1 At the end of every seven years you are to make a release. 2 This is the way of the release: Every creditor that lends anything to his neighbor will release it; he will not require it from his neighbor, or from his brother because it is called the LORD’s release. 3 You may require it from a foreigner: but what is yours with your brother, your hand will release; 4 Except when there are no poor among you; for the LORD will greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives your for an inheritance to possess it:
- God gave His people a financial fresh start every seven years.
- He has forgiven our great debt to Him: that He made us in His image and we have failed to be holy.
- Matthew 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought to him, who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But since as he had nothing to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 Therefore the servant fell down and worshipped him saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
5 Only if you carefully listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all these commandments that I command you today. 6 For the LORD your God blesses you, as he promised you: and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will reign over many nations, but they will not reign over you. 7 If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers within any of your gates in your land that the LORD your God gives you, you will not harden your heart or shut your hand from your poor brother: 8 But you are to open your hand wide to him, and will surely lend him enough for his need, in what he lacks. 9 Beware that there is no evil thought in your heart saying, The seventh year, the year of release is at hand; and your eye be evil against your poor brother, and you give him nothing; and he cry to the LORD against you, and it be sin to you.
- The person in this example would not loan his brother what he needed because he knew the year of canceling debts was near. That was wrong. In verse 6God promises supremacy.
God blesses obedience and generosity toward our brothers in Christ
10 You will surely give to him, and your heart is not to be grieved when you give to him: because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand to. 11 For the poor will never cease out of the land: therefore I command you saying, You are to open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and to your needy in your land. 12 And if your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, and serves you six years; then in the seventh year you are to let him go free from you. 13 And when you send him out free from you, you are not to let him go away empty-handed: 14 You are to generously furnish him out of your flock, out of your floor, and out of your winepress from that with which the LORD you God has blessed you, you will give to him. 15 And you will remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you: therefore I command you this thing today.
- God’s solution to debt was that a person could sell himself into service for six years.
- The person buying the person paid the debt and then the debtor worked to repay the amount for six years.
- Christ redeemed us out of bondage to sin.
- Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
16 And it will be, if he says to you, I will not go away from you; because he loves you and your house, because it has been good for him with you; 17 Then you are to take an aul, and pierce it through his ear to the door, and he will be your servant forever. And also to your maidservant you will do the same. 18 Do not let it seem hard to you when you send him away free from you; for he has been worth twice a hired servant to you, in serving you six years: and the LORD your God will bless you in all that you do. 19 All the firstborn males that come of your herd and of your flock you are to sanctify to the LORD your God: do no work with the firstling of your bull, nor shear the firstling of your sheep. 20 You are to eat it before the LORD your God year by year in the place that the LORD will choose, you and your household.
- The firstborn was set apart to God because of the firstborn slain to release the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
- The eating made it a part of the person.
- The greater illustration being God’s purchase of us back to Himself through the blood of His firstborn.
- Exodus 34:19 All that opens the matrix is mine; and every firstling among your cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
- John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
21 And if there is any blemish in it, if it is lame, or blind, or has any evil blemish, you are not to sacrifice it to the LORD your God. 22 You will eat it within your gates: the unclean and the clean person alike will eat it, like the gazelle, and as the stag. 23 Only you are not to eat its blood; you will pour it on the ground like water.
- Christ is perfect so the picture of Him had to be perfect.
- God forbad the eating or drinking of blood because it was the sign of the everlasting covenant—God’s love poured out for us through Christ on the cross.
- Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
- Hebrews 9:14 How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
- Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant...
The Almighty God passed over our sins
1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to the LORD your God: for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Therefore you will sacrifice the Passover to the LORD your God, from the flock and the herd, in the place that the LORD will choose to place his name. 3 You are to eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you are to eat unleavened bread with it, the bread of affliction; because you came out of the land of Egypt in haste: this is so that you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. 4 And there will be no leavened bread seen with you in all your territory for seven days; none of the flesh that you sacrificed at evening the first day is to remain all night until the morning.
- Passover was a vivid, living picture of God passing over our sins because He planned to put them on Jesus.
- Sin is a far greater bondage than that of Egypt.
- It is a cruel taskmaster that keeps us frantic with worry, laboring for things that do not profit, and stealing all the wonderful days that God has planned for our lives.
- Each animal sacrifice of the Old Testament was God saying, “This is how much I love you! I love you enough to die for you.”
- Today we celebrate His love poured out by partaking of the communion bread and wine.
- Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
5 You may not sacrifice the Passover inside any of your gates, which the LORD your God gives you: 6 But at the place that the LORD your God chooses to place his name, there you are to sacrifice the Passover at evening, at the going down of the sun, at the season that you came out of Egypt. 7 You are to roast and eat it in the place the LORD your God chooses: and in the morning turn, and go to your tents. 8 Six days you are to eat unleavened bread: and the seventh day will be a solemn/restraint assembly to the LORD your God: you will do no work in it.
- God chose the place they were to celebrate this worship service. It was not at home or out communing with nature but at God’s tabernacle or temple.
9 You are to count to yourself seven weeks: begin to number the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 Then you are to keep the feast of weeks to the LORD your God with a tribute, a freewill offering from your hand, which you will give to the LORD your God, as the LORD you God has blessed you: 11 And you are to rejoice before the LORD your God, you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, the Levite that is inside your gates, the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow that are among you, in the place that the LORD your God has chosen to place his name there.
- He required a freewill offering seven weeks after the harvest began.
- He wants us to be glad for all the good He has done for us.
- He plans to bless greatly.
- 1Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love him.
12 And you are to remember that you were a slave in Egypt: observe and do these statutes. 13 Observe the feast of tabernacles seven days after you have gathered in your grain and your wine: 14 Rejoice in your feast, you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless, and the widow that are inside your gates. 15 Seven days you are to keep a feast to the LORD your God in the place that the LORD chooses: because the LORD your God will bless you in all your increase, and in all the works of your hands, therefore you will definitely rejoice. 16 Three times in a year all your males are to appear before the LORD your God in the place that he chooses; the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles: and they are not to appear before the LORD empty: 17 Every man will give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you.
- He will bless all the work of our hands.
- He required all the men to appear before Him three times a year with offerings of His blessing.
He forbid partiality or taking bribes
18 Throughout your tribes you are to make judges and officers in all your gates which the LORD your God gives you: and they are to judge the people with just judgment. 19 Do not distort justice; do not respect persons, or take a gift/bribe: for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise, and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 Follow what is completely just so that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God gives you. 21 Do not plant a grove of any trees near the altar of the LORD your God that you make. 22 Nor set up any image; which the LORD your God hates.
- God demanded justice as a condition for living in the promised land.
- He forbid groves of trees planted by His altar.
- Idolatrous nations planted groves around their idols and had orgies there.
- Gardens and groves are beautiful places. But trees are not God and their beauty can distract from the beauty of the invisible God.
- Man lost his view of God at the fall.
- Beauty can be a false food for the soul.
- Pictures supposed to be Jesus on our walls, statues of Jesus in our cars—these are the same thing.
- People tend to worship the thing and not the omnipresent Lord. It is idolatry and God hates it.
- Ezekiel 1:26-28 shows the truth about what God looks like. The human mind can’t imagine or reproduce God’s infinite beauty.
- Psalm 45:2 You are more beautiful than the children of men: grace is poured into your lips: therefore God has blessed you forever.
1 Do not sacrifice to the LORD your God any bull, or sheep, in which is a blemish, or any defect: that is an abomination to the LORD your God.
- God is perfect and pure; there is not a hint of any imperfection in Him.
- These offerings were a picture of His great love poured out for us through His Son, Jesus at the cross.
2 If there is found among you within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, man or woman, that has done wickedness in the sight of the LORD your God, transgressing his covenant, 3 And has gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4 And it is told you, and you have heard of it, and inquired diligently, and behold, it is true, and the thing is certain, that such abomination is done in Israel: 5 Then you are to bring out to your gates that man or that woman that has committed that wicked thing, that man or that woman, and stone them with stones until they die. 6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, will he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he will not be put to death. 7 The hands of the witnesses are to be first on him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. This is how you are to put the evil away from among you.
- God made the heavens and us.
- He sustains the heavens and us.
- Following a lesser being than God brings death.
- This command of God cuts off evil from the earth and brings life.
- Evil often masquerades as good so we must know God’s word to be able to know the right path.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
8 If a matter arises in judgment that is too hard for you, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates: then arise, and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses; 9 Come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge that will be in those days, and inquire; they will show you the sentence of judgment: 10 And you will do according to the sentence which those in that place that the LORD chooses show you; observe to do all that they instruct you: 11 They will teach you according to the terms of the law; so do according to the judgment that they tell you: do not turn aside from the sentence that they show you, to the right hand, or to the left. 12 The man that does presumptuously, and will not listen to the priest that stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or to the judge, that man will die: by this you put away the evil from Israel. 13 All the people will hear, and fear, and not do presumptuously.
- These verses describe Israel’s supreme court.
- God instructed judges to judge according to what God wrote in His law, not their own thoughts.
- Evil is the source of wrong actions.
- Evil was stamped out by destroying those who would not listen to God.
- Severity brought righteousness while leniency let evil run free.
- God is trying to lead mankind to the most astounding blessings that could ever exist.
- John 5:22 the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son:
God was to choose Israel’s king
14 When you have come to the land that the LORD your God gives you, and possess it, and dwell in it, and say, I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me; 15 Then certainly set the king over you, whom the LORD your God chooses: you are to set one from among your brothers to be king over you: you may not set a foreigner over you who is not your brother. 16 And he is not to multiply horses to himself, or cause the people to return to Egypt, to multiply horses: for the LORD has said to you, You will never again return that way. 17 Neither is he to multiply wives to himself, so that his heart does not turn away: neither is he to greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
- That phrase ‘the Lord your God’ is astounding.
- It tells us that the One who rules over absolutely every thing is our God.
- Their king was to be a fellow Israelite rather than a man from another nation.
- God forbid the king to multiple wives, horses, silver, and gold.
- The king was to trust the Lord alone, not wealth, strength, pleasure, family, or military weapons.
- Daniel 2:21 he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
- Hosea 4:11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart (from God).
18 And it will be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he is to write himself a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests, the Levites: 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read in it all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he not turn aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
- These instructions were given to Israel 500 years before they had their first king—Saul.
- Until that time, God was their king.
- He promised long life and blessing to His people and their children for keeping his words, laws, and statutes.
- Notice that the daily reading of God’s word taught the king to fear God and keep all His word.
- Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night. 3 And he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth fruit in his season; his leaf also will not wither; and whatever he does will prosper.
1 The priests, the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, will have no part or inheritance with Israel: they are to eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, his inheritance. 2 Therefore they will have no inheritance among their brothers: the LORD is their inheritance, as he said to them. 3 This will be the priest’s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it is ox or sheep; and they will give to the priest the shoulder, the two cheeks, and the stomach. 4 Also the first fruit of your grain, your wine, your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, you are to give him. 5 For the LORD your God has chosen him out of all your tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons forever.
- The priests and Levites were not given large acreages of land to grow food and graze flocks.
- Towns were given to them with some surrounding acreage throughout the land of Israel.
- By giving them no property, they had time to focus on God Himself, serving Him at the tabernacle.
- God provided their food from the offerings of the people.
- They were to be given the first and the best of all God’s people’s offerings.The people got to keep 90% of what they produced.
- Numbers 25:13 And he will have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.
- Haggai 2:23… for I have chosen you, says the LORD of hosts.
6 And if a Levite comes from any of your gates out of all Israel from where he has been living, and comes with all the desire of his mind to the place that the LORD chooses; 7 Then he will minister in the name of the LORD his God, like all his brothers the Levites do, who stand there before the LORD. 8 They will have the same portions to eat, beside what comes of the sale of his patrimony.
- A Levite who desired to serve full time at God’s tabernacle could sell his townhouse and move to the city where God’s tabernacle was.
- They were to receive equal income even if they had lots of money from the other source.
God forbids heathen worship practices for our good
9 When you have come into the land that the LORD your God gives you, you are not to learn to do the abominations of those nations. 10 There will not be found among you anyone that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or is an observer of times, an enchanter, a witch, 11 a charmer, a consulter with familiar spirits, a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination to the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. 13 You are to be perfect with the LORD your God. 14 For these nations, which you will possess, listened to observers of times and to diviners: but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.
- Evil spirits inspire these activities.
- They lead to eternal death.
- Involvement in these activities brings discipline from the LORD.
- We are to stay away from horoscopes, palm readers, witchcraft and voodoo etc.
- God drives out nations from their land because of their abominable practices.
- We are to seek advice from our Maker. Not the devil! Jesus spent a lot of time on earth casting evil spirits out of people.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
15 The LORD your God will raise up to you a Prophet from the midst of you, from you brothers, like me; you are to listen to him; 16 According to all that you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear the voice of the LORD my God again , neither let me see this great fire any more, so that I not die. 17 And the LORD said to me, They have spoken well what they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, like you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he will speak to them all that I command him.
- Jesus was God’s final Prophet.
- When He finished speaking in the book of Revelation, then God’s message to man was completed.
- Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, that God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass.
- 2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
- Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
19 And it will come to pass, that whoever will not listen to my words that he will speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet, who presumes to speak a word in my name, that I have not commanded him to speak, or that speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet is to die. 21 And if you say in your heart, how will we know the word that the LORD has not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not follow or come to pass, that is the thing that the LORD has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: do not be afraid of him.
- God’s prophets were 100% accurate.
- He never makes mistakes because He knows all things.
- He commanded the death of false prophets because they led the people to eternal death.
- If every word of what they spoke did not come true, the people were to stone that person. He was from the devil, stealing eternal life!
- 1John 3:20….God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
- John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, except by me.
SUMMARY: Deuteronomy 15-18
- God gave His people a fresh financial start every seven years
- He has forgiven our great debt to Him
- He blesses as He promised and gives us a wonderful promised land
- The LORD blesses obedience and generosity toward our brothers in Christ
- He has redeemed us from evil
- He has passed over our sins because He dealt with them in Christ
- He hates images, statues supposedly Him, idols because they misrepresent Him.
- The almighty God is perfect and pure
- He chooses our leaders
- He forbids heathen practices for our good
- He promised to raise up a prophet who would speak all His words to us
- He holds us accountable for listening to all that He says