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 17 through 20, delivering various laws which boil down to trusting in the inerrancy of the Lord. Some impressions from the text:
- Idolatry was punishable by death in ancient Israel. Our modern sensibilities may balk at that. There was no freedom of religion. While we do not pursue or condone theocracy today, and certainly would never execute someone for worshiping a different god, believers must keep in mind that idoltry remains a capital offense in God’s eyes. Christ paid the penalty for that sin on the cross, and the penalty was death.
- The law concerning kings in Israel proves noteworthy in a couple of ways. First, it foreshadowed that Israel would request a human king in order to be like the surrounding nations. God granted this request without necessarily condoning it, and we note later in scripture the many curses which bad kings brought upon the land. Second, we note that kings are advised to avoid all the typical trappings of royal office: silver, gold, many wives, etc. Such earthly abundance turns men’s hearts away from God.
- Chapter 18 closes out with a simple and effective way for testing claims of prophecy. If the word comes true, the prophet is real. This means that prophecy itself must be something concrete, specific, and verifiable. So Nostradamus doesn’t count. Neither do vaguely worded horoscopes.
- The chief law concerning warfare is essentially “don’t be afraid.” God is the one doing the fighting, and cannot be defeated. Failure to trust in that is what cost an entire generation of Israelites forty years in the wilderness.
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
Holiness requires us to be intentionally different. – Deuteronomy 14-16