Reading Deuteronomy 21-23
Reading Deuteronomy 21-23
This section, Deut. 21-23, has Moses speaking of several different themes. First, there is one of the most difficult commandments in the Law: putting to death one's own child. When one is a stubborn and rebellious child who REFUSES discipline, they were to be tried in front of the elders, and then, if guilty of such rebellion, they were to be stoned with the parents casting the first stones. I can only imagine the heartache and mental anguish this would produce. Yet, we see that God and His righteousness must come first. It gives a background to Jesus' statement that 'if you love father or mother more than me…" Even in these parent-child relationships, God comes first. I am challenged to look at my own life and question where God actually is placed. We all know the answer that SHOULD be given, yet I wonder if that is the real answer for most of us. Would I be able to obey God in this? Abraham obeyed a similar command. God gave His son for me.
In connection with this law are a multitude of laws concerning immorality. God has Moses address several differing situations of sexual misconduct. Such misconduct is sex outside of the revealed marriage law that God had given. Originally, said Jesus, God intended for one man to be married to one woman, period. For the hardness of their hearts, God allowed for divorce and remarriage under very strict scenario of unfaithfulness. What we see described in these chapters is man's rejection of God's marriage idea. Such destroys the fabric of the marriage and family. Such sets up a public example that must be dealt with. Such becomes epidemic as the hearts of the community become obsessed with such immorality. God's solution: they must purge the evil from among them by putting to death those who are guilty. Harsh crimes demand harsh penalties. Of course the Godly solution of faithfulness within the marriage bond would eliminate this whole discussion. Man's solution is often to simply accuse God of being wrong and naïve, and then go on with their immorality. Be Not Deceived! God is not to be mocked (see Gal. 3:7).
One other thing catches my attention as we read through these chapters: cursed is he that hangs on a tree! A seemingly insignificant comment concerning the death of an offender; yet, it is this verse that Paul applies to Jesus: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" (Gal. 3:13). He, though innocent, was 'hung on a tree'. He died that I might live. He gave His life for me. Paul's response to this: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20). Is this your response to the death of Jesus?