Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3: Deuteronomy 23 – 25; Psalm 75; Proverbs 12:12-14; Luke 10:13-10:37



Overview

            Deuteronomy: Certain people are excluded from the assembly of the Lord including emasculated males, Ammonites, Moabites, or children born to them and an Israelite to the tenth generation. Don’t abhor an Edomite or Egyptian.
            Keep the camp clean, dig a latrine. Welcome escaped slaves looking for refuge. No cult prostitution. Don’t charge Israelites interest. Fulfill vows. Eat from neighbors’ vineyard or field while there but don’t harvest.
            Regulations for divorce are explained. A newlywed man is free from military service for a year. Regulations for pledges for loans are explained. Kidnapping is a capital offence. Follow the law for leprous diseases. Treat hired servants right. Don’t punish parents for children’s offences and vice versa. Don’t pervert justice for foreigners, fatherless, or widows. Leave some of you harvest for gleaners.
            Punishment requiring beatings must be done in the presences of the judge. The maximum number of stripes is forty. Don’t muzzle an ox treading grain.
            If brothers live together and one dies without a son, the brother must take his wife as his own and the first son born to them will perpetuate the dead brother’s name. If he refuses, then the wife will follow a procedure to humiliate the brother.
            Regulations for a woman who issues a low blow while helping her husband in a fight. Use honest weights and measures. Wipe out the Amalekites after all the other enemies have been defeated.
            Psalm: Asaph says we thank and praise God for he is near and for his deeds. He speaks for the Lord in saying that God upholds all things and judges, especially judging the proud and boastful. Asaph says that the Lord judges by lifting up or putting down people. He punishes the wicked. Asaph will declare and praise the God of Jacob forever. The wicked will be cut down but the righteous will lifted up.
            Proverbs: Wicked people want to get things by doing evil and with their talk get trapped into it. Good people work and speak about what is good and are satisfied with the gain it provides.
            Luke: Jesus proclaims woe upon the cities that have rejected him explaining that if Tyre and Sidon had seen what Jesus did, they would have repented. Speaking to the disciples, Jesus says that those who listen to and rejects them is listening to and rejecting him. Whoever rejects Jesus is rejecting God.
            When the seventy-two disciples return joyfully, they tell Jesus that demons obeyed them. Jesus tells them he saw Satan fall but what is more important is that their names are written in heaven.
            Jesus rejoiced and thanked God that he hid thing from those who were wise in themselves but revealed them to his disciples. These things are knowledge of the Father and the Son. No one knows them except each other and those Jesus gives the knowledge to know the Father. The disciples are blessed because prophets and kings wanted to see and hear this but didn’t.
            A lawyer then tests Jesus by asking how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus asks him what he understands and he replies by quoting from the Shema, love God and neighbor. Jesus says he is right and to do it. But the lawyer wants to justify himself so he asks who his neighbor is.
            Jesus then tells the parable of the Good Samaritan. The lawyer admits that the one who sowed mercy to the injured person (a Samaritan and not priests or Levites) proved to be a neighbor. Jesus tells him to do likewise.

What Stood Out

            Deuteronomy: “When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow” (Deut 24:21).
            Psalm: “O the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity” (Ps 75:2).
            Proverbs: “From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good” (Prov 12:14).
            Luke: “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).

Insight

            Deuteronomy: The Lord always provides for what we now call marginalized people. In Israel, it was done primarily by allowing people to glean from the fields after a harvest. Israel was instructed to be what we would today consider careless in the harvest. They were told specifically not to go back over the trees, vines, or fields. They weren’t even allowed to harvest the corners of their fields. These leftovers were provided for the poor people to come and harvest.
            That isn’t the way things work today. We do our best to get every apple off every tree. I’ve picked apples and had to make sure I got every apple off the trees. The corners of fields aren’t planted sometimes because of the turning radius of the planting machines.
            There are some gleaning operations going on even today. It is usually day-old bread or other products that are given to food banks. However, these don’t provide for everyone. Since we aren’t observing the principles of leaving parts of our harvest for others, we must find other ways of taking care of those in need. Jesus said we would always have the poor among us, so we should find ways to make sure they are included in our giving. Food banks, especially run by churches where food and the Gospel are provided are superb places. Gospel missions and shelters are also places where we can confidently give and know that we are following this principle of leaving some for the poor.
            Psalm: One of the great attributes of God is his justice. He judges fairly. Since he is omniscient and know everything, he can judge correctly. He knows who is proud and boastful. He knows the motivations of hearts. His sovereignty and omnipotence is also seen in the fact that he is able to promote one person or demote another. He does this for his purposes as well as to execute judgment.
            This may seem rather scary for a person who has not put their trust in the Lord. And it really should be. They are like those described in the Psalm, proud, arrogant, and rebellious. They may not think they are rebellious, but if they aren’t trusting Jesus for salvation, they are rebelling against God.
            On the other hand, people who trust the Lord have discovered that he is good and holy. They have nothing to fear because they know their sins are forgiven and don’t have to fear God’s wrath. Jesus took that upon himself.
            Proverbs: When we are walking with the Lord and seeking his kingdom, we can be satisfied with what we have and what we do. However, when we have a lust for more of anything besides God, we will not be satisfied. We can be satisfied in our Lord, or we can be ensnared by all the things we think we need and plot ways of getting them.
            Luke: Jesus informs his disciples that whoever rejects them is ultimately rejecting Jesus and the Father. Many times when we are sharing the Gospel or simply telling others what God has done in our lives, we freeze. We are afraid of what the person may say to us or about us. We tend to look at witnessing opportunities not as God using us at that moment but as opportunities for others to look down on us and reject us. We often think we don’t want to offend the person but the real reason is that if we do offend them, they will take it out on us.
            Jesus had to remind his disciples and therefore, us, that we are not being rejected so much as they are rejecting Jesus and the Father. Sure, they may point their anger toward us because we’re standing in front of them, but they are really rejecting God. The terrible truth is that they will end up in the same situation as Bethsaida and Capernaum. Jesus said they will be brought down to Hades.
            It is a risk, but we have to decide if it is worth it. Do we risk being rejected and therefore having the person reject God or do we risk them listening and accepting the Gospel with a potential salvation occurring now or sooner in the future. Is our discomfort worth the risk of being part of the harvest of souls? If we look at the parable of the Good Samaritan, we will see that loving God and loving our neighbors means we need to reach out.

Application

            I need to be more conscious of the eternal consequences of my interaction with people. What I say and how I say it is loving my neighbor and wanting to see them saved. I need to be less focused on my comfort and more on carefully and graciously sharing the Gospel.

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