Mar. 22. Looking Toward the Future

Deut. 12:1-16:17

As Moses continued his exhortations to the Israelites, he reminded them that God had commanded them to completely destroy the idols and places of worship of the nations of Canaan.

During their forty years wandering, the Israelites were concentrated in a small area and were required to slaughter their animals in a central location. However, in the Promised Land, they would be spread farther apart making it difficult to prepare their meat in one place. God gave permission to butcher in a convenient place for them. He would designate a place for them to worship. The importance of obedience to God was stated by Moses when he said, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”

There would be false prophets who would arise, even members of the Israelites’ families who would attempt to entice them to follow after the gods of the country. They were to be stoned to death because of their evil.

Moses reminded the people of clean and unclean animal life. That was one of God’s ways of maintaining their physical health. They were not to eat any of those or any animal that died without being butchered for food. No blood was to be eaten because it was the life of man and beast.

The Israelites were also reminded often to remember the Levites. They had no inheritance of the land and were dependent upon the other tribes to provide for their needs. God also gave instructions to care for strangers, orphans and widows.

A plan to care for the poor was set in place. They could borrow from their more prosperous brothers and at the end of every seventh (sabbatical) year, debts that had not been repaid would be forgiven. Servants who had been sold into slavery were also to be released at the end of the seventh year. If a slave wished to remain with his master, that also could be arranged.

All the firstborn male animals without blemish in their herds were to be set apart for the Lord.

Moses reviewed the observances of the three main feast days. The Passover was to be observed during the month of Abib, the first month of their year. That was the anniversary month of their deliverance from Egypt. The Feast of Weeks, later known as Pentecost was to be celebrated seven weeks later on the fiftieth day after the beginning of grain harvest. Later in the year after they had completed threshing their grain and had harvested their grapes, the Israelites observed the Feast of Tabernacles.