Series: Thru the Bible
Message – The Lord’s Release – Deut. 15-17
The Lord’s Release
Deut. 15:1-23, HCSB “(1) At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. (2) This is how to cancel debt: Every creditor is to cancel what he has lent his neighbor. He is not to collect anything from his neighbor or brother, because the LORD’s release of debts has been proclaimed.
(3) You may collect something from a foreigner, but you must forgive whatever your brother owes you.
(4) “There will be no poor among you, HOWEVER, because the LORD is certain to bless you in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance– (5) if only you obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow every one of these commands I am giving you today. (6) When the LORD your God blesses you as He has promised you, you will lend to many nations but not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. “
They didn’t meet the ‘IF’ but you give to them anyway
(7) “If there is a poor person among you, one of your brothers within any of your gates in the land the LORD your God is giving you, you must not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. (8) Instead, you are to open your hand to him and freely loan him enough for whatever need he has.
(9) Be careful that there isn’t this wicked thought in your heart, ‘The seventh year, the year of canceling debts, is near,’ and you are stingy toward your poor brother and give him nothing. He will cry out to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty. (10) Give to him, and don’t have a stingy heart when you give, and because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you do. (11) For there will never cease to be poor people in the land; that is why I am commanding you, ‘You must willingly open your hand to your afflicted and poor brother in your land.’
(12) “If your fellow Hebrew, a man or woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, you must set him free in the seventh year. (13) When you set him free, do not send him away empty-handed. (14) Give generously to him from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress. You are to give him whatever the LORD your God has blessed you with. (15) Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you; that is why I am giving you this command today.”
(16) But if your slave says to you, ‘I don’t want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family, and is well off with you, (17) take an awl and pierce through his ear into the door, and he will become your slave for life. Also treat your female slave the same way. (18) Do not regard it as a hardship when you set him free, because he worked for you six years–worth twice the wages of a hired hand. Then the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.
“(19) “You must consecrate to the LORD your God every firstborn male produced by your herd and flock. You are not to put the firstborn of your oxen to work or shear the firstborn of your flock. (20) Each year you and your family are to eat it before the LORD your God in the place the LORD chooses. (21) But if there is a defect in the animal, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you must not sacrifice it to the LORD your God. (22) Eat it within your gates; both the unclean person and the clean may eat it, as though it were a gazelle or deer. (23) But you must not eat its blood; pour it on the ground like water.”
Deut. 16:1-22, HCSB
“(1) Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, because the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night in the month of Abib. (2) Sacrifice to the LORD your God a Passover animal from the herd or flock in the place where the LORD chooses to have His name dwell. (3) You must not eat leavened bread with it. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread with it, the bread of hardship–because you left the land of Egypt in a hurry–so that you may remember for the rest of your life the day you left the land of Egypt. (4) No yeast is to be found anywhere in your territory for seven days, and none of the meat you sacrifice in the evening of the first day is to remain until morning. (5) You are not to sacrifice the Passover animal in any of the towns the LORD your God is giving you. (6) You must only sacrifice the Passover animal at the place where the LORD your God chooses to have His name dwell. Do this in the evening as the sun sets at the same time of day you departed from Egypt. (7) You are to cook and eat it in the place the LORD your God chooses, and you are to return to your tents in the morning. (8) You must eat unleavened bread for six days. On the seventh day there is to be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God, and you must not do any work.”
I have heard many Christians get all up tight about celebrating holidays not mentioned in the Bible. I do not share their concern, so long as participation in the holiday is not a departure from Christian beliefs and practice. For example, I for one, would not participate in Halloween – not because I actually believe there is anything wrong with costume parties or a tradition of going from house to house for candy – it is that it’s central focus is death which could not be less Christian. I would not attempt to impose this personal belief on another – it is just one I hold to myself.
However, Christmas, which no one knows the origin of precisely since MANY festivals around the world have historically fallen on the time of Winter Solstice I doubt very much that any “tradition” of Christmas is original to THAT holiday. That having been said, it is a day in which – like Easter – despite the competing traditions of bunnies and flying reindeer, actually promote the telling of the Gospel at least in part and I feel that it is therefore, worthy of participation, and I think this for the same reason God told Israel to celebrate Passover. It was an annual commemoration of the day God delivered them from the world!
Feast of Weeks
“(9) You are to count seven weeks, counting the weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. (10) You are to celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God with a freewill offering that you give in proportion to how the LORD your God has blessed you. (11) Rejoice before the LORD your God in the place where He chooses to have His name dwell–you, your son and daughter, your male and female slave, the Levite within your gates, as well as the foreign resident, the fatherless, and the widow among you. (12) Remember that you were slaves in Egypt; carefully follow these statutes.”
For this festival, they were to count 50 days from the Feast of Firstfruits at the end of the wheat harvest and then celebrate the bringing in of the new grain offering for the Lord. We have the advantage of knowing part of what this was “rehearsing” due to the day of Pentecost to which this feast corresponds. Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for POWER from on High. You remember what Peter said on that day, “This is that which the prophet Joel said…” So let’s go read that passage in Joel 2 beginning in verse 18.
Feast of Booths
“(13) You are to celebrate the Festival of Booths for seven days when you have gathered in everything from your threshing floor and winepress. (14) Rejoice during your festival–you, your son and daughter, your male and female slave, as well as the Levite, the foreign resident, the fatherless, and the widow within your gates. (15) You are to hold a seven-day festival for the LORD your God in the place He chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, and you will have abundant joy. (16) “All your males are to appear three times a year before the LORD your God in the place He chooses: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Booths. No one is to appear before the LORD empty-handed.”
This Feast represented the time when Israel was delivered from bondage to Egypt and came to serve and worship the Lord in the wilderness dwelling in tents (also that God came and tabernacled among them in the midst of Israel in the Holiest of Holies).
Secondly, this was pointing to the birth of Jesus Who as Emmanuel became God with Us – Who tabernacled among us as ONE of us.
Thirdly, it is possible that this may represent BOTH the Millennial reign of Christ – tabernacling in Israel and the FOLLOWING end of the ages, when God makes His tabernacle with men Who care called His Own.
The Feasts NOT mentioned by name in these chapters are:
- The Day of Atonement
- Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Feast of First Fruits
- Feast of Trumpets
“(17) Everyone must appear with a gift suited to his means, according to the blessing the LORD your God has given you. (18) “Appoint judges and officials for your tribes in all your towns the LORD your God is giving you. They are to judge the people with righteous judgment. (19) Do not deny justice or show partiality to anyone. Do not accept a bribe, for it blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. (20) Pursue justice and justice alone, so that you will live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Forbidden forms of worship
“(21) “Do not set up an Asherah of any kind of wood next to the altar you will build for the LORD your God, (22) and do not set up a sacred pillar; the LORD your God hates them.”
Deut. 17:1-20, HCSB “(1) You must not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or sheep with a defect or any serious flaw, for that is detestable to the LORD your God. (2) “If a man or woman among you in one of your towns that the LORD your God will give you is discovered doing evil in the sight of the LORD your God and violating His covenant (3) and has gone to worship other gods by bowing down to the sun, moon, or all the stars in the sky–which I have forbidden– (4) and if you are told or hear about it, you must investigate it thoroughly. If the report turns out to be true that this detestable thing has happened in Israel, (5) you must bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing and stone them to death. (6) The one condemned to die is to be executed on the testimony of two or three witnesses. No one is to be executed on the testimony of a single witness. (7) The witnesses’ hands are to be the first in putting him to death, and after that, the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from you.”
“(8) If a case is too difficult for you–concerning bloodshed, lawsuits, or assaults–cases disputed at your gates, you must go up to the place the LORD your God chooses. (9) You are to go to the Levitical priests and to the judge who presides at that time. Ask, and they will give you a verdict in the case. (10) You must abide by the verdict they give you at the place the LORD chooses. Be careful to do exactly as they instruct you. (11) You must abide by the instruction they give you and the verdict they announce to you. Do not turn to the right or the left from the decision they declare to you. (12) The person who acts arrogantly, refusing to listen either to the priest who stands there serving the LORD your God or to the judge, must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. (13) Then all the people will hear about it, be afraid, and no longer behave arrogantly.”
“(14) When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, take possession of it, live in it, and say, ‘We want to appoint a king over us like all the nations around us,’ (15) you are to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. Appoint a king from your brothers. You are not to set a foreigner over you, or one who is not of your people. (16) However, he must not acquire many horses for himself or send the people back to Egypt to acquire many horses, for the LORD has told you, ‘You are never to go back that way again.’ (17) He must not acquire many wives for himself so that his heart won’t go astray. He must not acquire very large amounts of silver and gold for himself. (18) When he is seated on his royal throne, he is to write a copy of this instruction for himself on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. (19) It is to remain with him, and he is to read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to observe all the words of this instruction, and to do these statutes. (20) Then his heart will not be exalted above his countrymen, he will not turn from this command to the right or the left, and he and his sons will continue ruling many years over Israel.”
I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.
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