Deuteronomy 12-16

Learning to Worship (ch. 12)

These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess—as long as you live in the land (12:1).

God is giving Israel specific commands for how they will worship Him. It would not have been acceptable to worship God the way that the former inhabitants did (vv. 4). God helps them to live in safety, as they followed Him (vv. 10). When we follow the Lord our God in His commands, He will take care of us. When we do what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord, we will be blessed (vv. 28).

Following God and No Others (ch. 13)

We need to be careful who we follow. Again, we are reminded of being tested to find out if we love Him (13:3-4).

It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. (vv. 4) 

It is God we must follow. Others will try to sway us and turn us away from the Lord. We need to be serious in how we deal with such people. While we wouldn’t kill them, we would need to set strict boundaries to protect our walk/relationship with God through Jesus Christ!

We need to investigate (vv. 14) when we hear that others who once clung to the faith, are enticing Jesus followers to follow other gods. We need to investigate, but again set firm boundaries in our relationships with such people. Others trying to sway us from knowing and serving our Lord Jesus is a serious matter. It is not something to laugh off, and go on our merry little way. We can love the person, while still finding it necessary to step back.

Children of God (ch. 14)

We are children of the Lord our God. We need to remember this truth, and allow it to alter the way we act before a watching world. Our aim ought to be glorifying God. For the Israelites, they had specific food guidelines that pleases God when followed. This reminds us that God’s children are truly to be set apart. We aren’t meant to even eat like unbelievers.

. . . But you are a people holy to the Lord your God. . . (see vv. 21)

When the Israelites tithed in the Lord’s designated place, they were to eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice (vv. 26b). There is such joy and soul satisfaction accompanied by their tithing, as they sat in the Lord’s presence, ate, and rejoiced (vv. 28-29). 

Year of Jubilee (ch. 15)

However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today (15:4-5).

Just as the Israel is, we are taught to give generously. God is providing leaps and bounds, so we can extend these gifts to those who stand in need. We need to be open handed to those in need (vv. 7-11).

The Israelites were called to lovingly give, during the year of Jubilee (happens every seven years). They were reminded to not allow it to be a hardship to set a slave free after six years’ service (vv. 12-18). The slave was given the option of staying on, as a member of the family – if they felt so led.

The Passover and Holidays of Celebration (ch. 16)

Instructions for the Passover are given. This is a specific time of reflecting and celebrating how God delivered them from Egypt and their many years of slavery while there. There are times of celebrating, through Festivals. This is a time of giving a gift to God, and remembering how God has blessed His people – Israel.

In everything, they are reminded to listen and follow the commands of our great God. They are His people. We, too, have been set apart, so let’s learn how to follow Him and live out His Word.

Feature image by Ian Schneider.