Today you should read: Deuteronomy 14
“Buddy, please stay out of the dog’s crate.” This is a statement that my wife and I say to our son Hudson on a daily basis. He loves to crawl in there and play. To him this is a magical place to play but to us it is Barkley’s (our dog’s name) dirty, smelly crate. Hudson must have a hard time understanding what is wrong with him playing in the crate. It is fun and he sees the dog go in there all the time. Sometimes as a parent you have rules that your child will not understand but they need to obey because you have a good reason for them.
When I read passages like the one we read today I find myself thinking, “why did God have so many rules for his children?” Is it really that big of a deal if they ate hare (v.7)? I grew up eating many delicious meals of fried rabbit. Or, you might be thinking, “why would God even need to tell them (v.1-2) not to cut themselves or shave the hair off their foreheads?” Crazy, right? It can be very hard to relate or understand passages like this in the Old Testament. Hopefully, the following points will help make some sense of how this applies to us.
1. God wanted His children to be set apart.
Deuteronomy was written at a time when people were organized by tribes and each tribe had their pagan gods that they worshipped. Rituals like cutting yourself were common in pagan worship practices (v.1-2). Also, the separation of clean and unclean animals was to illustrate Israel’s separation from other nations.
So, why don’t we practice these rituals today? The gospel broke down this separation of clean and unclean because we are all made clean in Christ Jesus (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:9-16; 1 Timothy 4:3-5). We are now to show our separation from the lost through practicing Christ-like love and behavior to all of those around us (Romans 12:9-21). Our hopes are to point others to Jesus through sharing and living the gospel.
2. God wanted His children’s trust and worship.
When God called Israel to tithe he meant for it to be an act of worship for them. Tithing was also meant to teach Israel trust. Tithing taught Israel that the remaining 90 percent would be sufficient for them (v.23).
Tithing is one of those practices and principles that has remained the same to this day. Tithing is just one area of our life that we must learn to trust the Lord for provision. Matthew 6:25-34, speaks about this principal in detail and much of our fear and worry is a result of a lack of trust in God.
My prayer is that this passage would encourage each of us to ask ourselves the tough questions. How much do I trust God with? Would others see me as set apart for Jesus Christ?
Posted by:Chad Wiles