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flags flying March 21 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Deuteronomy 23, 24, 25, 26

Policies and Rules to Follow

Every government, organization, and family has its policies and rules (written or not). How do we want things done in our government, businesses, churches, families, or other organizations or institutions? There are certain ways we want to do things, and they are usually based on core principles. Clear communication of these policies prevents confusion, inconsistency, frustration, and general deterioration. In the times just before Israel was to enter the Promised Land, Moses communicated to them more of the policies of the LORD in order to safeguard their inheritance. These were stipulations the Israelites were to keep in order to stay in the good graces of the LORD their God. These were patterned after the Suzerain Treaties of their day (more…) .

First, there were exclusions for those allowed in the assembly of worshipping Israelites. For instance, the strange exclusion of those who were emasculated by cutting or crushing is linked with exclusion for those born of a forbidden marriage (Deuteronomy 23:1). Israelites were not to marry Ammonites or Moabites, and those two groups were forbidden access into the assembly because of their malice against Israel. This link may suggest castration was a cultic practice of idolatrous nations (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the O.T., by Walvoord and Zuck, ©1985, p.303). However, God wanted the Israelites to be fruitful and multiply in the land (Genesis 35:10-11). Male and female shrine prostitutes were also forbidden in the assembly (Deuteronomy 23:17-18). Though there is forgiveness for all who sin (more...), those who live unrepentant cultic lifestyles are detrimental influences on those who gather for worship. We should restrict them from attendance until there is demonstrated repentance and the forsaking of their evil ways. In addition to these exclusions, there were also exclusions for those with contagious diseases, and we can understand the logic of that (Deuteronomy 24:8; Leviticus 13:45-46).

Second, there were exclusions for those allowed in the Israelite army camp. When they were in their war camp, God instructed them to keep away from everything impure (Deuteronomy 23:9). This included nocturnal emissions and even where to relieve themselves.

For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you. (Deuteronomy 23:14, NIV).

Who will you allow into your home, business, church or other organization? Would you allow anyone no matter what the circumstances were? Would you allow them to enter even if their presence would be detrimental? Would you not want to protect yourself against them? What about our attitudes and actions; are we striving to live clean and holy lives before God in his assembly or are our attitudes and actions detrimental? If they are not good, let's repent and clean up our lives.

Third, there were regulations for the treatment of their fellow Israelites. There were rules for marriage to protect women and to keep the inheritance of the land in the family (Deuteronomy 24:1-5; 25:5-10). There were rules for civil disputes and corporal punishment (Deuteronomy 25:1-3). There were policies for lending and being kind to the poor, widowed, orphaned, and aliens (Deuteronomy 23:19,23; Deuteronomy 24:10-15, 19-22). They were not to take advantage of each other. The people were to treat each other with equity, fairness and honesty. They were to remember that once they were slaves in the land of Egypt before the LORD showed compassion and saved them. How do we treat one another? Do we treat each other with love, consideration, mercy, kindness and grace, or are we mean? If we get too big for our pants (i.e., we are fat with pride) we need to remember where we came from and our humble beginnings. The LORD will bless us for our kindness, fairness, and equity with others. What policies do we have in place to help ensure these things?

Fourth, when the Israelites entered the land, they were to remember the LORD with an offering. According to Deuteronomy 26:1-11, they were to offer a basket of fruit to the LORD from the first fruits of their harvest in the new land, and they were to do this with rejoicing and thanksgiving. We also should remember the good things the LORD has done for us and give thanks. Did God give you a new job, a new house, or a new church building? Why not rejoice together and give him an offering of thanks?

Fifth, the Israelites were to voice their commitments (Deuteronomy 26:12-19). Loyalty to the LORD was all important, as it is in any organization today. In today's world written agreements are considered more binding than verbal agreements, but in God's mind they are the same; we need to be true to our word. In fact, God says vows must be kept (Deuteronomy 23:21-23). Verbal agreements seal the commitments we are making. Have we made verbal commitments to the LORD? Are we keeping them? The verbal commitments set forth in our next chapter follow the pattern of the Suzerainty Treaties of that day. May the LORD bless you as you live out your commitments to him.

Lessons to live by:

  • Sometimes policies and rules seem strange but they are for our own benefit or that of our family, society or nation.
  • Though there is forgiveness for all who sin (more...), those who live unrepentant cultic lifestyles are detrimental influences on those who gather for worship. We should restrict them from attendance until there is demonstrated repentance and the forsaking of their evil ways.
  • Are we striving to live clean and holy lives before God in his assembly or are our attitudes and actions detrimental? If they are not good, let's repent and clean up our lives.
  • The LORD will bless us for our kindness, fairness, and equity with others. What policies do we have in place to help ensure these things?
  • We should remember the good things the LORD has done for us and give him offerings of thanks.
  • Verbal agreements seal the commitments we are making. Have we made verbal commitments to the LORD? Are we keeping them?

Today's Bible memory verses:

Deuteronomy 26:17-18

You have declared this day that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in his ways, that you will keep his decrees, commands and laws, and that you will obey him. And the LORD has declared this day that you are his people, his treasured possession as he promised, and that you are to keep all his commands. (NIV)

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