Deuteronomy 13-15

Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 2, 2001


The name Deuteronomy means, “Second Law”.

It is Moses’ final address to the people. It covers the last 1½ months of Moses’ life. He’s 120 years old. Moses is rehearsing the work of God in Israel’s past history, and giving them a review of God’s law before they cross into the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 13

:1 If there arise among you a prophet,

A prophet is a person through whom God speaks.

For the nation of Israel at this time, Moses has been their “prophet”. God has been leading the people and teaching them through the man Moses.

Prophecy is a good thing. It is good to have God speak to you personally. It is good to know what God is thinking and desiring for you.

But with prophecy comes a huge temptation for abuse.

If a person is truly speaking for God, then you had better pay attention to what they say, because if you disobey what is being said, you aren’t just disobeying a person, you are disobeying God.

This is the “ultimate” authority.

This kind of authority is quite attractive. If you have this kind of authority, if you tell people what to do and put a “thus saith the Lord” at the end of it, they have to do it.
This kind of power attracts the wrong kind of people, people who want to exercise authority over others. It can also twist people around who start off well.
Some are attracted to this because they simply want power. They want to dominate other people.
I think that sometimes a person can be attracted to this for what seems to be a good motive. They want to help people. They see what needs to be fixed in people and feel they can do something about it.
Yet either way, if a person claims to be speaking for God but God hasn’t been speaking, then the person is a “false prophet”.

A false prophet is someone who claims to be speaking with God’s authority, but God isn’t the one behind the words.

(Jer 23:25-32 NLT) "I have heard these prophets say, 'Listen to the dream I had from God last night.' And then they proceed to tell lies in my name. {26} How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. {27} By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal. {28} Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between chaff and wheat! {29} Does not my word burn like fire?" asks the LORD. "Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes rock to pieces? {30} "Therefore," says the LORD, "I stand against these prophets who get their messages from each other-- {31} these smooth-tongued prophets who say, 'This prophecy is from the LORD!' {32} Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people," says the LORD.

Moses is about to leave the scene. He is about to die. God is going to be preparing the people for knowing how to tell if a prophet is of God or not. There are going to be two tests, one here in chapter 13, the other in chapter 18.

:2 the sign or the wonder come to pass,

The idea is that the prophecy or dream is accompanied by something miraculous. Either a predicted thing comes true, or some miracle occurs.

Miracles can be a sign that God is at work.

The Jews look for signs.

(1 Cor 1:22 KJV) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

Jesus performed many “signs” as proofs of His authenticity.

(John 20:30-31 KJV) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: {31} But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

But …


Miracles alone don’t prove truth.

I think much of our society has fallen into the trap of thinking that if something miraculous occurs, that it must be God.
The truth is that supernatural experiences can come from places other than from God.
Be careful when you see people pointing to miracles as the sole reason why something should be followed.

:2 Let us go after other gods

Here’s the thing that should stop us.


Correct theology proves truth.

I think it’s important to mention that this should include more than just “gods” with a different name. It’s more than just staying away from Hinduism or the worship of Baal.
There is more than one “gospel”
(Gal 1:6-9 KJV) I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: {7} Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. {8} But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. {9} As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Paul, in writing to the Galatians, was dealing with the Judaizers. These were Jewish believers who taught that a person had to become circumcised and follow the Law as a full Jew in order to be saved. They didn’t teach salvation as a gift from God, but rather that it was something you earned. Legalism is a “different gospel”.

There is more than one “Jesus”
(2 Cor 11:3-4 NLT) But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. {4} You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.

Because a person mentions the English name “Jesus” doesn’t mean that they are talking about the same Jesus you and I are talking about. This is why we need to pay attention to what people say about Jesus, not just that they use His name.

The Mormon was the half brother of Lucifer.

The Jesus of the Jehovah Witnesses was once Michael the archangel, a created being.

So how can we tell which Jesus or which gospel is true?
For a young Christian, it may seem confusing since these people are also quoting the Bible. The difference is that they make up their doctrines by picking one verse here, another verse there, and patching it all together to make a different message.
Stay in the Word. Keep reading your Bible. Keep reading the entire book, not just a verse here and a verse there.


The Puppies
A little boy sat one Saturday with a box full of puppies in front of a Mormon Church building. He was selling them and had a sign on the box, which read, “Mormon Puppies for sale”. A man walking along thought this looked funny, walked over and looked at the newly born pups and asked the young salesman how much he wanted for the little dogs. The boy looked at him and said “$3.00 each”. The man said, “They looked like they were born this morning.” The little boy said yes they were, but they were from good parents and his daddy wouldn’t let him keep them.
Later that afternoon the man found the little boy in front of a Baptist church selling the same pups with a sign which read, “Baptist Puppies for sale”. He walked over to the little boy and asked him about the dogs, “Aren’t these the same dogs you were selling earlier today?” The little boy said, “Yes”. “How much do you want for them?” asked the man. “$5.00 each” said the boy. The man curious about the name changed as well as the price, asked the boy “Why the different name and price?” To which the small salesman replied, “They have their eyes open now...”

:3 for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

This is a difficult truth, but it’s right here.


God allows times of testing to see if you really love Him.

Why did God allow Satan to be in the Garden of Eden and tempt Adam and Eve?
To give mankind a choice of whether to love and serve God, or whether to serve Satan.
Why does God allow temptation in my life?
Because He wants you to CHOOSE to love Him. If there’s no choice, then it’s not real love.
Keep in mind, God never allows temptation that is greater than we can handle:

(1 Cor 10:13 KJV) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter …

Sometimes the temptations can come from sources a little too close for comfort.

:9 thou shalt surely kill him;

God considered false doctrine to be a capital offense.

This is a lesson similar to what Jesus had in mind when He said:

(Luke 14:26-27 KJV) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. {27} And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

The point is not in really “killing” or “hating” people, but that we need to be careful that we don’t allow ourselves to be in a position where our family or friends are taking us away from the Lord.

:13 the children of Belial,

Can be translated “children of wickedness”, or “children of Satan”, NAS has “worthless men”.

:14 Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently …


Check it out first.

I’m afraid to say it, but Christians are some of the most gullible people on the face of this planet. We believe just about anything anyone says.
Computer hoaxes

I’m constantly getting people send me “warnings” about the latest Internet virus that is coming through e-mail. Most of them are hoaxes. It may take “guts to say “Jesus”, but the supposed virus that goes around wiping out your hard drive doesn’t exist.

The other thing that gets spread through the Internet are the “urban legends”, the outrageous stories that get passed on e-mail.

There are stories about dying children who will be benefited if you forward an e-mail to your friends. There are warnings about evil people who are out to drug you and take your organs and sell them to third world countries. There are stories of AIDS contaminated needles being stuck on the handles of gas pumps, stories of the government charging a tax on internet usage, and that the FCC is planning to ban religious broadcasting.

These things aren’t true, but somehow, there are always PLENTY of people who will not only believe them, but will pass the stories on to others.

What’s worse is that this goes way beyond computer hoaxes. It gets into real people’s lives.



“Gossip” is saying slanderous, negative things about people.
Sometimes those slanderous things are not true. That’s why we need to be careful about what we listen to and sometimes the appropriate thing is to “check” to see if it’s really true.
The Bible has a lot to say about gossip.
 (Lev 19:16 NLT) "Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people. "Do not try to get ahead at the cost of your neighbor's life, for I am the LORD.
(Prov 11:13 NLT) A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
(Prov 16:28 NIV) A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.
(Prov 20:19 NLT) A gossip tells secrets, so don't hang around with someone who talks too much.
(Prov 26:20 NLT) Fire goes out for lack of fuel, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
The Gossiper
A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbor. Within a few days the whole community knew the story. The person it concerned was deeply hurt and offended. Later the woman responsible for spreading the rumor learned that it was completely untrue. She was very sorry and went to a wise old sage to find out what she could do to repair the damage. “Go to the marketplace,” he said, “and purchase a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck its feathers and drop them one by one along the road.” Although surprised by this advice, the woman did what she was told. The next day the wise man said, “Now go and collect all those feathers you dropped yesterday and bring them back to me.” The woman followed the same road, but to her dismay, the wind had blown the feathers all away. After searching for hours, she returned with only three in her hand. “You see,” said the old sage, “it’s easy to drop them, but it’s impossible to get them back. So it is with gossip. It doesn’t take much to spread a rumor, but once you do, you can never completely undo the wrong.”
Author Unknown, Submitted by Helen Hazinski from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
Copyright 1997 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger
What if the “gossip” is true?
I think that sometimes we are called on to warn others.

Paul did this at times. Paul warned Timothy –

(1 Tim 1:20 KJV) Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

This “warning” of others shouldn’t take place until you’ve talked to and confronted the individual you are talking about.

But most of the time, the appropriate thing is not to be passing on the negative stories, even when it’s true. Usually it is not appropriate to even be allowing yourself to listen to some of the stories.

The Bible says that love “covers” a multitude of sins.

(Prov 10:12 KJV) Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

I think that sometimes this means that we give people a break. Instead of ruining their reputation forever by passing on this juicy knowledge of their secret sins, we ought to be covering it up and praying for that person.

:15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword,

I believe that this is what the Israelites were doing in Judges 20 when they gathered together to come against the wickedness in one of the cities of Benjamin.

:16 thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit,

When an idolatrous city like this was to be destroyed, there was to be no spoil taken. Instead, everything in the city, including everything valuable, was to be burned and destroyed.

This was to make sure that the reason they were attacking this city was out of obedience to the Lord, and not because they just wanted to plunder the city and get rich.

Deuteronomy 14

:1 Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.

These were some of the ancient practices of the pagans done to honor their gods.

Some of the pagans honored their god (the Arabian god Orotal) with the cutting of their hair, or making cuts in their flesh.


Don't let your appearance make people think that you worship anybody other than Jesus Christ.

1Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
I don’t want us to mistake the way a person dresses with what is going on inside our heart. But if you are dressing in a way that looks evil, think twice.
I think there’s a balance to this.
I’ve known some Christian musicians who look pretty “rocked out”, but it’s so they can have an opening into the lives of people who wouldn’t listen to them otherwise.
Paul wrote:
(1 Cor 9:22 KJV) To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
We need to find a balance between relating to people and yet not giving them the impression that we serve their gods.

:2 to be a peculiar people unto himself

peculiarsegullah – possession, property; valued property, peculiar treasure. We are God’s treasures.

:3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.

abominabletow`ebah – a disgusting thing, abomination; in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages)

:5 The hart …

hart = deer

roebuck = gazelle

fallow deer = roe deer

pygarg = mountain goat

wild ox = antelope

chamois = mountain sheep

:6 And every beast that parteth the hoof … and cheweth the cud among the beasts

A basic rule for telling clean and unclean animals apart. If it has a cleft in it’s hoof and it chews the cud, it’s okay.

:7 and the coney

coney = rock badger, a rodent.

:7 therefore they are unclean unto you.

The implications of being "unclean"

Being unclean wasn’t quite like sinning, but very close.

There was a consequence to being unclean.

If you were involved in unclean things, you could not participate in worship, and you could not participate in fellowship with God (the peace offering).
Le 7:21 Moreover the soul that shall touch any unclean [thing, as] the uncleanness of man, or [any] unclean beast, or any abominable unclean [thing], and eat of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which [pertain] unto the LORD, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.
We might call this a “ceremonial” uncleanness. It's not just talking about germs and disease.

There was a distinction between clean and unclean all the way back to Noah, way before Moses' time. Noah took into the ark two of every unclean animal and seven of every clean animal (Gen. 7:1-2).

God didn't tell Noah a lot about which animals were clean and which were unclean. Apparently, this was something that Noah already understood.

Yet after being in Egypt for 400 years, things weren't so clear anymore.

I think it was because the Israelites had spent too much time in the worldly land of Egypt.
They no longer understood the differences between clean and unclean.


Be careful about being too much in the world.
You lose your ability to discern what is pleasing to the Lord and what isn't.

(Prov 14:7 NASB) Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.

:8 And the swine

Sorry, no bacon.

:9 all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:

The rule for seafood – fins and scales. Fish stick are okay!

:10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.

No shrimp!

:12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey,

ossifrage and osprey = Two types of vultures.

:13 And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,

kite = A medium-sized bird of prey

:15 the cuckoo

cuckoo = Possibly the sea gull.

:17 the gier eagle, and the cormorant

gier eagle = the Egyptian vulture

cormorant = A large, black, gooselike bird.

:18 lapwing, and the bat.

lapwing = A beautiful bird with colored plumage.

bat = Buffalo batwings anyone?

Are you upset that we can’t eat fried bat wings? I don’t think so.

Just because it’s in the Law doesn’t mean we’re going to have a problem with obeying it.


Why this diet?

The specific dietary restrictions no longer apply to us.
Jesus declared that all foods were now clean (Mar. 7:15-23). He said that it wasn’t what went into a person that defiled them, but what came out of their heart.
From the time of Jesus, it has become clear that it's not what goes into a person by way of food that makes them spiritually unclean.
Beyond this, there are a couple of reasons for these laws.
1. Health reasons

Most of the animals on the “unclean” list were scavengers, carriers of disease.

In the middle ages, during the "black plague", many people died from the bubonic plague, except the Jews.

Some believed this proved that it was a Jewish plot.

What it actually proved was the superiority of their way of life, demonstrated by these dietary laws.

God wanted His people healthier than the rest.

In a way, some of these dietary laws aren't all that bad for us!

2. Holiness

This is the reason that God specifically gives.

vs. 2 – we are a “holy” people.

He wants His people to be Holy, because He is Holy. He wants His people to be different, set apart from the ways of the world, and learning to eat what He asks them to eat is a way of teaching them to learn to depend on God for knowing what is right.

Being holy carries the idea of departing from sin, being separate from the world.

Some people want to know just how much they can do, and still call themselves Christians.

God's desire is that we learn to get as far away from sin as possible.

God wants us to develop sensitivity to Him, a desire to be pleasing to Him.

:21 Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

This refers to the cooking of a baby goat or lamb in the milk of its mother.

Why? I haven’t seen any clear answers, only suggestions. Perhaps the best suggestion is that God was concerned about people becoming too cruel and crass as to kill an animal and then boil it in its own mother’s milk.

The Jews carry this law into their dietary customs by not eating dairy and meat products together.

:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.

The tithe was a tenth. God reminds the people to not forget to give Him back the tithe.

This command was considered by Jewish interpreters to be a second tithe.

Ryrie: Two tithes were required: an annual tithe for the maintenance of the Levites (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21) and a second tithe brought to Jerusalem for the Lord's feast (Deut. 14:22). Every third year, however, the second tithe was kept at home and used for the poor (Deut. 14:28).

:23 that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.


Tithing and Fearing

What does tithing have to do with fearing the Lord?
It has to do with learning to trust and obey God, even when sometimes it doesn’t make sense or seem logical.
There are times when it doesn’t make sense to give, and yet God wants you to trust Him to take care of your needs. In Haggai’s time, the people had just returned from Babylon, and it was time to rebuild the temple. Yet the people got distracted and made their own priorities to be building their own houses instead.

(Hag 1:3-10 NLT) So the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai: {4} "Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? {5} This is what the LORD Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! {6} You have planted much but harvested little. You have food to eat, but not enough to fill you up. You have wine to drink, but not enough to satisfy your thirst. You have clothing to wear, but not enough to keep you warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes! {7} "This is what the LORD Almighty says: Consider how things are going for you! {8} Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the LORD. {9} You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the LORD Almighty, while you are all busy building your own fine houses. {10} That is why the heavens have withheld the dew and the earth has withheld its crops.

In Malachi, God challenges the people to put Him first and tithe.

(Mal 3:10 NIV) Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

This is not just an Old Testament concept. In the New Testament, the principle is the same, if we put God and make His concerns our concerns, then He will take care of our needs.

(2 Cor 9:6-8 KJV) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. {7} Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. {8} And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

We need to be careful that we aren’t being pressured by people to give. But if God is truly leading you in your giving, God will supply your needs.

:26 strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and

strong drink – (Ryrie) Some think this was fermented, but low in alcohol content, beer. Others note that Num. 28:7 uses this same word for the content of a strong drink offering, indicating perhaps that the strong drink was not drunk by the offerer but used in a drink offering to the Lord. Proverbs 20:1 warns against its use, and Israel did not consume wine or strong drink during the 40 years in the wilderness (Deut. 29:6).

:26 thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,

If it was too far to go to the Central Sanctuary (Deu. 12), too far to take your lambs and cows, then you could sell the animals for money, and buy animals at the Sanctuary, and still give to God.

:28 At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:

Once every three years, this “second tithe” was to be given to the local synagogue to help support the local Levites and the poor.

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 didn’t also help teach forgiveness.

The concept of forgiveness is the releasing of a debt. I’m 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.


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.
It’s 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.


Reaping and Sowing.

If you would forgive others, you’ll 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


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 – in what he needs, not our modern “wants”.


Helping the needy

God wants us to be open to the needs of others.
Stay balanced though –
(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 aren’t 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 won’t have to pay it back, so you don’t lend to them.


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, I’ll have to forgive them again, so I won’t hang around them.”
I agree that there’s a time to separate yourself from the wrong kind of influences.
But we shouldn’t 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.

(Psa 41:1 KJV) To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

: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. It’s not that much different from much of our employment situations.

It’s 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 God’s desire is for all to be free.

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

:13 thou shalt not let him go away empty:

God didn’t 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


A willing servant

Piercing the ear was a sign of permanent, willing slavery.
Another way of describing a pierced ear was to call it an ear “that had been opened”. I believe David is referring to this in the Psalms in regards to his relationship with God –
(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.
David is describing his relationship with God as one of a slave and a master. A slave that has willingly chosen to stay in the house of his master because he loves Him. David is saying that God would rather have David as a willing servant than to have David simply offering gifts and sacrifices to God.
Paul considered himself a slave of God:
(Rom 1:1 KJV) Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ …
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.
Perhaps we all ought to have our ears pierced.

:18 It shall not seem hard unto thee …

When we’re doing what God requires, we should enjoy the blessing of being in God’s will. God will take care of you.

Be willing to let go of what God wants you to let go of.

: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.

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…thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.

Don’t give God your leftovers. Give God only the best.


Best Umbrella

One day while walking with some children and palace attendants, Queen Mary was caught in a sudden thunderstorm. The queen quickly took shelter on the porch of a home. To avoid attracting a crowd, she disguised her appearance by putting on a hat that partly covered her face and a plain coat she borrowed from one of her attendants. The queen then knocked at the door and asked to borrow an umbrella. “I’ll send it back tomorrow,” she told the unfriendly woman who answered the door. Despite the assurances about returning her umbrella, the woman did not want to lend her best umbrella. So she retrieved an old umbrella stored in the attic. One rib was broken, and there were several holes in it. With a haughty attitude and scornful words, she handed it to the unrecognized monarch. The next day the woman had another visitor—a man with gold braid on his uniform and an envelope in his hand. “The queen sent me with this letter,” he said, “and also asked me to thank you personally for the loan of your umbrella.” The woman was stunned, and then brokenhearted. She burst into tears. “This is just horrible—I missed an opportunity to give my queen my very best!” she sobbed. “And my attitude was shameful,” she added.

We can see that there are times to be giving “the best” of what we have. A Queen deserves the best. The King of Heaven deserves even better. He deserves the best of whatever we give unto Him, whether it is our time, our efforts, or our gifts.

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

Lev. 17:10-11 – don’t spoil the blood symbolism.