A Holy Nation (3): Deuteronomy 22-24.4 (2)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 19.12-14
Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
(St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
Who, Lord, can know his errors? O keep sin far from me!
Let evil rule not in my soul that I may blameless be.
O let my thoughts, let all my words, before Your glorious sight
be pleasing to You, gracious Lord, acceptable and right!
Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 22.13-30
1. What are these statutes intended to protect?
2. What punishments were involved in violating these statutes?
There is perhaps no greater evidence of our age’s rebellion against God and His Word than the laxity and license with which sexual behavior is regarded. It is not necessary to detail the many ways this is expressed in our licentious world.
Nor is it necessary to provide much in the way of explanation concerning what the statutes given in these verses intend. God created human sexual relations as a privilege and blessing of marriage. Abuse of that privilege in any way runs afoul of His will and slashes at the social fabric that holds society together. No wonder violators were subjected to such serious punishments in ancient Israel.
Fornication, adultery, incest, rape: All were seen as attacks on the divine institution of marriage, and thus on the authoritative role of the family in practicing Biblical ethics and teaching God’s Law. Where God’s Law is neglected, ignored, or simply set aside, His plan for marriage is not respected, families become unstable, and society begins to unravel. We only need to look at the state of marriage and sexuality in America today to see just how devastating disregard of Biblical morality can be.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
In these verses, boundaries and landmarks are set for physical relationships. Betrayals of all kinds are listed here. All of them are crimes against someone, and against God. Sadness. Loss. Violence. Hatred. All these actions are to be avoided. These particular sins, when perpetrated by the church, make us a stench in the nostrils of the world. And certainly to God. But He had better things in mind for His people then, and for us now. Sadly, Solomon was right: “There is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1.9). We seem to be doing the same things over and over again. A regular déjà vu of grossness. The difference now is that we have the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us from all these evils. The sin ensues because we don’t flee from it. We must do better. We must be better. We just cannot do it in our own strength. “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you… For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8.11, 13, 14).
1. Why is it so important that Christians work hard to preserve sexual purity?
2. How can you protect yourself against sexual temptation?
3. What does it mean to be “led by the Spirit of God”?
This passage also tends to the exaltation of chastity. God provides against both cases, lest a husband should unjustly bring reproach upon a chaste and innocent young woman, and lest a young woman, having been defiled, should escape punishment, if she pretended to be a virgin. A third object is also to be remarked, viz., that parents were thus admonished to be more careful in watching over their children. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 22.13ff.
Lord, help me always to respect properties and prerogatives of others, so that I…
Closing Prayer: Psalm 19.7-11
Thank God for His Law, and for all His Word. Renew your commitment to living by the moral and spiritual guidance the Lord provides each day in the Scriptures.
(St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
The Law of God is perfect, His testimony sure;
the simple man God’s wisdom learns, the soul receives its cure.
God’s Word is right, and His command is pure, and truth imparts;
He makes our eyes to understand; with joy He fills our hearts.
The fear of God is cleansing, forever shall it last.
His judgments all are true and just, by righteousness held fast.
O seek them more than gold most fine, than honey find them sweet;
Be warned by every word and line; be blessed with joy complete.
T. M. and Susie Moore
Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).