Read 64.) Deuteronomy 23:1 thru 26:15. With chapter 23: 1-8, we read of those who either could not become a member of Israel, or when a foreigner could. This is not an exclusion from the salvation of the Lord, but rather, from becoming as a ceremonially clean Israelite. Any person who would place their trust in the Lord, the God of Israel, could be saved. Verses 9 thru 14 emphasize the matter of ceremonial cleanness in their camps, in this instance, prior to battle. The last 11 verses mention some various laws, but it’s worth pointing out the matter of vows. Vowing, and their fulfillment go to the very heart of that which we call integrity. Do what you say that you will do. It’s a matter of character! We revere such a thing today, but in ancient times, many cultures lifted up treachery and deceit, and might makes right; Entirely different from what is called for here, and is entirely in keeping with the nature and character of God. Let your word be your bond! God cannot lie, and that which He has promised, He will also perform!
Chapter 24:1-4 confirms that marriage, divorce, and remarriage was permitted, and took place in Israel. Divorce happens. It is shameful today, in many churches, that the divorced are somehow made to feel as lepers, as though they had committed an unpardonable sin. Such people are often more in need of caring ministry on the part of God’s people than many others. God’s people need to be there for them. With verse 7, we learn that kidnapping concerned the 8th Commandment, and was a capital crime, punishable by death. Each law in the remainder of chapter 24 points to the twin matters of justice and mercy, both of which were sorely lacking in ancient times. This is progressive grace once again: God elevating the culture of a people. They were to leave the gleanings of their harvests for the needy. Many simply left up to 10% around the outer edges of their vineyards and fields, so as to invite God’s blessing upon themselves! Chapter 25 continues the themes of mercy and justice. Verses 5 thru 10 codify Levirate marriage where a brother was to marry his brother’s widow in order to continue the brother’s family line. Mercy was not to extend to the Amalekites, however, as they had no mercy upon Israel when they came out of Egypt just one generation earlier.
Closing with 26:1-15, it is a precious passage. Pay special heed. It is a review of all of God’s faithfulness up to this point in time, and of God’s Story. The Lord promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; land, descendants, Messiah and a period of enslavement. We find these in Genesis being told unto them by the Lord a total of 13 times; 8 to Abraham, twice to Isaac, and 3 times to Jacob. The third of these 4 promises and prophecies is about to be fulfilled. By Exodus 1:7, Israel had many descendants. In Exodus 12, God was bringing Israel out of her captivity. Here now, and as we are about to read, God will bring Israel into her Promised Land to give it to them. Was Messiah to soon come, then? It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell