Legal, Financial and Ritual Concerns

Deuteronomy 15-18

Chapter 15 begins, “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.” Wouldn’t that be amazing! The idea that “there need be no poor people among you,” is a worthy goal; even though, “there will always be poor people in the land.” Even today we see this reality and we know we must “not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.” Lord, I pray we can “be openhanded” and truly loving to those in our community.

Reading through this part of the Old Testament is challenging. On one hand we see timeless wisdom in the statements above, then in the next section we read about our wonderful slaves. Puzzling for those who want to believe we Christians have it right, those who are seeking what we claim is the ultimate prize: Jesus Christ.

Rejoice! “Remember that you were slaves…” Judges, don’t accept bribes, don’t worship other gods or listen to occult practices. Purge the evil among the people. No more grumbling or complaining (I’m really preaching to myself). The Lord is my inheritance…no need for more!

There is a lot of wisdom in this section, but scary consequences for those who are “to be put to death.” In our posh and super civilized culture, this extreme measure makes no sense. What we must do is understand the historical significance and look for those themes that remain constant. This is not a call for capital punishment. It is, however, a call to be blameless before the Lord.

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