Miscellaneous Laws and Laws of Sexual Morality (Deuteronomy 21:22 – 22:30)

In this passage, many laws are lifted up as a needful.  For instance, if a criminal is hanged on a tree, he must be taken down the same day in order not to defile the land.  Second, each person must be responsible to return your brother’s livestock if you find it wandering about.  If someone’s animal falls down, you must help him life it up.

An additional law says that men and women must not wear clothes from the opposite gender.  You cannot take a bird and its young at the same time.  Every house must have a parapet to prevent people from falling off the roof.  Do not plant mixed seeds, and do not plow with an ox and donkey together.  Do not wear a garment with mixed cloth, and you must make tassels on the four corners of your clothing.

If a man takes a wife and then does not love her, he shall be truthful in his assessment of the situation.  If he accuses her of not being a virgin, she may have an opportunity to prove her virginity.  If she can, then he must pay reparations and remain married to her.  If she cannot, then she must be stoned.

If a man is found sleeping with a woman married to another man, then they must both be stoned.  If a man finds a virgin bethrothed to another man and lies with her, then they will both be stoned if she did not cry out.  If a man finds a bethrothed woman in the countryside and forces her to have sex, then the man will be stoned, for she was raped.  If a man forces a virgin to have sex, then he will be required to give the father fifty shekels of silver and marry her with no opportunity for divorce.  Finally a man shall not take his father’s wife.

These laws are extremely broad in scope.  However, the principles are still applicable for today.  Do not have extramarital sex, do not rape, do not refuse to help your neighbor, do not cross-dress.  Wow, a lot of these laws still have a lot to inform us today.

The Truth Shall Make You Free John 8:31-36

John 8:31–36 (NKJV)
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The Word is Truth!

Whose word are we believing?

Activists and PACs who say that homosexuality is a normal lifestyle?
Politicians who say that abortion is a right and a fetus is just tissue?
Movie and music stars who say that cohabitation and premarital sex are normal activities?
Liberal Secular educators who promote the idea that God is merely a myth and that self-determination is the right of each individual?
Lobbyists who say that Christianity is full of hate and that Christian symbols and prayer are offensive?

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

The Complacency Associated with Apathy

When you get comfortable with sin, you become apathetic to it. It no longer alarms you. You can walk past conviction if you walk long enough without repentance.

The Pharisees had put such confidence in their systems and their traditions that they no longer had a true relationship with God. They believed that they were holy, but actually were in bondage to their own religiosity.

Have you gotten so comfortable with your sin that you no longer feel conviction? Do you feel free when you are actually in slavery to sin?

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Unto what are you in bondage?

Pornography?
Extra-marital affairs?
Alcohol?
Drugs?
Idolatry?
False Religion?
Fear?

Sin enslaves individuals. Slavery is an injustice and a crime against humanity.
Satan longs to oppress and bind individuals with habits, activities, and addictions that distract them from their walk with God.
Some slavery is not even sin, in and of itself, but becomes sin as it takes a place in one’s life that is greater than the place of God.

If we are to truly love others, or love souls, then we must be willing to show an example by being free ourselves, and then show them how to find freedom themselves.

Today, we can declare A Divine Emancipation Proclamation.
Today, there can be freedom from the bondage and slavery of sin.
Declaring Freedom
Are you ready to be free?

A Rebellious Son (Deuteronomy 21:18 – 21)

A very stark story and law is established in this story.  When a son is rebellious, and is a glutton or a drunkard, then he is to be brought before the elders of the city at the gate and judged.  Once judged, he would then be stoned by the men of the city.

While this level of capital punishment seems drastic for rebellion by a son, I believe it illustrates the seriousness of the sin of rebellion.  In another place in the Bible, there is a comparison between rebellion and witchcraft.  While independence and free will are important things to treasure, it is important to know that you can never rebel against God and His plan and succeed.  Submit to God, and do not rebel against Him!

Female Captives and Firstborn Rights (Deuteronomy 21:10 – 17)

The Israelites were instructed to treat women who were from conquered cities with dignity.  If they found a woman they wanted for a wife, then they would take them home, have them shave their head, trim their names, change clothes, and then mourn her family for a month.  After that, they may take her as a wife.  If he is not pleased with her, he should release her, but not sell her or beat her.

Also, if a man prefers one wife over another, he should not prefer her children above others, but should follow inheritance laws indiscriminately.  While this is somewhat foreign to us today, it is a principle that speaks to the need to not show favoritism among family members, as it is breeds contempt and resentment.

When believers have an upper hand over another individual, it is important to treat them fairly.  If you oppress someone else, then God will be displeased and judgement can come.  God takes justice seriously.

War and Death (Deuteronomy 20:1 – 21:9)

Do Not Be Afraid!  When the people were to see their enemy, stronger and more numerous than themselves, God would be with them, and they should not fear.

Instructions from Officers were to be obeyed, and some of them were as such: if you have not dedicated your house, then dedicate it so it will be done in case you die in battle; if you have planted a vineyard, go home and eat of it; if you are engaged to a woman, go and marry her; if you are afraid, go home.  After all of these instructions are obeyed, then the army can go to batle.

Offer of Peace to Far-away Cities – When approaching a city far from their land, they were to first to offer peace to the city.  If they accept the offer of peace, then they should be placed under tribute to the conquering force.  If not, they were to be conquered and plundered.

Utter Destruction of People in Cities of Inheritance – cities within the promised land were to be taken without prejudice.  Every enemy was to be driven out and killed.  No one was to be left alive, unless they were to teach the Israelites their fall religions.

Siege Materials – when Israel was besieging a city, they were not to cut down or destroy trees that produced fruit.  Only trees that were not good for fruit were to be cut down and used for battle.

Unsolved Murders – When a dead body was found, the leaders of the nearest city were to break the neck of a heifer as an act of justice for the dead.  Then, the guilt of the innocent blood would be put away from the city.

These instructions are so varied in their scope, it is difficult to pull them into a cohesive point,  However, let it suffice to say that God was giving instructions to all the people of Israel to go just warfare, and not to kill indiscriminately.

Witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15 – 21)

The text says that witnesses must be trustworthy.  No one will be convicted on the word of just one witness.  If someone testifies falsely against another man, then the priests and judges will rule between them, and the false witness will receive the punishment he intended for his brother.  This way, evil will be put away from among the people.  No pity for evil.  This is a passage where the phrase, “an eye for an eye” comes in.  Specifically,

Deuteronomy 19:21 (NKJV)

21 Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

This passage discusses the modern word, “perjury.”  False witnesses can be found guilty and held for undetermined amounts of time.  While it is not a capital offense, it is considered serious and damaging to the American justice system.  In true spiritual life, honesty is always the best, and the only acceptable policy for believers.

Cities of Refuge (Deuteronomy 19:1 – 14)

Moses instructed the Israelites that after God delivered the land from the nations, they were to divide their land into three sections by roads.  In each section, they were to establish a city of refuge.  A manslayer could flee there.  If a manslayer killed his neighbor unintentionally, without premeditation, he can flee to one of these cities and live.  The avenger of blood could not touch him there.  If the Lord were to expand their territory, which He promised to give their fathers, then they would designate three additional cities of refuge.

There was a distinction made between unintentional killing and premeditated killing, however.  Anyone who kills his neighbor by design will not find refuge in the cities.  Instead, the elders of those cities would deliver them back to the avenger.

They were additionally warned not to move ancient landmarks, but to honor the property boundaries in the promised land.

It is important to discern the intent of one’s heart.  What is the motivation for any action?  We may do some things that are sinful on their surface, but are not intended or prethought.  However, intentional sin carries a heavier weight of guilt.  While sin is sin, it is important to look upon the intention of the heart.  Avoid all sin, but do not intentionally transgress the commandments of God for sure!