Chapter 17 — God ended Chapter 16 with DO NOT SET UP ANY WOODEN ASHERAH POLE BESIDE THE ALTAR YOU BUILD TO THE LORD YOUR GOD…FOR THESE THE LORD YOU GOD HATES. What is it that God really hates??? He hates it when we worship false idols… when we put other gods before HIM. He tells us HE is a jealous God and wants ALL of us. Here is another picture of an Asherah pole……
OK.. I MUST admit… this one was a SHOCKER for me!! However…. It really made me think about WHO and WHAT we are praying to…. Is it God or is it a god or gods?? AND idols do not always take the form of nice little statues, carvings, prayer stones, etc… an idol is ANY thing that takes the place of God in your life…. It could be TV, exercise, sex, food, possessions, money, stuff, etc.. It comes back to yesterday’s reading… WHERE is your heart focused??? How do we recognize an idol??? It is ANY thing that replaces the FATHER in our lives….. if we pray to someone else.. that replaces the Father. If we light candles and pray to the candles … that replaces the Father. The ONLY thing I can say is ASK GOD to show you if you have any idols in your life. HE will show you and help you get back on the right track. LOOK how much time God spends in the OT discussing idols ….. maybe it is to help us think through where we are and what we do so when God points out an idol in our lives we confess, repent, and return to HIM.
The use of the word hate is such a strong word here. In the KJV the verb used is actually “hateth.” ANY time you see “eth” on the end of a word in Scripture .. it means that “it” did not just happen once …… it occurs over and over and over again. In MANY cases that is an awesome thing such as with loveth or forgiveth … but with the word hateth… ummmmm…. All I can say is I don’t want to be on the receiving end of that. 🙂
In verse 6 – it discusses that 2 or 3 witnesses are needed for a fair trial…. No one will be put to death on the testimony of ONLY ONE person. FYI… THIS is JEWISH LAW!! The Pharisees and Sadducees KNEW the LAW at the time of Jesus Christ. Jesus had NO …. NONE… ZERO…. NADA…. ZIP… witnesses at HIS trial BECAUSE HE was INNOCENT!!! EVERY thing God did/does is for the Plan of Redemption. This is such an important Scripture! If any of you were able to read the entries for Easter/Holy Week … I went into detail about the broken Jewish laws on the Holy Week Thursday entry!!! This verse of Scripture would be a good one to mark in your Bible.
God KNEW HIS people would demand a king ….. they saw that the nations around them had kings so naturally they wanted a man as a king over them. God WAS ALREADY their KING. However the people will DEMAND a human king. David became king … but he was not perfect… JESUS was the ONLY perfect ONE. We will find that when the people DEMAND a king… God gives one… actually SEVERAL to them .. and in most cases it doesn’t work out too well. MAYBE we will learn of Israels Kings in the book of Kings…..and in other books. HE will give them what they ASK FOR so HE can reveal to them WHO they REALLY need. Make note of the characteristics God tells HIS people to LOOK for when choosing a future king……. Be sure to appoint the king the LORD YOUR GOD chooses; he must be from your own brothers.. not a foreigner; he must not acquire great numbers of horses nor have the people return to Egypt to get horses; not take many wives; not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold; write for himself on a scroll a copy of the law; keep the law with him at all times, read it all the days of his life, revere the Lord, carefully obey, and be humble. Now… compare this to what you know about Jesus!!
Chapter 18 – The Israelites were to provide for the Levites….land, livestock, etc., because they were their priests, the caregivers of the Tabernacle/Temple. However, do you remember why this all came about??? Levi and his brother Simeon killed an entire tribe of men who raped their sister Dinah. Because they made the decision of how to handle the situation and not TRUST God … the Levites would receive no inheritance. HOWEVER….. the LORD did not forget them … HE made sure they were to be provided for in ALL their needs.
NOW Moses jumps from the provisions for the Levites to “detestable practices!!” DO NOT IMITATE the detestable practices and HE goes into great detail about what these practices are. Once again… God has told them they are HIS HOLY CHOSEN NATION. They are to be SEPARATE from others. They were to be blameless before the Lord. God planned from the beginning that Jesus is the prophet HE would raise up!!! Jesus was completely blameless!! If they practiced the same things the nations around them were practicing (asking other gods to tell them the future, prosper them, just help them a little) they were NOT TRUSTING their God. BUT….. HOW were the Israelites going to be able to tell the difference between all the things they were to avoid and a TRUE prophet??? Look at verse 21-22
You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
When God says it will happen in His name…it will happen!! LOOK AT THE BIRTH, LIFE, BRUTAL TORTURE, CRUCIFIXON, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST, THE ASCENSION AND THE ARRIVAL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!!! Have Mercy!!! This was ALL prophesy fulfilled!!!
Chapter 19— Cities of Refuge. Don’t you just LOVE the way the Lord’s compassion shows through with these cities of refuge? He wanted to make sure that the exceptions were protected!! Grace and Mercy and Love!! Jesus is our REFUGE today!!
Chapter 20 – God has been preparing the NEW generation for battle. He clearly sets out the “rules of engagement” here. Look how many times He tells them DO NOT BE AFRAID. Verses 3-4 state: “Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” JOSHUA will soon be their leader and lead them into the PROMISED LAND. But…. remember God had been telling them they would have to TAKE the land. God KNEW which nations the Israelites could “just” plunder thereby leaving the women and children. HE also KNEW which nations would have to be totally wiped out. In God’s sovereignty, HE KNEW if the Israelites left ANY breathing thing in the places that needed to be wiped out.. it would be tools for satan to be able to get a “toe hold” on them. The “toe hold” would become a strong hold…. Then a full fledged means for the Promised Land and HIS people to be destroyed and pollute the entire world. Therefore….. the people God told them to destroy HAD to be completely destroyed. Look at 20:16-18.
However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God.
Sharing HIS love,