Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Monday, March 14, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Mar 15, Deut 14-16

Today's readings are Deut 14-16. tomorrow's are Deut 17-20. 

Deut 14 reminds God's people that they are to be set apart from the world. They are not to engage in pagan cultic practices (cutting, shaving). Their use of animals as a food source was to be by God's clear and detailed instructions not so much as a control on their diets, but as a demonstration of their loyalty and obedience to Him. 

Their reverence for God will manifest itself in their tithes, offerings and their support of the priests who serve Him. 

Deut 15 tells us God's chosen people will have concern for the poor and oppressed. This is more than an encouragement for His people to be altruistic. It is an expression of the gift of grace God gives his people. They are to distribute the same type of grace to people who receive little or no grace from the world. God's people will be set apart by their willingness to show grace. Later in Scripture, we will see that "the poor" are not all inclusive of people without assets or means. Proverbs will speak of the sluggard who is not worthy of help because he refuses to work. Even further on, we will hear that the one who does not work does not eat. So the poor become those who are unable to support themselves.   

We also see that slavery, for God's people is a temporary condition. Freedom is a promise to them. That promise is symbolically represented  every seven years, of those who have had to sell themselves to other Israelites as slaves are set free. 

The appropriate offerings during the festivals and in the sanctuary are detailed in Deut 16. Each of them are symbolic of the things God has done for them in delivering them out of Egypt. For instance, God took every firstborn Egyptian in the tenth plague while the firstborn of Israel were spared. In a memorial expression of thanks and remembrance,  every Jewish family is to offer up the firstborn of their livestock each year. 

Deut 16:18-22 shows that God's people will be overseen by righteous judges. They are to judge in a godly manner because God judges in a righteous and godly manner. The judges of Israel are meant to be a refection of Israel's true judge. They are to show the world that God's people can govern with integrity, justice and impartiality. 

The chapter ends with forbidden modes of worship, another reminder that worship is mandated, guided by and focused on God and never at the whim of the worshiper. 

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