Deuteronomy 15-16

Deuteronomy 15-16

Chapter 15: Care for the Poor

The first two verses talk about the “Lord’s Release” which is when creditors lend money and you are unable to pay it back, that after 7 years they release the debt and pretend that it doesn’t exist. This is actually very interesting because in at least most of the states in the U.S.A exist laws that protect the debtor, releasing or having statute of limitations on debt that is 5, 6 or 7 years old. Essentially if the creditor doesn’t collect in those years, then the debt becomes invalid. It is interesting how we base our laws off of things as old as the Bible. But if you think about it, the 10 commandments are probably the most basic idea of civility in the world. Ask people what is considered “bad”, I guarantee they will say; murder, stealing etc. The point is that the Bible and all holy texts have a huge benefit for mankind. If used properly.

Verse 6 warns about debt. Something the world is very much in. It states that we should be the lenders, and that if we are we will be blessed. Now this is just my idea, but a lot of righteous people are blessed financially and can be “lenders” to those in need. Always staying away from debt when at all possible.

Chapter 16: Israel Shall Keep the Passover

See Numbers 28 for rituals of the Passover and Exodus 12 for the Origins of the Passover.

Israel is commanded to keep the Passover in the Month Abib. All males appear 3 times annually before the Lord at three feasts.

Deuteronomy 13-14

Deuteronomy 13-14

Chapter 13: Don’t Worship False Gods

The Lord warns about false prophets, who have dreams. Anyone who advocates worshiping other gods than the Lord is to be shunned and killed. All Idolatrous cities are to be destroyed.

Chapter 14: What you can/not eat

This chapter is essentially a continuation to Leviticus 11, which outlines all of the unclean animals, fish and fowl that man should not eat.

  • All sea creatures with scales and fins you can eat.
  • Animals you can eat:
    • the ox
    • the sheep
    • the goat
    • the hart
    • the roebuck
    • the fallow deer
    • the wild goat
    • the pygarg
    • the wild ox
    • the chamois
  • Animals you can’t eat:
    • the camel
    • the hare
    • the coney
    • the swine

The rest of the clean/unclean animals can be found in Leviticus 11. This chapter is more of a reminder to the Israelite people.

The chapter also mentions of the importance of paying your tithing, which is 1/10 of your increase.

Deuteronomy 11-12

Deuteronomy 11-12

Chapter 11: Love God

The children of Israel are reminded of the importance of keeping the commandments of God. They are reminded about the great marvels that he accomplished among the Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Those who lived through the great miracles are held accountable for teaching the next generation of Israelites.

They are also reminded about the terrible things that can happen to those who disobey the commandments of the Lord.  If you keep the commandments, you can be strong mentally and physically (Deuteronomy 11:8)

If the Israelites keep the commandments, Love God and cleave unto him and do not worship false gods, then they will always be blessed with rain in its season, for bountiful crops and grass to feed their cattle. He encourages them to not only listen and follow the commandments, but to keep them in their heart and soul that they might become second hand to them. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

They are commanded to teach their children these same things and to have these commandments and scriptures in their homes, so that they may always remember.

They are promised that if they do follow the commandments and walk in the same paths as the Lord, that no nation will come before them and win and that they will have other nations driven out before   them that they may possess any land in which they set foot.

Chapter 12: Don’t Eat Blood

Israel is to destroy the Canaanitish gods and their places of worship. Eating of blood is forbidden, because it is the “life” of the flesh. But it does state that if you want to kill something to eat it, you are welcome to it. Just as long as you do not eat the blood, so make sure it is “well done”. (See Deuteronomy 12:15-16)

Deuteronomy 9-10

Deuteronomy 9-10

Chapter 9: 40 Days and 40 Nights Fasting

Compare to Exodus 32; this is the same story but from the perspective of Moses. Moses gathers the congregation of Israel and reminds them that they can conquer a nation greater than themselves. The reason that they were going to have the power to drive the giants out of their land, is because the people residing in the land were wicked.

Moses tells the congregation that he spent 40 days/nights fasting; drinking neither water or eating bread. This way he was more receptive of the spirit and this is what probably enabled him to see God and receive the Ten Commandments along with other instructions from the Lord.

Chapter 10: Love God

When Moses was on the mount for forty days/nights the Lord commanded him to make a small ark of Shittim wood to place the tablets of stone in. All that God requires, is that the congregations of Israel loves and serve him, if they do this, they will also love and serve their neighbor and the stranger in the land. Because they were once strangers in the land of Egypt too.

Deuteronomy 7-8

Deuteronomy 7-8

Chapter 7: The Mercy of the Lord

When the Israelites go in among the nations of the; Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and the Jebusites the Lord commands them to not be afraid. All seven of these nations are much mightier than the Israelites. But the Lord commands them to not marry outside of their tribes and especially not to anyone from these nations. The Lord commands them to destroy the nations as he places them in their hands.

The Lord reminds the children of Israel that they were chosen for their actions, even though they numbered very few.  (see verse 7). Verses 3-4 talk about the importance of marriage within the covenant, because marrying outside of the covenant can lead to a loss of faith and is not approved by God.

The Lord promises that if the Israelites obey and are faithful to his commandments that he will show mercy on them, bless them and love them. He will also cure their diseases and make them prosperous. (Deuteronomy 7:12-15)

Chapter 8: Don’t Forget God

The Lord speaks to the Israelites regarding the 40 year experience in the wilderness and desert. The children of Israel wondered for over 40 years, and the purpose of this was to humble and prove the congregation of Israel whether they would follow the commandments or not. (verse 2)

“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)

We learn that the Lord wanted to prove the worthiness and dedication of his chosen people, by teaching them this principle. Someone can be fat and have plenty of food and wealth, but that person can only live so long without the Lord. The Lord, our Heavenly Father is just like our earthly father or parents. Sometimes they do things that upset us.

Children often get upset with their parents for limiting their ability to be free, because they want to protect them. For example a parent will try and prevent their child from touching a hot stove, because they know that it will hurt them. But what happens? The child will usually do it anyways, and then when they do it they cry and think why do I have to suffer? The parent of course will come in and love them and make things better, but sometimes the parent will let them learn from their actions by not taking away the consequences.

“…that as a man chasteneth his son, so shall the Lord thy God chasteneth thee” (Deuteronomy 8:5)

Chasten means; to discipline or correct by punishment. Punishment doesn’t always have to be of a physical nature, it can be done in a variety of ways; including shame. For example, a parent can punish their child just be letting them know that they are disappointed in them for something that they knew was wrong, but did it anyways. The Lord, is our Heavenly Father he disciplines us, because he knows what is best for us and wants to give us anything that we need. Sometimes however he has to step back and let us learn from our own mistakes, just like a good parent. When God doesn’t offer his helping hand in our life, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us. I am sure he is saddened and upset because he knows that he needs to step back, when really he wants to step in and make everything ok.

I look at the current situation of the world, not only from a distance, but also right in my own backyard. I see people complain and say that God cannot exist if he were to permit such violence and misfortunes in the world. But hasn’t God warned us about all of this? He has, and he continues to warn us. But like a good parent he steps back and lets us learn from our own mistakes. Think about it, let’s use the example of pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. God has warned us about the dangers of sex outside of marriage.

                “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2)

If everyone waited until marriage to have sex, and were faithful to their husband or wife than we would not have teen pregnancies, homes with single parents, sexually transmitted diseases or abortion issues. I would even say that we would have less crime and more productivity in the world. Think about it, if everyone came from a loving family with a loving father and mother, who chose to have children to love them and nurture them, would we have so much crime? I think not. Would we have so many emotional problems in the world? A lot less.

God, just like our earthly parents, warned us to not touch the stove, but we have and we continue to do it. There is only so much God can do, because after all we are free and able to make our own decisions. God gave us our agency and we must live with the consequences of not listening to his warnings.

The chapter ends with a warning, that if we do not follow the commandments of God and forget about him, then we will perish.  Look at the world today… and we can see why we are “perishing”.

Deuteronomy 5-6

Deuteronomy 5-6

Chapter 5: 10 Commandments

Moses calls all of Israel to come and listen to him regarding the statutes and commandments, by which they must follow. Moses reminds them that they must not only learn the commandments, but also keep and do them. So it is not as simple as “I know the commandments” and then keep them for a while and forget about them… it is a commitment. It is a covenant.

Moses reminds them all that THEY made this covenant with the Lord, not their fathers but THEY, all of those who are alive as Moses speaks to them. He reminds them that they made these covenants to follow the commandments of the Lord in Horeb and that they talked with God FACE TO FACE, Moses being there intermediary.

Moses then recaps the 10 commandments (as listed in Exodus 20):

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. – Worship God and no other person or thing.
    1. Moses notes that God said: “Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them (idols), nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Deuteronomy 5:9)
  2.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. – You should not bow down/serve them, for God is a jealous God. Showing destruction to those who hate him and mercy unto those who love him.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain – don’t say God, Jesus, Jesus Christ, etc. Unless you are speaking of them. Do not use them as cuss words.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. – Sunday is to be observed to serve others,  read the scriptures, and attend church and rest. You should avoid working on Sundays if you can, and should always avoid making others work on Sunday, by shopping.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother – Respect your elders!
  6. Thou shalt not kill
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. – Law of Chastity: No sexual relationships outside of the bonds of marriage.
  8. Thou shalt not steal
  9. Thou shalt not bare false witness. – Do not lie.
  10. Thou shalt no covet. – Do not be jealous of what others have.

Moses goes on to state that these words were spoken to them in the mount out of the midst of fire and cloudiness of thick darkness. These commandments were written on two stones. Blessings flow from obedience.

Chapter 6: Keep the Commandments/Love God

Moses continues to tell the congregation of Israel to not only keep the commandments, but to Love and fear God.

“…thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy sould, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5)

We must serve God and Love him and if we do this (knowing that we must follow his commandments and be afraid of his power) than he will show us his love and make us prosper.

We need to always be doing what is right and just, if we succeed with this than we will prosper in the land.

Deuteronomy 3-4

Deuteronomy 3-4

Chapter 3: People of Bashan are Destroyed

The congregation of Israel heads up to Bashan, where the king of Bashan (king Og) opposes them in a great battle, at Edrei. The Israelites start to fear a little, but the Lord delivered King Og and his people, just like the Lord delivered Sihon and his people into their hands.

They do just like they did with Sihon and his people, killing every single one of them, until no men, women or children are left alive. The children of Israel take the livestock and goods for their plunder. They conquered threescore (or 3 x 20=60), they conquered sixty cities, that were under the rule of King Og, in Bashan. All the cities were fenced, with walls, gates and bars. Essentially they were heavily fortified.

An interesting passage in verse 11, states that King Og was the last of the “giants”, mentioning that his bed was 13.5 long and 6 feet wide! Did you know that an average twin bed is.. 3.5 feet wide by 6.25 feet long! Almost double the size of a twin mattress, making me believe that these “giants” of the Old Testament were probably about double the size of an average man today.

The regions of Gilead and all of Bashan were given to the half tribe of Manasseh which was known as the land of the giants.

Moses sees Canaan from Pisgah, but is denied entrance into this land. He however, counsels and gives charge of Joshua.

Chapter 4: Scattering and Gathering of Israel

Moses speaks to the congregation of Israel and commands them to not add to the word, neither should they fall from it.

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it…” (Deuteronomy 4:2)

                This verse really gets me, because some skeptics of the Book of Mormon will read from the book of Revelations, where it says: “…If any man add unto these things (speaking of the Book of Revelations, but often misunderstood as the “Bible as a whole”), God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:” (Revelations 22:18)

So essentially we have two scriptures that say “do not add”, if Revelations was true, then why was Deuteronomy 4:2 written? The answer… Moses and John the Revelator were speaking of their words, in their books! Think about the way the books of the Bible were written… Revelations wasn’t even the last book written of the Bible!

Just thought I would mention that verse in Deuteronomy, Moses after telling his people to neither add, nor diminish from his words; continues to teach and preach to his people. Moses tells his people to be wise and an understanding people, without this they will not become a great nation. He reminds them to remember of the times when they were able to see the Lord’s hands in their lives and more specifically when they were wondering in the desert for forty years. They are to be a witness of the great power and wisdom of God.

Moses reminds his people of the covenant that they made with the Lord to follow the Ten Commandments and to follow all of the statutes and judgments. Moses tells the Israelites to not worship false gods, or get the idea of worshiping the stars, the moon or the sun.

Moses explains that if they chose to not follow the commandments and statutes that the Lord has placed upon them, then they will be destroyed. He exhorts them (or suggests to them) that they follow the commandments and do everything in their power to “extend” or “prolong” their days upon the land, having more time to be favorable in the eyes of God. Because he says that God is a “jealous” God, but a merciful God. If they do this faithfully, Israel will be once again gathered in the “latter” days.

One thing that I found to be interesting is in verse 28; Moses is speaking to the Israelites about how they will be punished if they serve other gods, which he mentions; “…ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood, stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell” (Deuteronomy 4:28)

What is verse 4:28 telling us? I believe it has two meanings. One is that often times we worship things that are made by men, like (in modern days), a cell phone, computer, car, money…etc. We focus on those things (we worship them), when we should be worshiping God. The other meaning, is a little more disputed among scholars… but I believe this verse tells us about the nature of God.

So my question is, who is God? What does he  look like? Does he  have a body, or is he a spirit?

Here is the answer:

God said; “…Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness…so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

So God created man in his own image, which means that He looks like us! God has a body of flesh and bones! This scripture in Deuteronomy 4:28 clearly says that God can see, hear, eat and smell.

Deuteronomy 1-2

Deuteronomy 1-2

Chapter 1: Israel during 40 Years

Moses recounts the stories and things that had happened to them during their 40 year march through the wilderness. Just like in Numbers 11, Moses again calls leaders. These leaders however (in comparison with the “70 Elders of Israel” he chose in 11, are more like government officials than religious authorities.

This chapter also recounts the story of sending spies into the land of Canaan. The Israelites plan to go in and defeat the Amorites, but the Lord tells them, that he would not be with them and they are chased out and weep to the Lord. He doesn’t listen.

Chapter 2: Israel Moves toward Promised Land

Israel moves forward (a recount of history by Moses) to the Promised Land. They pass around Seir, then on to a territory of the descendants of Esau. The Lord commanded the Israelites to not provoke them to war, and to pay for any food/water that they consumed. They pass on from the land of Esau and go to Moab. The Lord again commands the children of Israel to not provoke the Moabites to war, because they were descendants of Lot. After one generation of Israelites die, they once again go to Moab and are once again told to not provoke them.

Moses sends messengers to Sihon, the King of Heshbon with a peace offering, asking for permission to pass through his land. Well Sihon refuses (because the Lord hardened his heart) and the Lord commands his people to kill Sihon and his people and take his land. They accomplish this by killing everything!