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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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March 7, 2007

Deuteronomy 25-27
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Deuteronomy
Chapter 25
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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;
  9. 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.
  10. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.
  11. 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:
  12. Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.
  13. Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.
  14. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.
  15. 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.
  16. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
  17. Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;
  18. 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.
  19. 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.


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Deuteronomy
Chapter 26
  1. And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;
  2. That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there.
  3. And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us.
  4. And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God.
  5. And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
  6. And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
  7. And when we cried unto the LORD God of our fathers, the LORD heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
  8. And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
  9. And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
  10. And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God:
  11. And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
  12. When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
  13. Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:
  14. I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.
  15. Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
  16. This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
  17. Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:
  18. And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
  19. And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.


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Deuteronomy
Chapter 27
  1. And Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day.
  2. And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister:
  3. And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee.
  4. Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister.
  5. And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.
  6. Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God:
  7. And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God.
  8. And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.
  9. And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God.
  10. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.
  11. And Moses charged the people the same day, saying,
  12. These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:
  13. And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
  14. And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice,
  15. Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen.
  16. Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  17. Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  18. Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  19. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  20. Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  21. Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  22. Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  23. Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  24. Cursed be he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  25. Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen.
  26. Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.


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Thought for the day:
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 The opening verses of Deuteronomy 24 concerning divorce and remarriage have caused some believers confusion because of Christ's teaching on this subject in the New Testament. In Matthew 19:1-12 the Lord was approached by religious leaders with a question designed to set Him at odds with the people. Their question was,

"Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?"
This inquiry was rooted in the statement of the Law found in Deuteronomy 24:1, which allowed divorce "because he hath found some uncleanness in her". The Pharisees were divided into two camps as to what constituted an "uncleanness" worthy of divorce. Some felt it to be confined to issues of immorality, while others believed it to be anything which did not meet with the husband's approval. No matter what answer Jesus gave He was sure to offend a certain group of rabbis.

 Christ's answer stunned them all. He responded,

"Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder," ( Matt. 19:4-6).
First of all, Christ challenges them on their knowledge of the contents of Scripture ("Have ye not read?"). Then the Lord negated the law allowing divorce by two means: appealing to the First Principle, and revealing the purpose for that law being given. The First Principle was established in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:24 God had established the principle of marriage, which stated that a man and woman were to leave their parents and become "one flesh" - an indissoluble union and an indivisible number. Thus, since God had put marriages together, they were not to be broken by the whims or laws of man. Christ teaches that both prevailing views of uncleanness were wrong, and divorce could only be allowed in cases of "fornication" **( vs. 9). Even the disciples were surprised, for their response to the teachings of Jesus was
"If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry," ( vs. 10).
In other words, "If you can't get divorced, why would you want to get married in the first place?"

 The reaction of the rebuffed Jewish leaders was swift, and (in their minds) Biblical. They reverted back to these teachings of Deuteronomy as their "proof" that divorce was acceptable for at least some form of "uncleanness". They demand,

"Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? " ( vs. 7).
This opens the door for the Lord to reveal to the Pharisees the purpose for that law being given, and in the process indict them as well. In verse 8 Jesus answers,
"Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."
Christ shows that this law existed because of the rebellious hearts of the Jews. History tells us that the Jews of Moses' time were marrying and divorcing at a rapid rate, exchanging wives in a fashion similar to the pagans that surrounded them. God had Moses write the law of Deuteronomy 24 to attempt to slow down the process by first of all requiring a legal document to be drawn up (which under the Jewish custom of that day was not necessary), and then by stating that once a man divorced his wife and allowed her to marry another, he could never take her back ( vs. 1-4). Hopefully these two regulations would accomplish what a knowledge of Creation apparently could not: keep marriages together.

 Two items stand out to me today. First, it is important for the New Testament believer to understand the purpose of the Law and its relevance to us today. Here is an example where the principles of God that were established before Moses, as well as the direct teachings of Christ after Moses, show that there is a more God-honoring way to live than that which is mandated by the Law. Also, the institution of Marriage is extremely important to the Lord. It is serious business to get married, for God places His seal upon the union. Once He has sealed it, He intends for it to remain unbroken.

 **Fornication in the Bible is different than adultery. Adultery is something that a married person commits when he is unfaithful to his wife. Thus, the use of the word "fornication" instead of "adultery" indicates that the sin which allows divorce is not unfaithfulness after marriage. Matthew 1 shows that Joseph, upon learning of Mary's pregnancy, was planning to divorce her. However, they were only espoused, and were not yet married. The Jewish custom of that day required that an espousal could only be broken through the legal method of divorce. Joseph intended to use that means because he thought his "espoused wife" had been involved in immorality before their official marriage. It is this that Christ refers to when he gives the exception of "fornication".

Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery

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