Camp Sanitation in 1968

HORIZONTAL FAITH 

The Cross has a vertical post, and a horizontal cross bar.  I see in it a connection to how our faith should work.  We need love for God as a vertical relationship, and for man as a horizontal relationship.  The good Samaritan saw a hated Jew, and trusted him enough to invest in his recovery.  The religious Jews would not help one of their own.  If you can’t believe in a man who you can see, you can’t really believe in a God who you cannot see. 

Deuteronomy is a refresher course in the law which points to common decency in the treatment of neighbors and their livestock.  We need to remember today that common sense is still good in God’s view.  It extends to many areas of our relationships. 

Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.  And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.  In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.  Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.  Deuteronomy 22:1-4 

Yet today common sense has become an oxymoron as we see this abuse spreading in our modern world. 

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.  Deuteronomy 22:5 

Should God have to tell us that cross dressing is unacceptable?  Those who hate God do not care about this kind of sensibility though, as we see today.   

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:  But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.  Deuteronomy 22:6-7 

We read in the New Testament that God is aware of the fate of every sparrow.  Here man too is called to be considerate of animals.  Compassion can breed long life if it defers the wrath of God.  This breeds care for our fellow man as well, and points us in the way of righteousness.  Balaam’s Donkey suffered a beating until God revealed how the creature had saved his life. 

And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.  And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?  And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.  And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay.  Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.  And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:  And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.  Numbers 22:27-33 

I owe my dog for the exercise that repaired my chest pains.  She taught us that she would do anything out of love, without any threats or beatings.  We only need to learn to listen to the ways animals communicate.   

When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.  Deuteronomy 22:8

The battlement is essentially a wall or railing that prevents accidental falls.  Flat roofed buildings in cities today have this feature, though we don’t use them for battle.  This is just another way to consider the safety of others.  Today building codes and zoning ordinances protect our neighbors. 

Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.  Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.  Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.  Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.  Deuteronomy 22:9-12 

Now comes dangerous territory, slander, false accusations, and divorce. 

If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,  And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:  Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:  And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;  And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.  And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;  And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.  But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:  Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.  Deuteronomy 22:13-21 

By custom, the parents of the bride preserved the bedding of the honeymoon as evidence in the event of such accusations.  The man could not claim his bride was not a virgin when the evidence was presented.  They were serious about the strict enforcement of the law, as God was serious about enforcing it too.  Chastisement for this liar was a severe beating, not just verbal correction.  But the wages of sin for the guilty woman was death.   

If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.  If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;  Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.  But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.  But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:  For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.  If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;  Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.  A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.  Deuteronomy 22:22-30 

Adultery, rape, and incest are harshly dealt under the law of God.  Today we know that forgiveness is available in Christ, but the world is not even offended by such sins now.  Understanding God’s view is important, even in this day of grace. 

He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.  A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.  Deuteronomy 23:1-2 

The temple area is a holy place, and forbidden to those who were castrated, or fatherless.   The Holy place was to be pure and undefiled.  It seems harsh, but it is only aimed at Israel for this time of testing.  God would fulfill the law himself for our redemption.  Our flesh was never strong enough to earn our way by good works alone.   

An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:  Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.  Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.  Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.  Deuteronomy 23:3-6 

One from an enemy nation may join Israel, but not enter the Holy places.  Ten generations of inbreeding would bring their children into the fold though.  God remembers his enemies for a season under the Law.

Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.  The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the LORD in their third generation.  Deuteronomy 23:7-8 

Some nations have cared for Israel, and others are descended from the same family.  These may enter the congregation in the tabernacle after only three generations. 

When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.  If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:  But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.  Deuteronomy 23:9-11 

Going into combat suggests the wisdom of being right with God.  They would be likely to contact dead bodies, and become unclean.  Imagine staying outside the protective perimeter of the camp as dark approaches though.   

Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:  And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:  For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.  Deuteronomy 23:12-14 

Camp sanitation is still a problem in modern armies.  The Lord advised equipping troops with a dual purpose digging implement on their weapons.  Keep your habitation sanitary, even in the place of warfare.  The place is to be holy enough to allow God to join you. 

Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:  He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.  There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.  Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.  Deuteronomy 23:15-18 

This verse might have inspired the underground railroad.  Slaves could have sanctuary if they fled an oppressive master.  Remember, they could also pledge to become permanent servants if they found life good with their masters.  Whores and homosexuals were rejected along with the money they had earned.  The New Testament refers to dogs along with sinners as if these dogs are people of low morals, rather than our family pets.   

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.  Revelation 22:14-15 

Dogs left to run in packs display wild behavior as do men who reject God.  Even banks can become vicious if left unregulated like wild dogs.  We have seen this in our nations economy recently. 

Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:  Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.  When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.  But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.  That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.  Deuteronomy 23:19-23 

Money borrowed or promises made must be paid in full.  Again in the book of Acts we see a couple that promise an offering, but try to hide part of their profits for themselves. 

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.  Acts 5:1-5 

God knows when we abuse those who owe us money, or when we try to cheat God of his tithes and offerings.  He has judgment even when we do not see the abuse. 

When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.  When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.  Deuteronomy 23:24-25 

Earlier we learned that the farmer was asked to allow the poor to glean the leavings after a harvest.  Here they are allowed to pluck a few grapes or a small amount of grain if they were hungry.  They were not to gather a big harvest from their neighbor’s field though.  In this day we see our nation facing hard times for finances.  We can use this refresher course in caring for the real needs of our neighbors today. 

 

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