Verse 1 – If the Lord is on your side, who could possibly come against you and win? In Israel’s history, they were faced many times with overwhelming odds against them. God says, “Don’t be afraid.” We too face challenges, hardships, and crises in this life. God is with the believer, “Always!”
Verses 3-7 – God listed several reasons for a man being excused from battle. He was showing compassion and sensitivity towards their feelings and needs.
Verse 8 – Anyone afraid of going to war must be excused or it could undermine the morale of his fellow soldiers.
Verses 10, 11 – With an offer of peace, it was meant for them to surrender. However, when they surrendered in peace, they would serve the Israelite’s.
Verses 12-18 – Any city who would not surrender were plundered and “Put to the sword.” God did this to protect Israel from idol worship. In some instances, Israel did not follow these instructions. Others would oppress the Israelite’s and cause great bloodshed and destruction. But if the Israelite’s would have tried to make peace first they could have avoided a lot of bloodshed.
Verses 19, 20 – Archaeologist have uncovered the remnants of many well-fortified cities in Canaan. Some had walls as tall as 30 feet high. The Israelite’s would have needed timber to make ladders to siege the cities. Common sense said not to use the trees that bear fruit when you will need them to eat of later on.
Verses 1-3 – These cities were to be strategically located so that they would be accessible to anyone anywhere in the land. People could escape to these places if they had unintentionally killed someone (manslaughter).
Verses 3-11 – God had an answer for those who killed innocently or accidentally. They could run to these cities until they had a trial and could escape someone coming after them to avenge the one killed. Revenge for murder was not only permitted by the law but fully authorized (Numbers 35:16-21).
Verses 11-12 – For the murderer there was no place of refuse or safety. From the beginning of history, the penalty for murder was capital punishment. The “Avenger of blood” was the nearest male relative to the person killed. He acted as the family protector (Numbers 35:19).
Verse 15 – To prevent a miscarriage of justice, the law required the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Verse 16-20 – If only our justice system would take a hint of what true justice is. One person could not stand against another in a court of law; if you falsely accused someone of a crime and it was found out they had lied, then the punishment that was intended for the accused was placed on the accuser. This would certainly clear the courts of frivolous lawsuits.
Verse 21 – The principle was that the punishment was to fit the crime. This tit for tat of the law was not always followed (Exodus 22:21; Numbers 35:31).
The priests and Levites served much in the same function as our ministers do today. (1) Teach the people about God, (2) they set an example of right living, (3) they care for the house of God and the workers and, (4) they decide where and how the offerings go. Our ministers should be paid. Our pastors should not be expected to attend every single, wedding, funeral, hospital visit or home visit. They delegate to godly men and women to attend to the flock. We are to honor our leaders. They defiantly need to be compensated for in their work.
Verse 10 – God (Leviticus 20:2-5) forbade Child sacrifices and occult practices. These pagan nations sacrificed their children to the god Molech. Other neighboring religions use supernatural means, such as contacting the spirit world to talk to dead people. They would go to fortune tellers to get guidance. The Israelite’s were to replace these evil practices with worship of the one true God.
Verses 10-13 – Today people are still curious and fascinated with the occult. These desires come from wanting to control the future. This wickedness comes from Satan not God. Remember, Satan is a liar. Do you think God’s opinion of these practices have changed today?
Verses 21, 22 – Some people today claim to have a message from God, but we have to be cautious before saying they are God’s spokesperson. We ask these questions to see if they are who they say they are; (1) do their prophecies come true, (2) do they contradict the word of God? God never contradicts Himself.
Verse 1 – This verse is in comparison to giving God the leftovers today. When people do this it shows, God is not the center of their lives. We should give God the honor of having first claim on our money, time, and talents.
Verse 5 – To worship false gods was an act of high treason, punishable by death.
Verse 6, 7 – To accuse a person of idolatry, the accusers had to be an eyewitness. One person may have misunderstood what they saw, but if 2 or 3 witnessed the act, they were to be taken outside the city gates and stoned. Here’s the interesting thing; the person who accused first had to throw the first stone. This would cause them to maybe think twice and make sure they had seen what they said they saw.
Verses 8, 9 – In the theocracy of Old Testament, Israel’s sin and crime were one and the same.
Law of Administration of the King
Verses 14, 15 – God was actually against Israel having a king, because He was their King. However, God told them they would soon want a king like other nations had when they were settled in the promise land.
Verses 16, 17 – When the time came that Israel wanted a king; God said He would do the choosing. He was very clear about the king resisting the urge to accumulate riches for themselves. Israel’s kings didn’t heed God’s advice and it led to their downfall. Solomon started out with a right heart towards God, but when he became rich, built up a large army, and married many wives, his heart turned away from God (1 Kings 11). Out of Solomon’s sin came Israel’s disobedience, division, and captivity.
Verse 18-20 – The King was to be appointed by God and a man of God’s word. He also was (1) to have a copy of the law, (2) keep it with him all the time, (3) read from it every day, and (4) obey it completely. Through this process, the king would learn to respect God and himself from feeling more important than others feel, and avoid ignoring God in times of prosperity. Today we have access to the Bible.
Verse 1 – The month of Abib (meaning “ears of grain”) was early spring. This is the Passover, between March and April. This festival commemorated the deliverance of Israel from the tenth plague in Egypt. It began on the 14th day of Abib and continued through the 21st as the Festival of Unleavened Bread was carried out (Exodus 12:17-20).
Verse 3 – The bread of affliction symbolized the duress under which Israel lived as slaves in Egypt and the fast way they escaped with the Egyptian army on their heels. God said the Israelite’s were to continue this observance all of their life. The church also is commanded by the Lord Jesus to eat the communion bread and drink the cup “in remembrance” of Him (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25). We as believers are to do this in remembrance of the great and perfect sacrifice Jesus accomplished at the cross. The blood that He shed for the remission of our sin should never be forgotten.
Verses 16, 17 – Three times a year every male was to make the journey to the sanctuary and give a portion to God with what He had blessed them with. Some people never grasp this concept. God gives us generously and then we in turn give back to him a portion of what He has given us. To some the 10% may be a burden, but for others that may be too little. Whatever you give, is to be done with a cheerful heart. Look at what you have and then give in proportion to what you have been given. God will and does make what is left go a lot further.
Verses 18-20 – Don’t you wish judges, presidents or leaders were appointed with God’s wisdom and compassion? Failure to elect or appoint leaders who uphold justice leads to corruption. Do you see this in our society today?
Verses 1-3 – Can we even imagine what it would be like to have what we owed wiped out every seven years. Canceling debt on the sabbatical year meant that; (1) the borrower who was unable to pay his debt, could walk away free of obligation; (2) repayment could not be demanded. However, the foreigner was required to pay all back.
Verses 4, 5 – There should be no poor because the Lord would abundantly bless them in the land He was giving them. Due to sin, this idea was never achieved throughout Israel’s history. Jesus affirmed this in Matthew 26:11, “You always will have the poor with you.”
Verses 7-11 – If we read these verses carefully, we will see another character of our loving God. Some people have no compassion or sympathy for the poor and needy. They feel as if it is the poor’s own fault that they are in need. When this is the attitude, it’s easy for them to close their hearts and hands, ignoring the poor. If we are to imitate our Heavenly Father then we as Christians are to help the needy, no matter what the reason is for them being poor. A stingy creditor might not lend if it was close to a seventh year because he wouldn’t have a chance of being paid. God said to open your hand wide to your brother in need or it was a sin against Him. I believe this principle is still in effect. God says He will bless all you do if you give to the poor.
Verses 12-15 – Sometimes a person would owe a debt that they could not repay so they would sell themselves to the person the debt was owed. God said on that seventh year they were to be let go free, with provisions. God reminded them of their slavery in Egypt and the compassion He had on them.
Verse 19 – As gratitude and a reminder towards the Lord, Israel was to take the firstborn of their flock and keep it safe until a designated time of sacrifice unto God. Firstborn animals could not be put to service, they belonged to the Lord.
Verse 21 – When we think about God giving His perfect Son without sin, as the unblemished perfect sacrifice for our sin, then why would we not give our best to God. He says blessings will come our way if we do this. It makes no sense not to.
Law of Food
Verse 1 – The Canaanites and other heathen lamented their dead in all kinds of physical ways, including pulling out their hair and cutting the body. Christianity and Judaism are different from other religions because they focus on serving the living God in this life.
Verses 3-21 – There are several reasons why God forbid eating certain animals. (1) Predatory animals ate the blood of other animals, and scavengers ate dead animals. (2) To the Israelites, some animals represented sin, such as bats, snakes, and spiders. (3) Maybe some restrictions were given to show Israel that they were to be a separate people committed to God. We may not follow these practices today but our health, finances, and daily living is opportunities to put holy living into daily living.
Verse 21 – This prohibition against cooking a young goat in its mother’s milk may reflect a Canaanite fertility rite (Exodus 23:19).
Verses 22, 23 – What we do first with our money shows where our values are. When you tithe, it shows God our attention is focused on Him. A habit of regular tithing gives God an opportunity to bless the rest.
Verses 24, 25 – Grace even in the Old Testament was clearly displayed in allowing certain tithe givers to offer money instead of animals.
Verses 28, 29 – God clearly supports the poor and we should do the same. God told Israel, every third year to use their tithe to help the hungry, poor, and widows. This was to prevent the nation from sinking into sever poverty. God counts on believers to provide for the needy by using what He gives the fortunate to help the less fortunate. Share Gods goodness with others, not just your immediate family. This is a great tool that God has given us to draw people to Christ. We should not be stingy or have resentment against the poor. We haven’t walked in their shoes. God simply says help them. Notice He didn’t say, “Consider why they are poor,” that’s not our position when helping those in need. When God says do it, we just obey. God says, He will bless all the work of your hand if you do
Verses 1-3 – New ideas from inspiring people may sound good, but we have to judge them by whether they are consistent with God’s Word. When people claim to be speaking for God or from God, we need to check these areas; are they encouraging you or tearing you down? Are they telling the truth according to God’s word? Are their words consistent with what you already know? Are they directing you towards God or are they directing you to follow them? When you hear a new and exciting idea, examine it carefully with the Word of God. According to verse 3, you will be tested in these areas of listening to false prophets.
Verse 4 – We are to fear God-meaning respect and worship the Lord thy God only; love Him with our whole heart; when you love Him you will obey Him; walk in His ways.
Verse 5 – Only such drastic measures would the nation be able to purge the evil from its midst.
Verses 6-9 – Our love for relatives or close friends cannot take precedence over devotion to God. It doesn’t matter how good what they are saying is, it has to line up with the Word of God.
Verse 10 – It was a very serious offense to entice another away from God. They paid with their life under the law. Today you may be a new believer but still have close friends and relatives that try to get you to do things you know are wrong. The Holy Spirit will give you strength in these times to overcome these temptations.
Verses 12-16 – There will be times when God wants us to rebuke a wayward friend-but first make sure you have all the facts straight. We should not make our judgment on one person’s comment and do it with a loving attitude.
Verses 2, 3 – Nothing was to remain of these pagan altars and idols. If they did, God knew they would be tempted to use them. We should never flatter ourselves by thinking we’re too strong to be tempted by anything.
Verse 5 – God alone would choose where they would worship. At first, this was Gilgal, then Shechem, then for many years at Shiloh, and finally Jerusalem, the location of Solomon’s temple. Solomon realized that it could only symbolically be such because in reality even heaven cannot contain the omnipresent God (1 Kings 8:27).
Verses 13, 14 – God didn’t want the Israelite’s offering sacrifices in just any place like the pagan religions. This restriction was meant to insure purity of worship for the nation of Israel. Later on the Israelites started offering sacrifices at the high places where the pagans worshiped (2 Kings 23-Joshua destroyed these altars).
Verse 16 – Eating blood was forbidden for several reasons; (1) the pagans did this; (2) blood represented life, which is sacred to God; (3) it was a symbol of the sacrifice that had to be made for sin.
Verse 18 – Corrupt worship.
Verse 19 – The Israelite’s were not to forget the Levite because they had no inheritance and depended on the Israelite’s for their giving as ordained by God.
Verses 30, 31 – God didn’t even want the Israelite’s to ask about the pagan religions surrounding them. It was easy to get drawn into temptations of seemingly harmless practices. Sometimes curiosity can cause us to stumble. To resist curiosity about harmful practices showed discretion and obedience.
Verses 1, 2 – The adult Israelite’s had experienced the Lords discipline and were without excuse. On the other hand, their children had not seen all these things.
Verses 3, 4 – Seeing all these signs and works were the plagues the Lord inflicted on Pharaoh and Egypt and should have caused the Israelite’s to understand how much God had protected and loved them, but didn’t.
Verse 6 – Moses reminds the people of the rebellion of Dathan, Abiram, and Korah the Levite against his authority. However, most importantly, they had come against the Lord’s judgment in His choice of leaders.
Verse 7 – After witnessing all this, Israel still had a problem of remaining faithful to God. Very few today have seen miracle after miracle of this magnitude but we have the Bible of God’s acts down through history to know what He did. I believe one reason for not seeing miracles of this magnitude today, is because we use so many other sources to get what we want or need. As long as we are dependent on other resources, other than total dependency on God, we will continue to see few miracles. I believe God wants us to come to Him first in all situations.
Verses 9-11 – In Egypt, the Israelite’s had to sow by hand; the rain was sporadic; and they were dependent on the Nile River for irrigation by hand. Canaan was watered by God Himself.
Verses 13, 14 – The early rains in Israel, begins in autumn. The late rains are in the spring. This provision by the Lord for the land indicated His care in watching over it from beginning to end.
Verse 16 – Baal, Asherah, Astarte, and other gods and goddesses were thought to generate and sustain life in soil, livestock, and even human beings by their own sexual activities. These gods became the object of worship. Moses and the prophets constantly condemned these acts.
Verse 17 – God made it very clear that He was the One who created and sustained life, not the pagan gods. If the Israelite’s followed these other gods, He would and could withhold the rain.
Verses 18-20 – God wants us to never forget His goodness. A good way to remind ourselves is to repeat the good things of God to our children and others. This is still true today, even more so.
Verse 21 – The Lord promised this land on the condition of their obedience and the obedience of their descendants.
Verse 24 – The area described here is essentially the territory controlled by David (2 Samuel 8:1-3) and Abraham (Genesis 15:18, 19).
Verse 26 – These were the conditions between God and Israel. Both parties had agreed to the terms. The blessings would benefit Israel if they kept the terms. They would expect their enemies to fall by the wayside, have fruitful crops, and live there throughout all generations. The curse would fall on Israel only if they broke the terms; they would be in danger of crop failure, invasion, and expulsion of the land. What’s amazing is that later on most of the Israelite’s chose the curses. We have the same choice to make today; you can choose Christ or you can choose to live unto yourself.
Verse 29 – Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal were twin peaks overshadowing a wide valley in which ancient Shechem (and modern Nablus) was located. This is where Jacob bought property and dug a well (Genesis 33:19, 20). This is the same well where Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman (John 4:20).