up the spirits of the dead (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). God wanted His people to be “blameless” before the LORD their God. They were NOT allowed to listen to these demonic voices in their holy society. God was angry with the pagan cultures and was now driving them out to cut out for Himself a separated people of truth, kindness, and justice (Deuteronomy 18:13-14). The LORD then promised them that He would raise up a prophet like Moses from amidst their countrymen for them to listen to as having a word directly from the LORD. This was simply in accordance to what they had begged for from God in Horeb (Mt. Sinai) on the day of the assembly. The LORD’s Voice and His great fire had been too frightening for them to handle, which the LORD thought to be commendable. Therefore, His method of distribution for His edicts and corrections would come through human means, namely the prophets from the nation of Israel. He would put His word in their mouths to speak the unadulterated commands of the Living God. Those not listening to His Voice through the prophets would be held accountable unto Him. Further, those who presumptuously spoke in the Name of the LORD as false prophets or in the name of other gods should face capital punishment (Deuteronomy 18:15-20). The LORD anticipated the inevitable question that would come up among His people, “How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?” The answer was this, “When a prophet speaks in the Name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).” Prophets therefore had to be 100% accurate. Any deviation from this was a serious flaw for obvious reasons.

-*Application* Our current society in America is inundated with paganistic rituals and teachings. Yesterday I went to make a hospital visit and was surprised to meet the chaplain. As we introduced ourselves I came to find out that she was a Buddhist practitioner who believed in and prayed to all the gods equally. This is heresy in a Roman Catholic affiliated hospital. Why are we not mortified? Will not God judge this nation like all the rest who go against Him and His righteous ways? We have learned to imitate the detestable things of false faith systems. If we do not turn around, we are doomed. I’m pretty sure this is a direct word from the LORD.

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 18:13, 22

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 17

Deuteronomy 17

-The administration of justice continues throughout this 17th chapter. It starts with an admonition to only sacrifice unblemished oxen and/or sheep. Presenting anything blemished is a “detestable thing to the LORD…(Deuteronomy 17:1).” Then, another warning about any man or woman found in their midst doing evil in the area of serving or worshiping other false gods is pronounced with dire consequences for the guilty. Transgressing the covenant of the LORD established with His people will require a thorough investigation in order to establish credence in the crime. If they are found guilty on the evidence of two or three witnesses, he or she shall be put to death by stoning with the hand of the witness making the first throw. The others would join in afterwards to complete to execution of justice for the purpose of purging the evil from their midst (Deuteronomy 17:2-7). In difficult cases that were too hard to decide with reference to homicides, lawsuits, and assaults, the people were commanded to arise and go to the place that God chooses (Jerusalem it would be) presenting the situation before the supreme priestly authority, the Levitical priest or the judge, who was in office in those days. These authorities would decide and declare the verdict for each challenging case, and the people were expected to be completely obedient in their decisions. “The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the LORD your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again (Deuteronomy 17:8-13).”

-Next, the issue of kingship was discussed. God knew that one day, after they had conquered the land of His possession where they were going that they would desire to be like the other nations of the world and set a human king over them. God had several requirements to make this a just system under His authority in the event of that happening. First, they were to be countrymen of the Hebrews, no foreigners were ever to be allowed as a king. They were not to multiply horses for themselves as ruler, nor were they to ever return to Egypt to multiply horses. Implied in this was a negation of both personal greed and nationalistic fervor for military might over God’s protection. God had said to them in regards to going back to Egypt for help, “You shall never again return that way.” God was capable of giving them security and protection all by Himself. Further, any future king was warned not to multiply wives for himself, else his heart would turn away from his LORD. In addition, the king was never to “greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” He was never to make his position a reward or a scheme to make money. These were the prohibitions that the LORD gave to those in the position of kingship. An extra and positive requirement for the king, while sitting on his throne of authority, was to write out for himself a copy of the Law of the LORD on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. “It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this Law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel (Deuteronomy 17:14-20).” Sadly, when Israel did desire a king at the end of the judges’ period, the kings did not obey many of these rational and sustaining edicts from the LORD. Saul’s reign ended before his son could ever even take the throne (1 Chronicles 10), and Solomon followed the path of his father David in multiplying wives. He also amassed great fortunes and multiplied his war machine (1 Kings 9:21-11:43, 2 Chronicles 9:13-31). In fact, the period of Israel’s and Judah’s kings was for the most part a time of constant strife with the LORD in regards to His sovereignty over the nation.

-*Application* Only the LORD is completely fair and just. Only He knows the true intentions of the heart and can decide perfectly for all cases. His administration is the one we should look to above all human institutions and systems. This is why Jesus Christ is the absolute Prophet, Priest, and King for all time. His Kingdom lasts forever, and we are privileged to be a part of it. Thank God today for His just and abiding authority and rule over this universe. Only when we come into complete submission to His rule can we truly experience freedom, blessing, and lasting success.

Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 17:19-20

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 16

Deuteronomy 16

-Chapter 16 reemphasizes the Israeli feasts of Passover, Weeks (or First Fruits), and Booths (or Ingathering). These are the three occasions when all male Jews were required to appear before the LORD in the place that He would choose (Jerusalem) annually (Exodus 23:14-17: 34:23-24). Sacrifices were required according to the commandments of the LORD along with certain dietary requirements that had been previously given in the Law. These times were meant to be times of remembrance and rejoicing for the people in the presence of their God who had redeemed them from slavery and set them free from their oppressors. It was to extend to their sons, their daughters, their male and female servants, the Levite in their town, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow. Basically, in other words, all were invited and encouraged to participate in these festivals and holy convocations. And, they were not to appear before the LORD empty-handed. Every man was fully expected to give as he was able according to the blessing of the LORD their God who had been so generous to them (Deuteronomy 16:1-17).

-Next, some laws for ruling the new nation were covered. Judges were to be appointed along with officers in all the towns to provide local municipalities of government. These were to judge the citizens with “righteous judgment.” They were never to distort justice, nor were they to ever become partial to a particular group. They were forbidden to accept bribes, which blind the eyes of the wise and perverts justice. “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you (Deuteronomy 16:18-20).”

-Further prohibitions on idol worship were given. They were NOT to plant for themselves an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of the LORD. They were also commanded NOT to set up for themselves any sacred pillars, which the LORD hates (Deuteronomy 16:21-22).

-*Application* God is continually calling us to remembrance of the great and wonderful things He has done to set us free from the corruption and penalty of sin in our lives. Thanks be to Jesus, who is the Author and Completer of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Look in your past by the rear view mirror to see what you’ve left, and then look boldly through the windshield into His glorious future for you as a saint set free from bondage. His ways are blessing, honor, and glory for all who desire to partake in His spiritual riches untold. Also, remember the lesson of justice and impartiality today. Seek justice in all your life circumstances and refuse to play favorites with anyone. Don’t create idols in your heart that will take you far from God and His rewards. Hold to your Jesus and never let Him go.

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 16:16

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 15

Deuteronomy 15

-This chapter deals with the Sabbatic Year in Israel where a remission of debts was given freely. Every creditor was to release what he had loaned to his neighbor in wiping the slate clean of any indebtedness. The LORD’s remission had been proclaimed (Deuteronomy 15:1-2). Debts could be exacted from foreigners, but the family of Israel was to have a total release from any bondage to money or service. God goes into the fact that the poor were to be taken good care of in this utopian society that He desired to create, since He would surely bless this land given to them as an inheritance and possession if they simply and faithfully obey His Voice observing His requirements. God guaranteed that they would be the lender nation and rule over nations as long as they worshipped Him alone and took good care of the poor among them. They were to never harden their heart towards those in need, nor close their hand from helping them, even near the Sabbatical Year. Generosity was the command to give sufficient and ample gifts to whoever lacked. And, their heart was not to be grieved when they gave abundantly, “because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. In other words, they were to give cheerfully (Deuteronomy 15:3-10, 2 Corinthians 9:7). The poor would never cease to be in the land, and God deems it necessary and compassionate to provide for them freely in their distress (Deuteronomy 15:11, Matthew 19:21; 26:11, Mark 14:7, Luke 14:13; 18:22, John 12:8).

-Hebrew slavery, or maybe a better term is indentured servitude, is addressed here in Scripture. A six year sentence is the maximum under Hebrew law for someone to be under the authority of another. Again, the Sabbatical Year freed them, and they were not to be sent away empty-handed. They were to be liberally furnished with flocks and wheat from the threshing floor and from the wine vat. As the LORD had blessed them, they were to bless others graciously. They were to always remember that they had indeed been slaves set free by God Almighty when they were in the land of Egypt. He had redeemed them, and they were expected to pass that kindness along to others indebted to them. A clause is given for those who loved their masters and wanted to continue in obedient servitude. These were to be pierced through in the ear with an awl for a forever promise to labor for that master. Otherwise, slaves were to be freely let go without any hard feelings for they had given up to six years with “double the service of a hired man.” Obeying this command would ensure God’s continued blessing on their personal and national productivity (Deuteronomy 15:12-18).

-Consecration of the firstborn males in the herd or flock was then covered. These bovine were not to do any work and the sheep were not to be sheared. They were reserved for sacrifice and eating by the whole family in the place of worship in the land that God would eventually designate, that being Jerusalem later on. But, if there were ANY defect they were not allowed to sacrifice that animal. In that event, they were to eat it within their own city gates and refrain from eating the blood, which was to be poured out on the ground like water (Deuteronomy 12:15-16, 21-24; 15:19-23). In the same way Jesus poured out His blood onto the earth inaugurating the new covenant for the forgiveness of sin (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20). He was the ultimate Redeemer and Forgiver.

-*Application* Why do we find it so hard to generously give to those who are desperate in their time of need? I love the testimony I recently got from someone in our church who was adversely affected by some recent floods in our area. A friend of this person, who had a construction company, freely gave his company’s time, materials, and labor to fix the damages in this friend’s house that had no flood insurance. Now that’s compassion for those in need. Do you think God is going to bless that man’s company? Of course He will, and He will bless you too when you are generous to any who are in need.

Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 15:1, 7-8

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 14

Deuteronomy 14

-This chapter describes the clean and unclean animals that God’s chosen people can and cannot eat as a part of their diet. Israel was a holy people and this list is the healthiest way to feed the physical body under the LORD’s direction since He knows all things. I think particular emphasis should be placed on the distinction between those animals that chew the cud, or elements of the earth, verses those that were ravaging animals that partook of dead flesh for their sustenance (Deuteronomy 14:1-21).

-Further, the tithe is commanded of the people when they come into the land which the LORD their God is going to give them. The tithe will be brought to the place God chooses to establish His Name, which will be Jerusalem. There there will be rejoicing and exchanges for those who live at a prohibitive distance for bringing goods and animals. This gives us insight into the corruption that Jesus faced when He cleared the Temple area from those exchangers who were profiting from men’s tithes and offerings designed to offer in worship before the LORD in a spirit of prayer and supplication (Deuteronomy 14:22-26, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13-17).

-Finally, the Levite was to never ever be neglected in their towns since they had no inheritance portion. At the end of every third year, a tithe of all the produce in that year was to be deposited in each town for the Levite, the alien, the orphan, and the widow so that they could come and eat and be satisfied. God’s purpose in this is obvious on the humanitarian side, but it also would ensure His continued blessings for all that their hands did in the area of productivity (Deuteronomy 14:27-29).

-*Application* Have you considered your diet lately? It is a big deal with God as we can see from His Law. The Mediterranean diet is considered the healthiest in the world for a reason; God gave it and blessed it. Consider the things you put into your temple and glorify the LORD in your diet. This chapter gives us a great start in doing things rights for our physical longevity. Beyond that, this chapter teaches us that generosity is closely associated with the LORD’s blessings economically. Consider the less fortunate and give to them periodically with earnest intention. God promises to bless you for this.

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 14:2

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 13

Deuteronomy 13

-The severe penalties for people and cities introducing idolatry in the land are the overriding theme in this graphic chapter. The false prophet, dreamer, and miracle workers who may see temporary results but introduce other gods telling the people of the land to serve them are denounced. God says, “You shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).” Total obedience is stressed once more as Moses implores the people to listen only to the Voice of God serving Him and clinging to Him (Deuteronomy 13:4). For the dreamer of false dreams, they are to be put to death. Why? Because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD, who was the exclusive Redeemer of Israel and has seduced the righteous away from the truth, which God had clearly commanded that they walk in. The summary is this, “So you shall purge the evil from among you (Deuteronomy 13:5).”

-Brothers, sons, daughters, the cherished wife, and the closest soulmate friend should be called out publically if they try to secretly entice the acceptance of other unknown gods far or near. The people were utterly commanded NOT to yield to them or listen to them. They were to take no pity on these idolaters nor spare or conceal them from public humiliation and retribution. In other words, it was their duty to expose them for all to see. In fact, they were ordered to be the first to strike their death blow and then get assistance from all the people. These agitators of the true and living God were to be stoned to death because of their seductive action in luring the righteous away from the LORD to serve other gods. God was their only Savior from their bondage of slavery in Egypt. The redeeming purpose in all of this was that all Israel would hear of the idolaters plight and be too afraid to deviate away from the faith, thus ensuring that this wicked thing be purged from their society.

-Also, if “worthless men” go out from among them to introduce heresy among the inhabitants of their city, an intense and thorough investigation was to be done to find out the truth of the matter. If the abomination were found to be real, the entire city was to be struck with the sword for total destruction. Then all the booty was to be brought to the middle of the open square in the city to be set on fire along with the entire city as a whole burnt offering unto the LORD God. That particular city was to be left as a ruin and reminder never to be rebuilt and lived in. None of the booty placed under the ban was to be taken by any of the people who were executing justice for order under God’s command. There was a beneficial purpose for all of this. It was that God would turn His burning wrathful anger away from them and show them mercy again in the land having full compassion and allowing further increase according to His promise given to the ancestral fathers. A final reminder to listen to the Voice of the LORD their God and to do what was right in His sight by following His commands was then given (Deuteronomy 13:6-18).

-*Application* Public degradation is a foreign concept in our so called civil society these days; although, we are seeing a radical and twisted expression of this form of government in the lands under ISIS control in the Middle East. Once again we see how determined God is to NOT share His glory with anything or anyone else. He is totally serious about this, even though most Americans don’t give it much thought. We are now in realistic danger of going practically pagan in this country because there is little fear of the LORD anymore. Idols are everywhere, just like Paul experienced on his missionary journeys to the Greek culture (Acts 17:16-34) as well as the children of Israel as they entered the Promised Land. The New Testament warning is just as demanding and clear against any form of idolatry (1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 10:1-22, Revelation 9:20-21). Even though, thankfully, our culture does not kill offenders and burn cities, we need to realize the seriousness with which God views our unfaithfulness.

Verse to Memorize: Deuteronomy 13:3

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 12

Deuteronomy 12

-Careful observation of God’s statutes, judgments, and commands are again reiterated in this didactic chapter. These measures of God’s holiness were to be perpetual for His people in the land they were going to inhabit for their prosperity and continuance. They were to utterly destroy all the foreign gods on every high mountain, hill, and under every green tree tearing down altars, smashing their sacred pillars, burning their Asherim (wooden symbols of a female deity) with fire, cutting down their graven images of fake gods, and obliterating their name from that place. “You shall NOT (emphasis mine) act like this toward the LORD your God (Deuteronomy 12:1-4).” Idolatry would not be tolerated. On the other hand, they were to seek the LORD their God at the dwelling place of His own choosing that He would assign them in the land where all the tribes would come to worship Him alone. This could be none other than the forecast of the Temple, which would eventually be built in Jerusalem. This was the place of God’s greatest revelation of His glory in the land, and prophetically the place where His Son would atone for the sins of the entire world. It was the place to bring sacrifice unto Him by His people, their burnt offerings, tithes, contributions, votive offerings, freewill offerings, and the firstborn of their herd and flock. There also they and their households would eat before the LORD in celebration and rejoicing in all their undertakings with which the LORD would bless them. God then says, “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes; for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you (Deuteronomy 12:5-9).” There would come a time when they crossed the Jordan and defeated all their enemies. A time when they would achieve this promised rest so that they could build and worship their King Jehovah in His designed place “for His Name to dwell.” This historically came during the reign of Solomon in the Davidic Kingdom hundreds of years after this prophetic proclamation (2 Samuel 7, 1 Kings 5, 1 Chronicles 22:9-10). All were invited to worship in this grand place, from the tribes of Israel, their servants, and all the nations of the world (Deuteronomy 12:10-12, Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 33:9-11).

-Moses then sums up again their responsibility to “be careful” in not offering burnt offerings and sacrifices to “cultic” gods in “cultic” places that they will certainly see in the land they were to possess. They were to only do things God’s way in His place. The exception was for the slaughter and eating of meat within their own community gates. This included remembering the Levites and their ordained priestly service with all its rights and privileges since they had no inheritance. The only prohibition to this was that they “not eat the blood” of the animal “for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.” The blood was to be poured out like water onto the ground so that it would go well with them, and their sons, in the land. Following God’s prescriptions would be doing right in the sight of the LORD their God. The place of God’s choosing was the proper place to make His blood sacrifice. Following their own way would be a snare to them if they deviated off the good path that the LORD was laying out for them to do. For their unrecognition of the true and living God, these nations were being destroyed before them, and if Israel wandered from their Savior, they would also pay the price for disobedience. “You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it (Deuteronomy 12:13-32).”

-*Application* God was serious with these people in cautioning them because he knew their heart and could see the future. God always gives us warning if we are willing to pay attention to His hints and clues. God’s warning is always ample, and His desire is for us to walk away from any potential for sin in our lives. Lean on God and His understanding. Don’t capitulate to the wicked culture around us. We can thrive in the land of God’s love, peace, and prosperity if we will simply do the things He asks of us in faith and obedience. Be careful, His Temple right now is within the heart of the believer (Leviticus 26:12, Jeremiah 31:33, John 14:23, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:16).

Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 12:8-9

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 11

Deuteronomy 11

-The LORD sets before the children of Israel a choice, a blessing or a curse. The blessing will come if they listen to the commandments of the LORD their God, which He had clearly given them over and over again. The curse will come if they choose not to listen to His commandments and turn aside from His way by following other gods, which they had not known (Deuteronomy 11:26-28). God expected their love and to always keep His charge (Deuteronomy 11:1). It was not burdensome. His discipline (Deuteronomy 11:2a) was designed to give them a hope and future in the land they were about to possess. His greatness, might, and actions on their behalf were quite evident, and He deserved all their glory, worship, and praise. Their own eyes had seen all the great work which the LORD had done (Deuteronomy 11:2b-7). Enemies were scattered, rebels were killed, and their safety in the wilderness was assured as He carried them. Therefore, God commands them to observe all of His laws obediently for a prolonging of days in the land sworn to their forefathers (Deuteronomy 11:8-9a). The benefits of the land “flowing with milk and honey” are delineated over the next several verses. This land was not like Egypt where they had to sow their seed and water it like in a vegetable garden. The hills of Israel would drink the water from the rain of heaven by the caring and nurturing of the LORD Himself. The eyes of God are always upon this land for His chosen people throughout the year, and if His people comply with His ways, they shall have abundant rain in its season, the early and later rain, so that they can gather in their grain, new wine, and oil in surplus. Their fields will provide grass for their livestock; they will eat and be totally satisfied (Deuteronomy 11:9b-15). These are the blessings of obedience. On the other hand, God warns them not to ever be deceived in their hearts so as to turn away from their Living God to serve and worship other gods. If this happens, and prophetically the LORD knows that it will, His anger will indeed be kindled against them; the heavens will be shut up from pouring down its rain. The ground will not yield its appointed fruit, and the people will perish quickly from this good and precious land, which the LORD had freely given them by His grace and mercy (Deuteronomy 11:16-17). Therefore, these words of His were to be impressed on the heart and soul of the populace. They were to be binded to them as a sign on their hand, frontals on their forehead, and taught to their sons as they sat in the house, wherever they walked, and when they lay down for bed and got up early in the morning. Their doorposts and city gates were to contain the word of God, literally. If they observed these requirements, their stay in the land would be multiplied. Their enemies would flee before them being driven out by the power of the Almighty if they would only be careful to keep all His commandments, love Him, walk in His ways, and hold fast to Him. Their land would stretch as promised from the border of the wilderness of Lebanon to the great Euphrates River and as far as the western Mediterranean Sea. No one would be able to stand before them because the LORD would lay His dread on their enemies just as He had guaranteed (Deuteronomy 11:18-25). After God’s pronunciation of setting before them a blessing and a curse, He appoints two mountains symbolically, Mount Gerizim gets the blessing placed on it, and Mount Ebel the curse. These were areas beyond the Jordan in the land that they were about to possess (Deuteronomy 11:29-32).

-*Application* The blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is also very evident. He saves, rescues, delivers, and provides. We are under the curse of sin until we receive His free gift of forgiveness through His atonement earned by the cross of Calvary, paid in His living blood. Don’t continue under the curse, trust Jesus and be set free with all the blessings He offers to us as saints of His Kingdom!

Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 11:26-28

Monday, November 2, 2015

Bible Study Notes in Deuteronomy- Chapter 10

Deuteronomy 10

-The rewriting of the Ten Commandments are remembered in the beginning stages of this chapter. The Word spoken to the children of Israel had been written down by God, who knew that some might have a visual learning style and added to its permanence. God had to rewrite after Moses smashed the first ones down in disgust when he saw their debauchery and idolatry. These tablets were commanded to be put in the Ark of the Covenant, so Moses built an ark of acacia wood and obeyed God in this matter. Some more details of the journey were expressed as to the location where Aaron died and was buried, and the raising up of Eleazar as priest in his place. In Jotbathah, a land with brooks of water, the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD and to stand before Him and serve Him and to bless His Name. The lack of inheritance was reiterated for this tribe because the LORD was their portion (Deuteronomy 10:1-9).

-God listened to His servant Moses here on the mountain, like the first time, and did not destroy the stubborn and rebellious and unbelieving people. They were to arise and proceed on the journey with Moses preceding them so that they could go in and possess the land sworn to them by God. The LORD lays out His requirements at this point for them. They were to fear the LORD their God, walk in His ways, love Him, and serve Him with ALL (emphasis mine) their heart and soul. They were to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statutes for their good because God owned all the heavens and the earth with all it contained. They were chosen and set apart as vessels of blessing by the LORD, a great and high honor with extensive responsibility. So God says, “Circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven (Deuteronomy 10:10-22).”

-*Application* What a privilege it is to be chosen of God for a special purpose. God has a purpose and design for each and every one of us if we will fear Him, walk in His ways, love Him, serve Him, and accept His commands for us through the saving work of Jesus Christ. Our ministry becomes paramount after we have trusted our Savior for salvation. We grow in our giftedness and make real and lasting differences in our world when we do. God has chosen you for a mission, will you accept? Remember too that God has a special place in His Divine Heart for the outcast, the broken, the jilted, the wounded, the alien, the orphan, the widow, and those who have been dealt injustice in this world. Have bad things happened to you in your life? God welcomes you into His family and promises to comfort you in your distress (Isaiah 51:12, Revelation 21:4-6).

Verses to Memorize: Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 16