Did you read that title like the 12 days of Christmas? Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive Randommm Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaws! Four calling birds . . . Anyway, I think Deuteronomy is about to get really fun. And by fun I mean “full of laws that I will have no idea what to do with and if taken at face value will … Continue reading
Welcome, recruits! This is your first day of boot camp for the Army of Israel!
I need you to listen and listen good, because I am only going to say this stuff once. There are several things that you need to know before we begin our training.
The first thing that you must always remember is that we don’t need you.
This Army’s strength does not lie in its numbers or in the ferocity of its warriors. And given the looks of all of you, I’m glad about that!
This army is strong because the LORD fights for it. Plain and simple. God is the best soldier we have. So you can rid yourself of any delusions of grandeur. You will never be as good a fighter as he is. It’s as simple as that.
You will never part a sea and destroy Egypt’s army as you bring it back together. Never.
We don’t need you.
And to prove it, I’m going to let a few of you go.
You are not being cut. And it is not because I don’t think you can handle it. We just don’t need you.
Do any of you have houses that have not been dedicated? You should go home and dedicate them. Otherwise someone else might do it.
Do any of you have vineyards? Have you tasted the fruit of those vineyards yet? No? Go home and eat those grapes, soldier! You don’t want someone else getting your first fruits!
Are any of you engaged? Go home and marry that girl! I know that you don’t want someone else marrying her!
Seriously. Go. Enjoy your life.
All you who are still here, I have one question for you: Are you afraid?
If so, you also may go. We don’t need you. This country has had its share of scared people making the rest of the people scarred. So if you are afraid of this battle, you may go.
Cities Far and Near
We are marching to a town that is far away. Our first course of action will not be to attack. So put your swords away! We will come to them and offer peace. If they accept, they will become our slaves, in which case all of our laws of slavery will apply. Remember them?
If they do not accept our peace, you may unsheathe your swords and only kill the men. Leave everyone else. They will come with us when we conquer them.
However, to the cities and peoples who are near to us, we must now show the same mercy. They are to be destroyed. All of them. Every single one.
Do I make myself clear? Yes? Good.
Welcome to the Army.
So last week my church gave me the opportunity to preach. I chose to speak on something I have been learning on the blog: The importance of story.
Both our own story and the story of God.
So if you have 40 minutes today, why don’t give it a listen you and tell me what you think? The message is the first or second one on the page and you can listen or watch in whatever format works best for you.
I can’t figure out how to make it a better link than to the “messages page” when I link right to the media player, it doesn’t work on my computer. Any tech people out there what to give me a hand? Thanks!
When I first looked at Deuteronomy 19, I was not excited. This is now the third time the topic of cities of refuge has come up. But since the last post on this was a guest post, I figured it was time I took a look at it.
Soon it became clear that the chapter was saying more than what initially may have met the eye. (Imagine that as the tagline for Transformers. Transformers: More than what initially may have met the eye!) There is a larger theme of justice and protection of the innocent that began to emerge.
Accidents and Anger
There are a few ways you can kill someone in Israelite culture. One is on accident. I mean, who hasn’t killed someone by having the head fly off their axe as they chop wood and implant itself in their buddy’s skull? I do it all the time!
The other way is in cold-blooded, hot anger in revenge of that accidental axe-head killing.
One of these ways is ok. The other is not.
And the people who commit the accidents need a place to be safe while the hot/cold killer cools down/heats up/returns to room temperature.
The goal is to prevent premeditated murder. Obviously accidental death is terrible and not wished on anyone, but it is not punishable. The other kind of killing is.
The innocent need to be protected. So God provides them with cities to flee to and find safety.
Which does beg the question: How often does this happen?
Initially, there are supposed to be three of these cities. They are to be evenly spaced throughout Israel so that someone fleeing to one of them never has far to go.
But if the people obey God, he will give them three more. He will double the number of these cities to six.
Then there will be twice as many places for the innocent to be protected.
Does this continue to increase? How many of these cities will there end up being?
Is God trying to make Israel a place where the innocent will always be safe? How long until every one of their cities becomes a city of refuge?
Once Is Enough
The chapter ends, more or less, with this phrase:
So you shall purge the evil from your midst. The rest shall hear and be afraid, and a crime such as this shall never again be committed among you.
Many of these laws are designed to frighten (for lack of a better word) Israel into not committing these crimes. I think God intends for some of these things to be done once or twice at most, maybe not at all.
If one person commits a crime and receives the punishment, that should be enough to dissuade the rest of Israel from even thinking about it.
And if they do that, Israel will be a nation of justice for all.
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Moses (M): Hello, Albus. I just wanted to let you know that I have finished my audit of your school. Would you like to know the results? Dumbledore (D): Oh, of course! Please, step into my office. And if Fawkes explodes, pay no mind. He’ll be back. Trust me, resurrection will be a very important … Continue reading
Hi everyone! I took a little birthday break last week. I wasn’t planning on it but it happened anyway. And I think it was good. I actually was on a retreat with my other Oregon InterVarsity staff at the same house where the idea for this blog was born. It was fun to be back … Continue reading
Rather than bore you with some more information about what you can and cannot eat, I’d like to jump into the second half of Deuteronomy 14 because it was decidedly un-boring. I’m telling you all, if you can plow through the slower parts of the Bible, you will find gold. GOLD!!! Tithing In chapter 14, … Continue reading
The tag-line of this blog is “blogging through the Bible with irreverent reverence.” Today, I am going to lean heavily on the irreverent side. Heavily. Yesterday I mentioned that Deuteronomy is getting a little repetitive. So I need to find new and creative ways to respond to that repetition. And is there a better way … Continue reading
Is it just me or does Moses have a bit of a memory problem? This is becoming a pattern. Maybe we should be concerned. See, a few chapters back he told us that the idea for spying out the land came not from God, but from some of the people and he agreed to it. … Continue reading
Back in Deuteronomy 6, God gave his people a warning: When you enter the land and have eaten your fill (when you start to prosper), do not forget me or what I brought you out of. Now, in Deuteronomy 8, God has something similar to say: When you have eaten your fill and have built … Continue reading