Day 076 (Deuteronomy 17-20) - Year 5

Day 076 (Deuteronomy 17-20) - Year 5

Fri, 17 Mar 2023 01:20

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Hey Bible readers, I'm Tara Lee Cobble and I'm your host for the Bible recap. Today we continue with Moses and his grand finale before the Israelites cross the Jordan River and take the Promised Land to live in it. Moses has been giving laws for how things will shift once they're no longer camping in the desert. Today he starts out with some laws about worship. He reminds them that they're entering into foreign territory where pagan gods are revered. If anyone does worship those other gods, there will be a trial involving at least two witnesses before the death penalty is given. And the witnesses are the ones who have to carry out that justice. So if they're lying, then they'd be guilty of murder. And because these situations can be complex and challenging sometimes, God sets up a court of appeals made up of judges and priests to handle the more difficult matters. Moses predicts that there will be a day after they settle in the land when they'll look around and be like, hey, all these other nations have kings. We should get one of those. When the time comes, God will choose an Israelite for them to set up as a king over them. But it's important for their kings not to be drawn to wealth, power, or women. If you know much about any Israelite kings, you already know this isn't going to end well. The prohibition against these things was supposed to keep them humble and trusting in God for their provision and protection, instead of in what they could acquire for themselves. Wealth can lead a person's heart astray. Horses represent power, which is usually about military prowess. And acquiring foreign wives was often a way of making political alliances with other nations, who were all pagan, which also meant that the women might lead their hearts astray. It's vital for the king to stay humble. Moses even said the king should have his own book with God's laws written in it so he can read it daily for the rest of his life. His heart is at stake, and power has a way of corrupting people and leading them off the path of righteousness. But reading God's word would keep him upright and humble. God also promises to raise up a new prophet from among them, someone like Moses, who hears from God and speaks his words to them. So you can imagine why it would be such a slap in the face for them to seek out answers from mediums or fortune tellers, because not only are those people wicked, but the Israelites themselves already have access to God and his counsel. And as far as the prophet is concerned, God will not only hold the prophet accountable for what he says, but he'll also hold the people accountable to listening to him. And God gave the promise that any true prophet would have all his prophecies come to pass. If any of them failed, he was not a prophet appointed by God. In chapter 20, God sets up some details for their military service. This is a unique scenario, this particular nation state has God as their commander in chief. He starts out by reminding them who he is and what he has done, and that they shouldn't fear large armies, because he has already defeated larger armies on their behalf. God is always the bigger army. God is always the majority. In fact, he doesn't mind if their army is smaller. He tells the commanding officers to spread the news. Are you a young soldier with a new wife or a new house or a new garden? Go home and enjoy it. You don't have to go to war with us. We'll be fine without you. Are you afraid? You're free to go. We've already seen that fear is communicable, so we only want people here who trust in God and his promises. Then, he prepares them for how to go about approaching cities outside the promised land. Approach them with peace. If they return peace, take the city peaceably. If the city doesn't comply, kill all the men of the land and take everyone else and everything else as plunder. In 2014, he even says, you shall enjoy the spoils of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you. These rules for warfare outside the promised land are different than for those inside it. For any cities inside it, remember that God is accomplishing at least three things through this process of giving that land to the Israelites. First, he's fulfilling his promise to Israel. Second, he's aiming to wipe out the signs of idolatry so that they don't tempt the Israelites. And third, he's using Israel as a means of enacting justice on the wicked nations that currently occupy the land. As a part of all that, he tells Israel to completely wipe out all the people they'll be overtaking in the promised land. On the surface, I know it's hard to see this as a good and just command from God, but hang in there as we keep reading because I believe you'll begin to see the wisdom in his words. What was your God shot today? There was a phrase that showed up three times today and caught my eye. We've seen it before in Deuteronomy and we'll see it again. Today it was in 1777, 1712 and 1919. Moses said, purge the evil one from your midst. In these instances, it seems almost certain that this indicates capital punishment. They're instructed to kill the offender. I think the reason this phrase jumped out at me is because I recognize it from 1 Corinthians 513, where Paul is giving instructions on how to handle unrepentant sinners in the church, people who are walking in blatant rebellion. He tells the church to purge the evil person from among you. However, in Paul's letter, this wasn't a call for capital punishment. It was a command to disassociate with the person in hopes that the consequences might awaken them to the reality of their sin and they'll repent. When I look at the long arc of God's storyline, I see how much He leans into grace toward His kids because Christ has received our punishment. He gives so many second chances, so much time to repent. And despite the fact that we all deserve to be purged in the original sense, he's patient with sinners. That's a very general statement, so let me make it more personal. He's patient with me when I rebel against him. He's patient with you when you question his heart. He's patient with all of us when we think we'd make a better God than him. And even when we don't believe it or remember it, he's where the joy is. Our incredible social media manager, Sariocom, does an amazing job at keeping our post-op today and managing our communication with you, and now, since our Spanish audience is growing, prays the Lord, we felt like it was important to post not only in English, but also in Spanish. So each day on our social media, you'll find both. On some platforms, you'll see both clearly, but on other platforms, you may need to slide the English image in order to see the Spanish image. And thank you to Omar Cardenas, our Spanish director, for translating and creating all those images. To see them for yourself, follow us at the Bible recap on your favorite social media platform. One of my favorite things to do is lead teaching tours of Israel. And it's about to get even better because now I'm partnering with Hope Media Group and its ministries, including, to give you a chance to join me on one of these trips for free. To find out more, click the link in today's show notes or text the word trip to 67101.