FAMILY, COMMUNITY, ACCOUNTABILITY

RELATIONSHIP FOUNDATIONS 

Marriage establishes the home and the nation.  To protect this union, God makes provisions for a solid foundation.  Unfortunately divorce was an ugly reality even then. 

When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.  And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.  And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;  Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.  When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.  Deuteronomy 24:1-5 

I embraced that last concept when I stepped down from ministry for a year after my marriage.  It proved to be a good investment, in spite of strong temptation to get back into the spiritual battles.  I am sure it prevented some domestic ones.  How this would help the young military families today. 

No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.  If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.  Deuteronomy 24:6-7 

No one should require a loan to be secured by demanding the millstone for security.  In other words you should not mortgage a man’s whole business to secure his business loan.  It is like demanding his very life and livelihood for a security deposit.  For such things today men are committing suicide.  Those bankers who foreclose loans are now demanding obscene bonus payments!  In the same way no one is to kidnap his neighbor into slavery.  Sex slavery is rampant around the world, including here in the U.S.A. today.  Under the law these modern criminals would be executed. 

Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do.  Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam by the way, after that ye were come forth out of Egypt.  Deuteronomy 24:8-9 

This was a disease that spread easily and caused severe health damages.  It was a threat to the entire community, and God provided protection to the obedient.  Miriam was punished with a brief taste of leprosy after her disobedience.  The disobedience we display in this age brings deadly sexually transmitted diseases.  There is still a death sentence for the church age. 

When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge.  Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee.  And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge:  In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.  Deuteronomy 24:10-13 

At that time clothing might be pledged as security for a loan.  It is immoral to hound the man by going to his house or by taking the garment home with you.  We are shamed enough by having to borrow without being displayed as naked before the community.  The spirit of this is surely violated in many ways in our “civilized” society today.  But keep reading, because God has an opinion about the people who think so little of us who must borrow from them.   

Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:  At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.  Deuteronomy 24:14-15 

I can tell you that contract employees today are treated as second class citizens.  They often have no health insurance or retirement benefits.  Many have no paid holidays and work more than 40 hours without overtime pay.  And these are skilled “professionals” like designers and engineers.  Only COBRA coverage saved us when my wife developed a brain tumor.  Contract assignments may last less than a year, forcing frequent moving labor and expenses.  Families have to change school districts or send dad on the road.  Motels, gasoline, tuition loans, and rent are expenses few can balance.  Worse, industry releases the people they trained, and their product suffers quality defects.  Loyalty is the first casualty of the cavalier attitude of modern industry.  What part of “shoot yourself in the foot” don’t you understand? 

The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.  Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge:  But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing.  Deuteronomy 24:16-18 

The children may learn the mistakes of their fathers, but they can turn away from them.  They have free will to sin though, and their parents will not pay if they have taught their children the right way.  Just because someone is new in town or disadvantaged they are not to be taken advantage of.  Widows are not to be buried in debt.  We were all bound by sin at one time, and need to redeem others as God has redeemed us.  There should always be a little left for the poor, as it was for Ruth. 

When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.  When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.  When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.  And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.  Deuteronomy 24:19-22 

Farmers were called to leave a little crop behind for the poor.  Today we should remember offerings no matter how we earn a living.  We should care for the poor, and even have some mercy, limiting punishment, even for the guilty. 

If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.  And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.  Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee. Deuteronomy 25:1-3 

It seems strange to give instructions to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.  But in this day it seems to be necessary to explain even the obvious.  We read news daily of wrongful convictions and bonus payments going to corrupt and incompetent CEOs on Wall Street.

Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.   Deuteronomy 25:4 

This is not an agricultural regulation.  Paul explained this as justification for paying tithes to support those who minister the gospel.   

For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?  Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.  If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?  1 Corinthians 9:9-11 

They serve us with spiritual feeding, and should expect to earn a physical meal and provisions in return.  God does care for oxen, but he cares for his servants more.

If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.  And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.  And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.  Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;  Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.  And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.  Deuteronomy 25:5-10 

God has serious designs on maintaining the family.  Under the law a man may be responsible to become the husband of his brother’s widow.  Not everyone would be willing to do this today.  A man would be shamed by spitting and insults if he failed his family duties.  We can assume that God still intends for us to care for our families to some extent today.  I know a woman who took on feeding her brother’s family after his death.  It was a sacrifice, but it is also a ministry greater than what she gave up.  She has honor in the kingdom for her offerings. 

When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:  Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.  Deuteronomy 25:11-12 

A man’s capacity to bear children was also fiercely protected.  Again, it would be hard to live under the law today.  I don’t think modern Jews are this strict, but some Moslem sects try to live by this kind of harsh punishment.  I hope that Jews and Moslems both see the promise of mercy in our Messiah Yeshua soon. 

Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.  Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.  But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.  For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.  Deuteronomy 25:13-16 

Scales for buying and selling should be honest.  God really hates cheating in sales and measurements.  We should watch our sales receipts, gas pumps, and small change to be good stewards.  But even more, we should guard against robbing God ourselves by withholding our tithes.  He will deliver us from the thief if we are not the thief ourselves. 

Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;  How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.  Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.  Deuteronomy 25:17-19 

Israel was to destroy all the Amelekites utterly.  To remember Amalek’s crimes we can turn back to Exodus for a refresher:

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.  And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.  So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.  And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.  But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.  And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.  And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:  For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.  Exodus 17:8-16 

God has charged Israel to destroy an entire nation.  This was genocide by divine design.  How do we square that with being “politically correct”?  God is soverign, and he does have an opinion about sin.  Amelek was judged and found to be in sin.  Israel had a responsibility to cleanse the land.  They will remember this in their future, and it will cost them. 

How hard it would be to please God by serving the law in this age.  We wink at divorce, slavery, abusive credit, cheating, theft, and the oppression of the poor.  This nation needs to have grace to exist.

Advertisements