Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Deuteronomy, chapters 14 through 16, listing ways in which Israel was intentionally different from surrounding nations. Some impressions from the text:
- Upon cursory reading, it’s not clear what makes an animal clean or unclean in Chapter 14. The directions are clear enough, but the why is not. Regardless, the purpose of distinguishing clean from unclean is emphasized. “… you are a people holy to the Lord your God.” Israel was set apart, as God is set apart, and therefore held to a different standard than other nations.
- Regarding the tithe, there is a modern debate among believers as to whether this command applies today. Are we to give 10% of our income to the church? There are good scriptural arguments either way. Regardless, one thing remains clear, those of us who have been saved from the burden of our sin should give cheerfully to the work of the Lord.
- Chapter 15 opens with instruction regarding the year for cancelling debts. Imagine if we had such a thing today. In a way, we do. The year debts were cancelled served as a kind of national bankruptcy, resetting all accounts.
- Christ would later say that the poor would always be with us. That sentiment is expressed here in Chapter 15 as well. There is no biblical bias for the notion of “solving” poverty. We should be generous. We should help those in need. But we are not going to end poverty, ever.
- Along with the cancellation of debts, slaves were to be freed every seven years and provided the means to live comfortably. This was a grace, and modeled the grace shown to Israel by God.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
Moses recounts Israel’s journey through the wilderness. – Deuteronomy 1 and 2
Moses emphasizes obedience to, and glorification of, God. – Deuteronomy 3 and 4
God’s commandments serve a holy purpose. – Deuteronomy 5 through 7
Moses implores Israel to know, trust, and obey God. – Deuteronomy 8 through 10
Focused wholly on God. – Deuteronomy 11 through 13