March 17, 2023
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Today from chapters 14, 15, and 16 we read of clean and unclean food, tithing, seven-year debt cancellation, freeing servants, first born animals and the festivals and judges to be appointed.
Moses continued to warn the people against following the gods of other nations. He also wared them about certain religious practices. The Lord prohibited them from practicing morning rituals of the nations. They were not cut themselves on their head on behalf of the dead.
A major day-today aspect of Israel’s covenant with God involved keeping the nation’s food laws. Some say God gave these requirements for health reasons such as pigs can carry disease and vultures feed on rotting flesh. However, scripture does not record that as justification for avoiding these items. We will find in Acts 10:9-15 that the Lord declares all food as clean. Other reasons would be because these were practiced and eaten by other nations and Israel was set apart. You are a holy people.
The laws of tithing was another way for the Israelites to remember all God had done for them. Part of the tithe was for the Levites who had no inheritance in the land. Giving to God is crucial because it shows how much devotion we have to Him. Their giving of the tithe acknowledged everything they had was from God. Giving to God is a test of our faith.
Chapter 15 –
In the sabbath year all debts were to be forgiven. That sounds like a strange idea for people to forgive a monetary debt but that is the way God operates. There will never be any shortage for good stewardship. Moses continues to emphasize they were to help the poor who will always be with them. Verse 15 says something very interesting – how do you see it?
God commands His people to trust Him and be generous. Don’t think that 15:11 contradicts 15:4. Verse four was a statement of God’s will for His people verse eleven is a sad mention of what God knew would become reality.
Concerning servants – a newly released servant had to be set up with everything they needed to make a fresh start. Sadly Israel would fail to keep the Sabbatical years and the rules surrounding the year of Jubilee that are discussed in these verses.
Following are instructions in verse 19 -23 that deal with giving up possessions to the Lord. The firstborn male of all animals belonged to the Lord. They could have no blemishes but the blemished could be eaten provided the blood was properly drained.
Chapter 16 –
There were festivals on Israel’s annual calendar that required males to make a pilgrimage to the central sanctuary. The first was Passover, the seven-day festival celebrating God’s deliverance of the people out of Egypt. On it, they were to sacrifice a Passover animal from the herd or flock and eat unleavened bread with it, in remembrance that they had left Egypt in a hurry.
The Passover can only be celebrated in the place designated by the Lord where He chooses to have His name dwell. The next national celebration gathering was the Festival of Weeks also known as Pentecost form the Greeks meaning “fiftieth” or fifty days after the Festival of Firstfruits. The third pilgrim festival was the Festival of Shelters also known as the Festival of Tabernacles or Booths. This was a seven-day observances where the Israelites were to build temporary shelters as a reminder of how God provided for them in the wilderness. This is a reminder that the heads of the family were to lead in worship.
Israel’s government was a theocracy in which God served as the nation’s king. Those charged with judging others must do it with righteous judgement just as the Lord had done.
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