BEGIN WITH PRAYER
"Lord open my eyes and my heart."
Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world.
Wisdom to chew on
Understanding to grow inVarious laws reflecting God's concern that he is honoured in both the big things and little things of life, and that are shaped to provide protection. If sin was not dealt with, it might increase provoking God's wrath against the nation. So the call to "purge the evil from among you" with its absolute penalties was to protect the nation. The law on proving virginity was to protect new wives from being rejected by husbands who simply “dislike” them. The requirement that the rapist marry his victim if she is not betrothed (depending on the father's permission) would be a deterrent, but also protect the girl and any child that might result. And countering the assumption that the Bible promotes slavery, 23v15-16 commands that escaped slaves be given protection within Israel, living wherever they like and not being oppressed. Elsewhere marriage, people's livelihoods and those vulnerable to kidnap are all protected (24v5-7). Other things to note: To “enter the assembly of the LORD” was to gather for worship at the tabernacle or temple. So those intentionally emasculated (probably in false worship) are excluded, as are ten generations born from “illegitimate marriages” (with prostitutes or close relatives), or born to Ammonites or Moabites, with whom Israel mustn’t make a treaty (because of their hostility). Our response to the Lord now has implications for our posterity. Nevertheless, due to the full cleansing we have in Christ, all who repent immediately join the great assembly, no matter their history (Heb 12v22-24). The law on "nocturnal emissions” is required so the LORD moving about the camp doesn’t see anything “indecent” - confirming that uncleanness refers to what is inappropriate or unfitting for God’s holy presence. It seems divorce was permitted on the broad grounds of “indecency.” But remarrying your initial husband after a second was “detestable,” perhaps because the second was equivalent to adultery against the first husband (Matt 19v8-9). Either way the New Testament has higher expectations of disciples (Matt 19v9, 1 Cor 7v10-16). As you read note the principles behind the various laws.
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself:
1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this.
2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up
You could read this aloud and perhaps as a springboard to further prayer.