-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