Deuteronomy 17

Sunday Evening Bible Study

October 25, 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 17

:1 shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD Ö any evilfavouredness

evilfavouredness Ė Defect or fault. Donít give God your leftovers, give Him the best.

:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and, behold, it be true

Be sure to check out your facts. Donít rush into something assume that youíve been told everything.

:5 shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

Keep in mind, this is probably what the Jews had in mind when they stoned Stephen and when they tried to kill Paul. They thought they were preserving their religion, but instead they were just protecting their traditions.

They had become so narrow in their understanding of Scripture that when God sent His promised Messiah, they didnít recognize Him.

Lesson

The difference between God and tradition.

I think that thereís a place for some kinds of traditions. The whole celebration of the various feasts of Israel were intended to become traditions, even commanded so. They carried rich, deep meanings.

But sometimes our traditions are nothing more than things weíre just used to and comfortable with, things that will hold us back from following God when Heís not tied to them.

(Isa 43:18-19 KJV) Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. {19} Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Be open to the new things that God may bring in your life.

When God began to bring the hippies to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa to be saved, there was a furor over the hippies coming to church in their bare feet. There were some people who wanted to make the hippies wear shoes so they wouldnít wear out the new carpet. Chuck said that if the problem was the carpet, then the carpet should go, not the hippies. It was attitudes like that that kept Calvary Chapel in a place where God could use them, by staying flexible to the leading of Godís Spirit. Where is God leading?

:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses,

A rule of law.

:7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death

Ryrie: A minimum of two witnesses was required, and they had to be sure enough of their own testimony to be willing to cast the first stones. In a stoning, the victim was stripped naked and his hands bound; then he was paraded out of town, where he was placed on a scaffold about nine feet high. The first witness pushed him off the scaffold; the second dropped a large stone on his head or chest. Then bystanders pelted the dying man with stones. No mourning was permitted for the dead man.

:9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites Ö

The priests and Levites were a kind of Supreme Court. They were to get all the tough cases. This is appropriate since they were to be the ones most familiar with Godís Law.

Lesson

You are equipped to make decisions.

What was it that made the priests and Levites qualified to act as a Supreme Court?

1) They were the closest to the Lord.

2) They had the Word of God.

Thereís a sense in which we too are able to make decisions.

But frankly, we donít often want to make decisions, probably because we donít want to take the rap for making a bad decision. Sometimes itís simpler not to decide.

Illustration

Sometimes the decision to do nothing is wise. But you can't make a career of doing nothing. Freddie Fulcrum weighed everything too carefully. He would say, "On the one hand... but then, on the other," and his arguments weighed out so evenly he never did anything. When Freddie died, they carved a big zero on his tombstone. If you decide to fish -- fine. Or, if you decide to cut bait -- fine. But if you decide to do nothing, you're not going to have fish for dinner. -- The Wall Street Journal

We too are close to the Lord, we too are priests unto our God (Rev. 1:6).

We too have the Word of God to give us wisdom and help in making decisions.

(1 Cor 6:1-3 KJV) Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? {2} Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? {3} Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

:14-18 About Kings

:14 I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;

This is exactly what the people did. This appears to be prophetic in that sense:

(1 Sam 8:5 KJV) And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

:15 whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee

Two conditions for a king was that it was to be someone God chose, and it was to be an Israelite.

The people actually followed these instructions.

The prophet Samuel was the one God used to pick out the first two kings, Saul and David. After David, it was a matter of his descendants becoming kings. When the kingdom split under Rehoboam, even Jeroboam was chosen by the Lord. Though the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel didnít always follow from father to son like a dynasty, there were times when the king was chosen still by a prophet, as when Jehu was anointed by a prophet to replace the son of Ahab as king (2Ki.9).

:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself Ö

Here we get some of the interesting rules a king was to follow.

1) Donít multiply horses.

This is really a way of saying that a king shouldnít be trusting in military superiority.

King David understood this:

(Psa 20:7 KJV) Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

2) Donít go back to Egypt.

They werenít to copy the Egyptians or look to them for help or advice.

Egypt is almost like a picture of the world.

Once Jesus is King in our hearts, we need to be careful that we arenít looking to the world for answers. We need to be looking to the Lord.

:17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

Two more simple rules:

1) Donít multiply wives.

It wasnít uncommon for a king to have multiple wives. This was one way to promote political and national security. You married the neighboring kingís princess. That way if your neighbor wants to attack you and conquer your kingdom, heíll have to think twice because youíre married to his little girl.

God wanted the people trusting in Him for security, not in their marriages.

2) Multiply wealth.

(Prov 30:7-9 KJV) Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: {8} Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: {9} Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

When we become wealthy, itís easy to forget the Lord. Itís easy to stop trusting in Him and to start trusting in our money. Itís the economy, stupid.

Lesson #1:

Who are you trusting?

These are all things that we as the "king" of our lives can find ourselves trusting in.

We can trust in our own ability to fight and rule over others.

We can trust in worldly ways of manipulating people and getting our way in life.

We can find security in our relationships, in our marriages. Itís not that God doesnít want you to enjoy your marriage, but God wants you to find your total fulfillment in Him. Your spouse will never be able to meet all your needs.

We can find ourselves looking for the security of material things.

(1 Tim 6:9-10 NLT) But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. {10} For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Lesson #2:

Take Godís lessons seriously.

The king who ruled during the height of the kingdom of Israel was also the one who started the downhill slide. He didnít pay attention to the four rules that God had for kings.

1) Wealth

(1 Ki 10:23-25 KJV) So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. {24} And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. {25} And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

2) Horses

(1 Ki 10:26 KJV) And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.

3) Egypt

(1 Ki 10:28-29 KJV) And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price. {29} And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.

This is in addition to the fact that he married the daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt!

4) Wives

(1 Ki 11:1-4 KJV) But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; {2} Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. {3} And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. {4} For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

We ought to learn from Solomon that you canít think that you are above Godís principles. Take Godís Word seriously.

Listen carefully to what Solomon wrote at the end of life:

(Eccl 12:8 KJV) Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

(Eccl 12:13 KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

He finally came to the conclusion that you canít get around Godís ways. Godís ways are best.

:18 he shall write him a copy of this law in a book

I wonder if Solomon ever did this. I wonder if any of the kings did this.

:19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life

If a king was to read Godís Word every day for the rest of his life, wouldnít it be wise for us to do the same?