Deuteronomy 13-15

Thursday Evening Bible Study

November 3, 2010


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The name Deuteronomy means “second law”.

The people are about to cross into the Promised Land.

Before they cross the Jordan, Moses pulls the people aside to give them a review of what God’s laws are all about.  It’s been 38 years since they’ve heard the Law.

Things are going to be changing for the nation.  After they conquer the land, they will be spreading out into their new homes.  It’s time to review what’s important and bring out some new ideas that will be applicable in the Promised Land.

First Moses did a review of their history, and we’re now jumping into the various Laws that will be important.

Deuteronomy 13

13:1-18 False Prophets

:1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,

:2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’

:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

:1 prophetnabiy– spokesman, speaker, prophet

A prophet is a person who claims to speak for God.

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.

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.
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 23:26-27 NLT) 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.

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 comes 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 Co 1:22 NKJV) —22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
Jesus performed many “signs” as proofs of His authenticity.
(Jn 20:30–31 NKJV) —30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in 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”
(Ga 1:6–9 NKJV) —6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you 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”.

Paul even talks about “another Jesus” (2Cor. 11:3-4)
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.

:3 the LORD your God is testing you …

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


Tests prove love

God tests us to see if we really love Him above anything else.
God says He would allow these deceivers to be a sort of “test”.  To see if the Israelites will choose to follow Him rather than some new hyped up thing.
I get concerned when people are looking too often for “signs” in their lives when it comes to making decisions.
I think God wants us to use our brains every once in a while.
Signs can be deceiving.

:4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

:5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

:5 put to death

God was pretty serious about the people paying attention to what is true.

The key thing is that God’s people continue to worship the true and living God, Yahweh.

You could perhaps make a point that Jesus might have been perceived as leading the Jews away from their worship of Yahweh.
Yet Jesus made it clear in His ministry and HE WAS YAHWEH.

:6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers,

:7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth,

:8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him;

:9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people.

:10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

:11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.

:6 your brother … your friend

God considered false doctrine to be a capital offense.

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

You may be faced with a choice to make.  Will you follow God or will you follow your family?

Jesus said,
(Lk 14:26–27 NKJV) —26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

The point is not about “killing” or “hating” your family.  The issue is about influence.

When a person close to you is trying to influence you away from God, how will you respond?

:12 “If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell in, saying,

:13 ‘Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods” ’—which you have not known—

:14 then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you,

:15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword.

:14 you shall inquire


Check the facts.

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.
I hate to say it, but all the fake computer “warnings” I get come from my Christian friends.

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.

What’s worse is that this goes way beyond computer hoaxes. It gets into real people’s lives.
One of the things I see happening lately in the Christian community is the temptation to label things in a slanderous way.

One of the biggest buzzwords today “emergent”.  Some churches consider it cool to be considered “emergent”, but there are a lot of churches who consider it a horrible slander to accuse another church of being “emergent”.

The problem is, there is no standard, set definition of what it means to be “emergent”.

Some see it as meaning that your church is cool, hip, and has the latest music.

Some see it as bringing into the church ancient practices from Orthodox Christianity or Catholicism.

Others see it as people who deny basic doctrines like the Trinity.  Now that is what’s seriously wrong.

When you hear this term, please learn to ask the question, “What do you mean by this?  What proof do you have of this?”

After the Israelites conquered the Promised Land, they heard that the tribes that had settled on the east of the Jordan River were busy building a strange altar near the Jordan River (Josh. 22).  It sounded like idolatry.
The nation gathered to send their armies to wipe out these tribes, but decided to first send Phinehas, the son of the high priest, to check it out.
They ended up finding out that they weren’t building the altar to worship another god, but they were building it as a reminder to future generations that the tribes on both sides of the river Jordan worshipped the same God, Yahweh.
It’s good to check your facts.

:15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants

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 And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again.

:17 So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers,

:18 because you have listened to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the LORD your God.

:16 completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder

Not only do you eliminate the “gods” that could lead people astray, but also no one profits from the plunder.  It’s all destroyed.

You can’t accuse someone of blasphemy just to steal their Playstation.
Ahab & Jezebel – the vineyard of Naboth (1Ki. 21).  Jezebel accused Naboth of blasphemy so Ahab could take Naboth’s vineyard.

Deuteronomy 14

14:1-2 Bad Mourning

:1 “You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead.

:2 For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

:1 you shall not cut yourselves

Apparently 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.


Appearances might mislead

God doesn’t want His people following pagan customs.
Sometimes, in the quest to be considered “cool”, we can give people the wrong idea.  The way we dress, the way we act, the things we say can mislead.
Paul wrote,
(1 Th 5:22 NKJV) Abstain from every form of evil.

We ought to be careful that we don’t mislead people into thinking we’re something we’re not.

Yet there is 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 Co 9:22 NKJV) —22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become 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.

14:3-21 Clean and Unclean Meat

:3 “You shall not eat any detestable thing.

:4 These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat,

:5 the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep.

:6 And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split into two parts, and that chews the cud, among the animals.

:7 Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as these: the camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax; for they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves; they are unclean for you.

:8 Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses.

:9 “These you may eat of all that are in the waters: you may eat all that have fins and scales.

:10 And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.

:11 “All clean birds you may eat.

:12 But these you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard,

:13 the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds;

:14 every raven after its kind;

:15 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds;

:16 the little owl, the screech owl, the white owl,

:17 the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl,

:18 the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat.

:19 “Also every creeping thing that flies is unclean for you; they shall not be eaten.

:20 “You may eat all clean birds.

:21 “You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God. “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.


We get a list of all the various clean and unclean animals.

:7 they are unclean for youtame’ – unclean, impure

It’s kind of like teaching your kids the difference between good candy and bad candy.

Play Tim Hawkins “Bad Candy” clip.

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 NKJV) —21 Moreover the person who touches any unclean thing, such as human uncleanness, an unclean animal, or any abominable unclean thing, and who eats the flesh of the sacrifice of the peace offering that belongs to the LORD, that person shall be cut off from his people.
We might call this a “ceremonial” uncleanness. It’s not just talking about germs and disease.


A healthy 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.
Yet there is value to paying attention to these laws.
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!


Spiritual clarity

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 slaves in Egypt for 400 years, things weren’t so clear.

Perhaps the Israelites had spent too much time in Egypt.

They no longer understood the differences between clean and unclean.

I am quite concerned that we are losing our spiritual clarity as Christians living in this worldly, secular, pagan America.
We are becoming more and more like the church of Laodicea:

(Re 3:15–17 NKJV) —15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—

Solomon told us what happens when we hang around “fools” too much:

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

The Bible says:

(Heb 12:1 NKJV) —1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

We might know some of the “sin” we need to lay aside.

Do we know what are the “weights” in our lives?  What are the things that slow us down?

I think there might be things that are not particularly “sin”, but are “unclean”.  There might not be a rule against these things, but they slow us down.

God give us discernment.

14:22-29  The Tithe

:22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.

:22 titheasar – to tithe, take the tenth part of, give a tithe, take a tithe

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 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

:23 that you may learn to fear the LORD


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.

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 Co 9:6–8 NKJV) —6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for 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.

:24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you,

:25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.

:26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.

:24 not able to carry the tithe

If you are a shepherd, your tithe would be in animals.  But it may be too far to Jerusalem to take your flocks, so you sell your “tithe” and bring the money to Jerusalem, or, the “Central Sanctuary” (Deut. 12)

:27 You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.

:28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.

:29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

:28 every third year

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

15:1-6 Sabbath Debts

:1 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts.

:2 And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the LORD’s release.

:3 Of a foreigner you may require it; but you shall give up your claim to what is owed by your brother,

:1 a release of debts

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 except when there may be no poor among you; for the LORD will greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance—

:5 only if you carefully obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe with care all these commandments which I command you today.

:4 when there may 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.
You demonstrate great “wealth”, great “grace” when you release another person from your grudge.

:6 For the LORD your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.

:6 you shall lend

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,
(Lk 6:36–38 NKJV) —36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Want others to be merciful to you? Be merciful.

15:7-11 Generosity to the Poor

:7 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother,

:8 but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.

:8 willingly lend


Helping the needy

God wants us to be open to the needs of others.
I find it interesting that the word “lend” is used instead of “give”
(Pr 19:17 NKJV) He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.
Stay balanced though –
(2 Th 3:10 NKJV) —10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall 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.

Skip to …

:9 Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you.

:9 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 You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.

:11 For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’

15:12-18 Bondservants

:12 “If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.

:12 let him go free

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.

Skip to…

:13 And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed;

:14 you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the LORD has blessed you with, you shall give to him.

:13 you shall not let him go away empty-handed

God didn’t see the slave as an object. The slave was a person. They deserved wages.

:15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.

:16 And if it happens that he says to you, ‘I will not go away from you,’ because he loves you and your house, since he prospers with you,

:17 then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also to your female servant you shall do likewise.

:17 take an awl

The idea was to pierce the ear, then put a ring in it so the hole doesn’t close up.

Piercing the ear was a sign of permanent, willing slavery.


A willing servant

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 –
(Ps 40:6 NKJV) Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
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:
(Ro 1:1 NKJV) —1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ
Jesus said,
(Mk 9:35 NKJV) —35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Perhaps we all ought to have our ears pierced.

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:18 It shall not seem hard to you when you send him away free from you; for he has been worth a double hired servant in serving you six years. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all that you do.

:18 It shall not seem hard

If your servant wants to leave, then you pay him well and let him go.

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.

15:19-23 Firstborn Animals

:19 “All the firstborn males that come from your herd and your flock you shall sanctify to the LORD your God; you shall do no work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock.

:19 sanctify

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.

:20 You and your household shall eat it before the LORD your God year by year in the place which the LORD chooses.

:21 But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.

:22 You may eat it within your gates; the unclean and the clean person alike may eat it, as if it were a gazelle or a deer.

:23 Only you shall not eat its blood; you shall pour it on the ground like water.

:23 not eat its blood

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

:21 defect


Giving God the best

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 had 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.

The King of Heaven may not always be dressed up in our presence, but He still deserves our best.