This is the same map from the same time as the Book of Joel!
The new book that I will be studying and blogging about is the book of Obadiah! This book is really only one chapter so do not be surprised about the lack of posts! As I always say, there is still a lot to learn from everything written in the Bible – even if it is only one chapter! I wanted to give a small introduction to this chapter because historical context is always important (don’t forget that I am a history major).
There is dispute over when Obadiah was around but we will go with what my Dad’s study Bible said and that is that this book was written following the downfall of Jerusalem to the Babylon. The map I am going to post shows the return of exiles from Babylon but it is not relevant for the chapter/book! The geography of the region will of course be the same however! I hope you all enjoy this one chapter and what is to come to the Edomites, which are the priority of Obadiah’s book! Remember the Edomites are the descendants of Esau and did not help the Israelites when they were fleeing Egypt so they are always at odds with the Israelites and they actually helped the Babylonians capture the Israelites that tried to flee.
This is the last post about the book of Deuteronomy and I hope that all have learned a lot from Moses and the Israelites and how there are already foreshadowing of Jesus in what he can do (seeing God face to face) while Moses was not able to do so. Moses was a great leader to his people and only touches upon the greatness of Jesus!
Chapter 32 revolves around the song that God told Moses to write in the previous chapters before he dies. This song is a message to the Israelites explaining the love for God and all that God would do for them! In the song Moses explains how God helped Jacob in the desert just like He had helped them during the 40 years in the wilderness, and God will continue on protecting them! Moses refers to an idealized Israel, as Jeshurun but that Jeshurun will eventually turn away from God and God will in return turn away from them. They will make God jealous with their fake gods so in return God will make His people jealous by supporting and giving power to other false nations. The positive note in the song is that God has mercy and will end up in compassion. When Moses finishes the song he sends good wishes to the people and pleas for them to listen to the song for their life truly depends on it! At the end of the chapter God leads Moses up to view Canaan from atop Mount Nebo, for Moses wont be entering the land of Canaan! Moses will then die on top of Mount Nebo after being able to see the Promised Land.
Before Moses dies he sends up one last blessing to the people of Israel and more specifically he gives blessings to every single one of the 12 tribes. All of the blessings come down to one principle that is vital as a believer. We are honored and blessed to have God for He saves us and loves us unlike anything we can ever imagine! He is all wise, all love, and all powerful and He chose to love us when we are full of sin and problems – we will never fathom the love He has for us but we can try! What a BLESSING!
The last chapter revolves around Moses’ death and he died on top of Mount Nebo at the age of 120 years and his people laid him to rest. It is clarified that Moses was able to see the land that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because God fulfills all promises like He did later on when He sent His only Son to save us and wash us free of sin in order to make a new covenant which is made in Christ’s blood. Since Moses had laid his hands on Joshua and he had been ordained, after Moses death Joshua became the new leader of the Israelites while going into the land of Canaan and the people welcomed them as their new leader. For Moses is a prophet unlike any other until Christ Jesus and that is the last sentence of the book of Deuteronomy.
Why is this post only one chapter? To put it briefly before I write more in this post, it is because it is setting up the Israelites for a new era. Throughout all of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and almost all of Deuteronomy it has been the Israelites with Moses but now Moses is passing the torch to a new leader of the Israelites for Moses will not cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan.
Moses was speaking to all of Israel about how he was 120 years old (woah!) and that he will not be entering Canaan and Joshua has been chosen by God to be the new leader to the Israelites going into the land of Canaan. Joshua was an impressive warrior with great skills to fight off the people in the land of Canaan, and of course he would have God’s support for God said that the Canaanites and other inhabitants would be handed to the Israelites like what had happened in Sihon and Og. One of my favorite verses I say to myself in hard times and I just need reassurance and it comes from this chapter of Deuteronomy; it is:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
God will always be with you, even if you feel like you are in the darkness alone, God will deliver. The end of this verse reminds me of when Jesus is on the cross and he cried out in pain “God why have you forsaken me?” Jesus died for our sins and that meant he was alone to face the darkness of sin and evil, which means that God would not be with him during crucifixion. Just a thought – the Old Testament can bring up a lot of things from the New Testament if you read carefully and this is one of those times for me!
Moses wrote down the law that God had given him and then handed it to the priests and the elders and told them that it is to be read at the Feast of Booths after the people have entered the land of Canaan. Every one in Israel must know and hear these laws and Moses wants it assured. Joshua was then commissioned to lead Israel by a cloud coming in front of the tent (sanctuary) and we all know from past experiences of Moses with God that God likes to come in a cloud formation for it gives off a hazy sense for no one can look at Him.
God tells Moses straight up that the people will turn and whore around with other gods and not worship as they have been told orhonor God at all, so God wanted Moses to write a song for the Israelites to learn, and this song will hopefully serve as a reminder to the people that they should not forget or break the laws and that hopefully this song will make them less tempted to do so. Moses will write a song that is in the next chapter but first Moses has the Levite priests witness him putting the laws in the Arc of the Covenant for now they can be held responsible for also teaching the Israelites the laws since Moses will die soon and he wont be there to do it.
The song will be in the next post along with the end of Deuteronomy!
These chapters in this post remind me of works righteousness but I know that it is not. Works righteousness being that if you do certain things like go to church every Sunday and pray every day that you will be saved, but of course if you don’t give your life over to Christ then doing these acts will do nothing for you. A lot of people live through works righteousness rather than through faith and love for Jesus. We no longer need to believe in this concept of work righteousness because of Jesus and we are so blessed!
Chapter 28 is labeled as “Blessings for Obedience.” God blessed the obedient within the Israelite tribes and disobedience would lead to the curses that were listed in chapter 27. Now we have the ultimate blessing of Jesus Christ dying for us, but that does not mean that you can live your life without at least trying your best to sanctify yourself by living the life of Christ. All of the things that God wanted from His people in the book of Deuteronomy were to follow laws that no one would be able to withhold, other than Jesus Christ.
God after explaining the necessity of following His laws came the new covenant that God made with His people in Moab. Moses reminds the people of all that God has done for His people, by taking them out of Egypt, providing them with a way of life in the wilderness, and by fulfilling the promise of giving the land of Canaan to His people, and by giving the land of Canaan to His people, He also helped them to beat King Og and King Bashan in order to hold onto this land. Moses writes something that I really enjoy and shows just how omniscient God truly is:
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29.
Moses wants the people to understand that they will never ever know what God knows completely, but they will know enough for God will give them all that they need. They should not try to understand more!
Repentance has to be done in order for God to provide forgiveness, for God knows that we are not perfect and disobedience will occur. We repent our sins by acknowledging that Christ took all of our terrible sins on the cross, and we are accepting and understanding just how important it is that Jesus is able to wipe us clean of these sins. If one is to ignore their actions then it wouldn’t mean much to a person about what Christ did for them. I see chapter 30 as a foreshadow of what Christ is doing for us and this includes how the Israelites were told to repent and how they were told that they are the ones choosing between life and death. Life for us as Christians would mean eternal life through accepting Christ and death would mean not believing in Christ and believing in the flesh and worldly things. It is a person’s own faith and when one decides between believing Jesus and not believing Jesus then we are choosing between life and death…it is that simple.
HAPPY FDOC (First day of Class)! It is my last semester as an undergrad and upon reflection my life has changed so much since I came to UNC as a freshman. I now try to make Jesus the center of my life and as a result I have enjoyed life more and have felt more fulfilled than ever before! UNC will always be the place where I joined a random Bible study out of boredom and came out understanding the meaning of life. I am forever indebted to UNC and all that it has given me; oh and I am indebted for a while from student loans (yuck).
There is not going to be many posts left about the book of Deuteronomy – only 4 if we count this one! I know my posts have been briefer or not seem as thoughtful as normal but that is because I am losing interest and I apologize for that!
Chapter 25 revolves around the Levirate marriage. I did not know what this meant so naturally I googled it. Wikipedia defines it as: “a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother’s widow, and the widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband’s brother.” This seems so foreign to us now because that just seems strange, but back then the family structure was important to hold onto and this included the widows. Widows within this society were considered low within society, for they owned nothing and had no one to help them. Protecting the widows within ones family was important, for they needed someone to rely on. If the Israelites did not follow these laws about Levirate marriage then they were to be exiled within the town and acknowledged as the one that would not help the widow or the widow who did not want help. Throughout the Bible, there is always mention of helping the fatherless, the widow, and the sojourner, so protection of these groups were considered righteous and loving.
These next 2 chapters are a lot of reminders of things that have already been mentioned in this book or in Numbers/Exodus, etc. Chapter 26 is a reminder to the people that when they cross the Jordan into their land then their first fruits need to be given to God. Not only will the first fruits be given and the tithes given, but all must promise to share the story of God bringing His people out of Egypt and how He saved them and the only reason they are in this land is because of Him.
Chapter 27 gives some specific locations, which can be seen on the map I had posted earlier under the category of the “Book of Deuteronomy.” An altar will be made for God after His people have crossed the Jordan and the altar will be on Mt. Ebal. Peace sacrifices must be offered there to God. On Mt. Gerizim there will be blessings given from Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachor, Joseph, and Benjamin (the tribes). On Mt. Ebal there will be curses provided by Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. I am sure there are reasons behind which tribes got which mountain and whether they got to offer blessings and/or curses, but I am unaware at this time. It will definitely be something that I will look into. Many of the curses that are listed from verses 15 through 26 revolve around those being cursed that do not follow the 10 Commandments, and other specific laws that we have covered already from previous chapters!
These next few chapters are interesting to me because of the terms that the sections within the chapters are labeled as! They are labeled as “various laws,” or “miscellaneous laws.” I guess these chapters were the laws that just did not fit in neatly with the other specific sections on laws like the laws of the justice system or the laws of war and so on. I am sorry that these posts have been so vague but these chapters are just law after law and they become dry to read day after day — I am still trying to see the positiveness in these laws – for we no longer need these specific sanctification laws, for we as Christians try to be as sanctified in Christ as possible.
Chapter 22 is the portion about “Various Laws.” It is various things like how a man should not wear women’s clothing and vice versa along with taking care of your loved ones. Also there is a law in here protecting women that are married to a man and if that man has sex with his wife and decides that he hates her that he cannot lie and tell society that his wife wasn’t a virgin when they got married. If a woman was not a virgin when getting married it was considered one of the worst things for a woman’s role in society, for she would be seen as a prostitute or at least equivalent in society to a prostitute. Cheating on one’s spouse is not okay either. There is a verse about a man “seizing a woman” aka rape, then if the woman was already betrothed then the man will be stoned and if the woman was not betrothed then she would have to marry the man if he is known. To seize a woman sounds like it should be labeled as rape but I don’t know if it is referring to other instances – I am going to go with it means forced sexual advances.
Chapter 23 tells about who is excluded from assemblies amongst the Israelites and these included foreigners and castrated men. They would not be allowed to enter the assembly at all. Ammonites and Moabits are not welcome either into the assemblies because they did not help the Israelites when they were fleeing Israel – moral of the story is to always help out God’s people especially in the Old Testament. “Miscellaneous laws” are then listed at the end of this chapter and they include how an Israelite cannot be a prostitute and how interest should never be charged against one’s own brother. Love and kindness should keep you from wanting to charge interest on your loved ones, for they will already be paying back and one should not be gaining more from the lack of success of their loved ones.
Divorce is the primary focus in the beginning of chapter 24! Divorce was not as common back then but some crazy number of 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce in the West, which is insane. That is an astronomical number. Divorce is sometimes necessary but a lot of times it isn’t. If a woman faces divorce she cannot have a relationship with her ex-husband if she decides to remarry, for she would ne considered defiled by her new husband. More “miscellaneous laws” are then listed and these include paying workers every day, at the end of the day, that they work for you, because they are poor. Always provide for the fatherless and widows. Even in today’s society people put aside the orphans, foster children, and the widows for no reason at all. The fatherless and the widows always need as much help as possible, for they have lost a great deal of love and acceptance from their father or mother that is no longer there or their spouse that has died – they need the most love and kindness available.
These chapters that are so dense with the laws are so hard to get through but they are 100% necessary to read. Be thankful and feel blesses that as Christians we had Christ as the ultimate sacrifice and we no longer have to follow specific sacrificial rituals. Christ was the ultimate sacrifice!
Chapter 19 goes into greater detail about the cities of refuge that I had mentioned earlier – so it would be like for the people that accidentally killed someone (think of a manslaughter verdict in the USA), so people that planned to kill or killed out of passion would not be able to use these cities as refuge. If a person killed intentionally and went to one of these cities then they must be returned to their original cities or towns. It is required of the elders to return the intentional murderers so that justice can be served. There is then an excerpt in chapter 19 of having at least 2 witnesses in order to charge a person with a crime. Of course if the witness lies at trial then they can be sentenced to death for taking away the justice of another individual and for bringing injustice into the land of the LORD. God wants there to be a fair and just system in concerns of protecting His people and these are some of the specific laws He used.
God also has laws for warfare. The first thing mentioned is that God will always be with them during warfare. Peace must always be offered to whoever you want to fight before battle, because if there is a way to get away without killing masses of people then it is worth a shot! The cities or towns that are captured and lose in battle may be taken as slaves, and all of the males can actually be killed if wanted. All of the people that inhabited the land of Canaan could be killed and by all that means women and children as well. God wanted His people to take over the Promised Land completely. If cities are taken then His people can eat the food but there should not be any cutting down of trees or fields because God says that they were not the ones that attacked His people and they are His creation. It is interesting that God has this written down, for if you think back to 1 Kings and 2 Kings that they were also burning down fields and orchards in battles or besieges – it is good to know that God specifically said not to do this.
God wanted atonement for murders, even if murderers were not found so He wanted for the nearest heifer to be killed if the murderer cannot be caught (so this would be an instance like if someone murdered in a field in the middle of the night with no witnesses and was able to escape). Innocent blood must always be atoned for God wants no innocent bloodshed in His people’s land. Female captives from battles can be taken as wives but as soon as you have taken them as a wife they can never be made into a slave, even if you do not find favor to them. Instead one would have to let the woman go, for you should never make your own wife into a slave. God wanted there to be rules in violent times, even today with all the wars that are happening it is important to have set rules of war. Innocent blood should never be shed, and God especially does not want His people to have their blood shed in the land of promise that He had given them!
I had a comment on my previous post that I completely agree with, and it was how I used the word “lucky” to describe us when I really should have said blessed and loved! We are so loved because God is love and it is a blessing beyond description to be able to honor and worship Him! As always, thank you for the feedback! J These next few chapters will be a ton of laws whether they are labeled as “various” or “miscellaneous” laws. Just keep in mind that these specific rules about unclean vs. clean and so on could be what we would be expected to do if it weren’t for Jesus Christ.
Chapter 15 had talked about the Sabbatical Year and now chapter 16 will tell of Passover. Passover occurs during the month that God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and it is done in order to honor God for all He did for His people to save them from slavery. Only unleavened bread will be consumed for a week, like how the Israelites only had time to make unleavened bread when fleeing Egypt. The seventh day of Passover there will be an assembly for God, where rest is taking place. Another event that should be celebrated is the Feast of Weeks, which occurs 7 weeks from the first time of harvest. Of course there are sacrifices that are given to God of your harvest in order to honor Him. The last feast mentioned in this chapter is the Feast of Booths which happens for a week after you have gathered all your produce from the threshing floor and the winepress. Lastly the chapter describes the need for justice within the tribes and in order to do this God wants there to be judges within each tribe, and they must give upright justice and not yield to bribes or fear.
There are various forms of worship that are prohibited and they are given in great detail within the beginning of chapter 17. I want to spend more time talking about the other parts of the chapter however, and they are about the legal decisions by the priests and judges and the laws concerning Israel’s kings. All cases will be taken to the judges selected from each tribe or to the Levitical priests in order to have the cases heard and a verdict that God has given. If these judgments are not followed then the guilty person can face death to show that it is never okay to go against God. Certain regulations are then listed for the king of the Israelites, and we know from reading 1 Kings and 2 Kings that many of these were not followed. First the king has to be a brother of the Israelites; therefore it cannot be a foreigner. The king is never allowed to look to Egypt for help because God had already taken them out of slavery from Egypt and there is no reason for the Israelites to owe anything to the Egyptians. Of course the king cannot have many wives (we know that this was not followed by many kings like Solomon). All the laws from the kings have to be approved by the Levitical priests to ensure that righteousness is still the goal. Also to just make it extra clear, the king must be righteous and be fearful of God’s power in order to lead the Israelites appropriately. There won’t be kings in Israel for a while, but God knew there would be eventually and he wanted clear guidelines already set up!
The priests and Levites obviously play an important role when it comes to laws and regulations of the Israelites so in chapter 18 their guidelines are laid out. The priests and Levites will live off of the LORD’s food offerings as their inheritance (remember the tribe of Levi is the only tribe that received no territory), so God promised them this. Of course the priests should avoid abominable behavior of the other nations for they are religious leaders. Finally it is told how a new prophet will arise like that of Moses! My reference Bible shows throughout the New Testament where this portion of Deuteronomy is cited and referenced to, and it includes the book of John and the book of Acts. Jesus is this new prophet!
“’I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.’” Deuteronomy 18:18-19
I love when the prophecies of the Old Testament just point forward to Jesus so much centuries before he comes!
Sorry for not posting a lot this week! It has been my birthday year and I was honored to be able to spend it with all of my close friends and my family! It was a great 21st to say the least (besides the 2 hours spend in the morning at the DMV [at least I got to spend some quality time with my Dad J]). On with the book of Deuteronomy! These three chapters focus a lot on some of the laws that God has given to the Israelites.
Chapter 13 continues on from chapter 12 about false prophets. God warns of these false prophets because they could lead them to wanting to worship false gods. Faith in Him is vital for them. Those that encourage you to move away from your faith should be ignored – even if they are a loved one of yours (spouse, parent, sibling, friend, etc.). Those that are shown to be pulling you away from your faith will face death. As Christians, it would be those that turn away from God, they will face death of the flesh because they have turned away from what Jesus’ death did for us (it redeemed us). God will always help His people to prosper, but in order for Him to do so He needs to see their faith and love for Him.
God had rules of clean vs. unclean foods for His people (think of people being kosher). The whole reason for God wanting to incorporate these specific laws for His people is that they will stand out amongst other people. The Israelites should want to stand out because of the food they eat and how they dress because then all will see that they obey, worship, and love God. It would be difficult for us to do this today, but as Christians we can attempt to live our life like Christ did and others will see and know that we are Christians; and of course we will say to all who we love and honor (JESUS). God also wanted tithes be paid, for He wanted His people to honor Him with these tithes and show their respect and love for Him through these tithes.
Every 7 years is called the Sabbatical year. This was seen as the year of rest for all credit would be dropped and the Hebrew slaves that existed were to be freed. The Israelites should of course remember not to borrow from other nations, but to rely on each other, and that is what will make the sabbatical year possible. Special sacrifices should be given to God in order for Him to be honored.
Chapters like these make it more difficult for me to see why the Old Testament is still relevant to Christians, because it just seems like laws and rules that no longer apply to us. Because of Christ we know longer need to do any of these things! If Jesus had not died for us then we would still have to be sacrificing our best sheep and cattle and eat only clean foods, but since we have the most ultimate sacrifice of Christ Jesus, we don’t need to live by these laws. We are so lucky and honored to have Jesus Christ in our lives!