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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Laws of Festivals, Judges, Trials, and Appointed Kings in Deuteronomy

Today's Reading:
  • Deuteronomy 16:1 - 17:20
  • Proverbs 12:8 - 9
Read Bible Passages Online

Deuteronomy 16:1 - 17:20
 Moses told the people which festivals they were to celebrate each year.  These festivals were to be celebrated at the single place God chose for his sanctuary -- the people would have to travel there.  These festivals were: Passover, Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters.

Moses also informed the people of God's instructions for dealing with idol worship, disagreements, lawsuits and more.  The people were to appoint local judges and officials to hear cases.  Should these people be unable to decide, the case was to be brought to the Levitical priests to decide.  Should a person be found guilty, their punishment must be carried out exactly as stated by the judge's sentence. 

People who worship idols or natural elements (sun, moon, etc) were to be put to death, but only if at least two witnesses saw them.  Those witnesses had to throw the first stones before the rest of the community could join in.

The people were also told requirements for a king, if they were to appoint one.  First of all, the people must make sure that the Lord has chosen the king.  The king must be an Israelite and must live humbly as a king.  He shouldn't build himself a fortune, and he should keep the instructions written on a scroll to read daily so that he would stay true and humble to both the citizens and to the Lord.

It's interesting to see the parallels between our democratic society today and the society the Israelites were to be a part of.  It's always reassuring that the Lord insists on fairness out of the leaders and the judges, and that there must be multiple witnesses if someone was going to be convicted of a crime with a death penalty.  No one said that the Lord our creator had to attempt to be fair to us.  Yes, I know life isn't fair -- but the Lord lays basic rules in attempt so that people be treated fairly.  The Lord created us all -- what if He wasn't concerned with our treatment, with how we treat others?  I am truly thankful that we have a Lord who is concerned with our fair treatment.

Proverbs 12:8 - 9
8  A sensible person wins admiration, but a warped mind is despised.
9  Better to be an ordinary person with a servant than to be a self-important but have no food.
 It is better to be a sensible, ordinary person than a pompous, poor person with a warped mind!  Whenever you might think you're too ordinary, just remember the things that make you beautiful to God -- because those are the only things that truly matter.

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