Deuteronomy 15-16

Sunday Evening Bible Study

October 18, 1998

Introduction

The name Deuteronomy means "second law".

It is Mosesí final address to the people. It covers the last 1 Ĺ months of Mosesí life. Heís 120 years old.

Itís Godís "review" for the people to make sure they understand His ways before they go into the land.

Deuteronomy 15

:1 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.

This was the "Sabbath Year".

Every seventh year, there was to be an unconditional forgiveness of the debts of fellow Israelites. Those who were not Israelites and simply temporarily living in Israel did not have to be released from their debts.

I wonder if it didnít also help teach forgiveness.

The concept of forgiveness is the releasing of a debt. Iím not so sure I like the idea of waiting seven years to forgive someone, but the idea of forcing you to forgive another person is pretty cool.

:4 Save when there shall be no poor among you;

Better translation: "There should be no poor among you"

This law was to help keep poverty out of Israel.

Lesson:

Forgiveness makes you wealthy.

Sometimes we can get the false idea that if I just go around forgiving other people, that people will take advantage of me and I will somehow not be as strong as a person.

Itís just the opposite. The one who learns how to truly forgive another, not just because they feel too wimpy to demand judgment, but because they truly choose to let a debt go, that is a strong person.

:6 For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow

The implication is that if the people would learn to forgive their debtors, then God would ensure that they would be a prosperous nation. Rather than being a nation that borrows from others, they would be the ones lending.

Lesson:

Reaping and Sowing.

If you would forgive others, youíll receive forgiveness.

Jesus said,

(Luke 6:36-38 KJV) Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. {37} Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: {38} Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Want others to be merciful to you? Be merciful.

:6 and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee

Lesson:

Forgiveness gains control.

Again, we have the concept that forgiving another person makes you weak, it makes you appear weak to others.

But if you choose not to forgive them, you will live in bitterness and anger, and in a sense, that person has control over your life to make you miserable.

You will be better off when you choose to let it go.

:8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.

wanteth Ė in what he needs, not our modern "wants".

Lesson:

Helping the needy/ not helping the needy

God wants us to be open to the needs of others.

Stay balanced though Ė

(2 Th 3:10 KJV) For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

If a person is willing to work, then we ought to be willing to help. If a person is unwilling to work, and just wants to live off of the kindness of others, we are doing the wrong thing in helping them.

We need to help others according to what their real need is.

If they arenít working, then their real need is to get a job and learn to support themselves.

:9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand

The situation is that the seventh year is coming up, and if you lend something to a poor person, then they wonít have to pay it back, so you donít lend to them.

Lesson:

Always lend, always forgive.

This is similar to the thought that says, "This person tries my temper so much that if I hang around them, Iíll have to forgive them again, so I wonít hang around them."

I agree that thereís a time to separate yourself from the wrong kind of influences.

But we shouldnít be too quick to give up on people.

:10 God shall bless thee in all thy works,

(Prov 19:17 KJV) He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

:12 And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.

Slavery was a way of life. Itís not that much different from much of our employment situations.

Itís not that God is in favor of slavery, but God was trying to teach His people how to operate within the system, how to make it better. Ultimately Godís desire is for all to be free.

If you had a Jewish slave, you were to set them free after six years.

:13 And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty:

God didnít see the slave as an object. The slave was a person. They deserved wages.

:17 Then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever

Piercing the ear was a sign of permanent slavery.

(Psa 40:6 KJV) Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

An interesting picture. An earring to show my slavery to God.

Paul considered himself a slave of God:

(Rom 1:1 KJV) Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ Ö

Jesus said,

(Mark 9:35 KJV) And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Do you think we all ought to have our ears pierced?

:18 It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou sendest him away free from thee

When weíre doing what God requires, we should enjoy the blessing of being in Godís will. God will take care of you.

I know a brother who has recently given notice to his work that heís not going to do all the over and way beyond hours that have been pushed on him because he needs to spend time with his family and have time for ministry.

I believe God will bless a commitment like that.

:19 All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the LORD thy God

Set them apart by sacrificing them to God.

Lesson:

Giving God the firstfruits.

Giving back to God from the first of what you reap is a way of acknowledging that He was the one who blessed you.

:21 And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.

Donít give God your leftovers. Give God only the best.

:23 Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the ground as water.

Lev. 17:10-11 Ė donít spoil the blood symbolism.

Deuteronomy 16

:1 Observe the month of Abib

Also known as the month "Nisan" (not "Toyota").

It corresponds roughly with our March to April time.

:1 keep the passover unto the LORD thy God

Weíre getting now a review of the major feasts that the Jews were to keep.

:2 in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.

Eventually this meant going to Jerusalem every year for Passover.

:3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith

Attached to the Passover was the seven day "Feast of Unleavened Bread".

It was to remind them that when they fled Egypt, they didnít have time to let the bread rise, but had to eat unleavened bread.

:4 neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.

Part of the Passover sacrifice involved a lamb. There were to be no leftovers for the next day, all was to be eaten.

:6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.

This is another hint at what weíve called the "Law of the Central Sanctuary". The idea was to keep the Israelites from falling away from the Lord and developing their own sets of practices based on what part of the country they lived in. Instead, they all were to come to one place where there could be adequate oversight by the priests and Levites, and so the worship of God could stay consistent and on track.

It also would serve another purpose.

As the Central Sanctuary eventually became moved to Jerusalem, and then the temple was built, it meant that all of Israel was to go to Jerusalem for the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb.

And one day, there would be a special Passover Lamb sacrificed in Jerusalem. Jesus.

:10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God

This Feast of Weeks was also known as Pentecost. Seven weeks, seven sevens plus one equals 50, "pente" means fifty. It was celebrated 50 days after Passover.

It was also known as the feast of firstfruits.

It would also become the day that the church was born when the Holy Spirit fell on the church and brought in the "first fruits" of the gospel.

This was also the feast that Paul had such a great desire to be in Jerusalem by.

:10 with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:

Giving should be as proportional, as God has blessed you.

:11 And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.

Lesson:

Worship is for everyone.

Itís a whole family kind of thing.

:13 Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:

The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) was also called the Feast of Ingathering because it was a celebration of the end of the harvest. It falls in our September Ė October time frame.

:15 therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.

Lesson:

Worship should be joyful.

During the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, when the people had come back from Babylon and rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, they began to re-learn how to celebrate these feasts.

Neh 8:9-18 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. {10} Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. {11} So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. {12} And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them. {13} And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. {14} And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: {15} And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. {16} So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. {17} And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. {18} Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.

Yes, there is a sense that as we come before the Lord, we realize the depth of our sin. We realize just how different He is from us. But we also need to recognize His grace and mercy, and that ought to make us REJOICE!

:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose

Three weeks out of every year you were to spend in Jerusalem.

This wasnít just a vacation, it was more like a retreat, time dedicated to worshipping God.

:19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

Rules for the judges to follow:

Donít twist whatís right.

Donít take sides with someone you like. (partiality)

Donít take gifts (bribes) from people.

:21 Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.

grove Ė Asherah (or Astarte) a Phoenician goddess; also an image of the same.

Itís not talking about planting an orange grove near church, itís talking about not allowing idol worship.

:22 Neither shalt thou set thee up any image

Idolatry.