November 28, 2014
Deuteronomy 23-Part 1
For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for the night but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 NIV)
LET IT GLOW
We set the rules for our children as they grew up. Sometimes they disobeyed them. As parents, we may not have enjoyed having to correct our children, but we wanted to learn to obey us. So it is with God. As His child, I need correcting. Sometimes it takes a hard event or lesson to learn the lesson. It sticks with me, then. God sticks to His standards and does not change them for His children.
In this chapter, Moses discusses the exclusions from one holding a civil office, such as a magistrate or judge, as well as the exclusion from gathering in the Temple for worshiping God. There are three groups listed here:
- Eunuch were forbidden because such willful mutilation (by crushing of sexual male parts) violated or mutilated the nature of man as created by God, and was associated with idolatrous practices, which was done by pagan parents to their children so they might serve as eunuchs in the homes of the great (25:11-12).
- Illegitimates were excluded so as to place an indelible stigma as a discouragement to shameful sexual misconduct. These people were born of an incestuous relations between Jews or of a mixed marriage between Israelite and pagan neighbors. A child born out of wedlock or incest was illegitimate and unworthy of Israelite citizenship for ten generations.
- Ammonite and Moabite people were excluded, not because they were born out of incest (Gen. 19:30-38), but on account of their vicious hostility toward God and His people Israel. Lots two daughters got him drunk, had sexual relations with their father, and each bore him a son called Ammon and Moab as the result of their sinful act. The Ammonites and Moabites were also excluded because their treatment of Israel when Israel came out of Egypt, for they had hired Baalam ro curse God's people.
LET IT GROW
Individuals from all three of these outcast groups are offered grace and acceptance by Isaiah upon personal faith in the true God (Is. 56:1-8). Illegitimate people can be saved and greatly used by God. His mercy and grace through Christ are sufficient for all.
Ruth the Moabitess serves as a most notable example (Ruth 1:4, 16). Ruth was married to Boaz (a Jew) and was received into full Israelite covenant relationship. She became an heir of the promise and was also in the line of the Messiah. She was in the eleventh generation descendant of Pharez (Gen. 38; Ruth 4).
In the New Testament, we read what Paul said of us in Hebrews 12:7-8: Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
Are you glad to be God's son or daughter? Then we must endure our heavenly Father's discipline in our life. Not lovely news, but is truth. He wants us to be conformed to the image of His son, Jesus, and that is God's method of accomplishing it.
LET IT GO
Turn from my sinful ways and to God's standards.
Thank Him for grace and mercy as He disciplines me.
Learn my lessons the first time so I don't have to repeat the course.