"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Monday, June 5, 2023


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez, and James Fire

DEUTERONOMY 24: GOD IS PLEASED WITH A MORAL SOCIETY – Sonny Islas; check out the complete teaching here!

All of God’s Word is true, powerful, and helpful for us today. The Old Testament has so many practical insights that we can glean from. Everything we read in the Old Testament and the New Testament tells us something about our God: who God is, how God thinks, how God works and what pleases or displeases our God. The entire Bible reveals God’s power, mind, heart, and ways to us.

The whole Bible is for the whole Christian.

I say this because there are many Christians that are turned off by portions of the Old Testament, reason being, they are still spiritual babies.

2 TIMOTHY 3:16, 17
‘’ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God
(lit. God breathed) and is profitable (beneficial) for doctrine (teaching – this truth about every spiritual subject), for reproof (scolding or disapproval), for correction (improvement), for instruction in righteousness (how to live upright in the sight of God and men), that the man of God (or women) may be complete (whole, healthy, mature, experienced, knowledgeable), thoroughly equipped (fully prepared) for every good work (for anything and everything we do in life).

With that said, in DEUTERONOMY 24, we’re going to see how God desires a moral society – even more, a godly society, a society that will reflect His good and perfect nature – through obedience to His Laws of practical love. The chapter will start with laws regarding divorce, then cover some miscellaneous laws – laws that were meant to protect His people.

"When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house,

Here we see that God permitted not commanded divorce as an act of mercy on the wife’s part. Because whatever the wife did here, the verse says, “he has found some uncleanness in her,” this may mean that she publicly exposed herself in a sexual way. Maybe showed some skin or flirtatiously displayed her womanly curves. She may have shown some improper behavior. This might mean that she may have some type of physical defect. Whatever it is, it’s not adultery because adultery was a capital crime at this time and deserving of the capital punishment which was death by stoning (LEV 20:10). So, she did do something bad but not the worst.

I say that allowing for divorce here is an act of mercy on God’s part because Jesus shines some more light on this verse in:
MARK 10:4-9
“Because of the hardness of your heart, he wrote you this precept.”
In other words, God let the wife off the hook because of the cruel and unforgiving attitude of her husband. Because of his “hard heart” she may have to live with his verbal and physical abuse all her life. God didn’t want that for either of the two.

The Pharisees in Jesus day twisted this verse in DEUT 24:1 in order to justify divorcing their wives “for just any reason” as they said in MATT 19:3. In fact, in Jesus’ day, some rabbi’s (teachers/religious leaders) taught that a man can ditch his wife for ruining breakfast. And if you're shocked by that, it’s not different today. In 1969, Ronald Reagan signed America’s first “No-Fault” divorce bill which permitted divorce for “just any reason,” just like the first century Pharisees.

The Bible is clear that grounds for divorce are adultery/fornication (this could include porn watching), serious abuse (as we see here in DEUT 24:1) and abandonment. If you’d like to hear more on this topic, go to our Shine Bright Church YouTube channel and scroll down to a video titled “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.” A teaching I gave about 10 months ago.

Even though there is a biblical ground for divorce, divorce should be the last resort. Because divorce is devastating in so many ways. Every marriage should be rescued IF it can be rescued.
The Hebrew word for divorce is keriythuth which means - a cutting.
C.S. Lewis says that,
Divorce is not like dissolving a business partnership or like deserting the military; it’s like having your legs cut off.’’
In other words, divorce is a kind of amputation because “two have become one flesh” (MATT 19:5) and to separate that one flesh can be very painful, messy, bloody, and unforgettable.

MALACHI 2:16 implies that God sees divorce like a bloody murder scene.

2 "when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man's wife, 3 "if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, 4 "then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

If it turns out that this same woman who was rejected by her husband marries another man and he too divorces her (for whatever reason), she cannot go back to her former husband. Even if her latter husband died. If she did go back, God calls this act an “abomination (a disgusting thing).”

This may be a rule to protect divorced women from being tossed around from man to man at the whims and wishes of rotten men. This may also be pointing to the seriousness and permanency of marriage and divorce.

God didn’t want people to take marriage and divorce lightly – like many do today. Lastly, the “defilement” mentioned in verse 4 could be referring to divorce and remarriage with biblical grounds.

"When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.

A newly wedded man was not to join the military nor be overloaded with business. Because God wanted him to enjoy his honeymoon period with his wife and to establish the marriage. His main job besides loving the LORD was to “bring happiness to his wife.” What a beautiful law this is!

As I look back to mine and Marla’s first year of marriage (we will be celebrating 20 years this coming October by the way), I think that I was too heavily involved with ministry at the time. We had a great first year, but it may have been even better, if only I had focused even more on our marriage instead of ministry – instead of making music, being involved with youth ministry, and going from church to church to minister.

No man shall take the lower or the upper millstone in pledge, for he takes one's living in pledge.

One was not allowed to take a man’s millstones for collateral (or in pledge) because both millstones were an absolute family necessity. Millstones were used to grind wheat and make daily food. It would be like taking a persons’ livelihood (living) for collateral. The point here is, if you take for collateral the very thing the man needs to survive, how will he ever pay you back? You might as well take the man’s oxygen for collateral.

Do you see how these laws served as a protection from someone being exploited (or abused)?

"If a man is found kidnapping any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and mistreats him or sells him, then that kidnapper shall die; and you shall put away the evil from among you.

Kidnappers were to be put to death.
Israelites were called to love each other not steal each other to harm or sell each other. Human trafficking and even worse, child trafficking is widespread in our world and in America. And sexual pleasure over forced labor is the reason why adults and children are being kidnapped. The three worse states in America for human trafficking are California, Texas, and Florida.

If God hates kidnapping in the Old Testament, be assured that He hates it today and judgment day, along with hell’s flames awaits every unrepentant kidnapper.

8 "Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you carefully observe and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you; just as I commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. 9 "Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam on the way when you came out of Egypt.

The laws concerning leprosy and other infectious skin diseases are found in LEVITICUS 13. These laws protect everyone from skin infections.

There is a spiritual aspect to this as well and Moses brings up his sister Miriam as a negative example and that is: open and unrepentant sin is like a contagious skin disease and those who don’t repent of it will cause it to spread like it did with Miriam to Aaron and then experience the painful discipline of God.

As you know, Moses’ sister Miriam led a sibling revolt against her brother Moses, as she brought their Aaron into the fight as well. She was essentially being prideful and wanted to be the boss. God basically checked her by striking her with leprosy and kicking her out of the camp for seven days. That was Old Testament church discipline at its finest.

Does God still strike disobedient unbelievers and believers with diseases and death today? ROM 1:27 and 1 COR 11:30 says He does. He sticks unbelieving fornicators with STD’s and AIDS. He also strikes His rebellious believing children with sickness and death.

10 "When you lend your brother anything, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge. 11 "You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you lend shall bring the pledge out to you.

God didn’t want any kind of forceful breaking and entering. God calls for respect, order, and decency. If someone needs to pay up the collateral, they must do so willingly and respectfully.

12 "And if the man is poor, you shall not keep his pledge overnight. 13 "You shall in any case return the pledge to him again when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his own garment and bless you; and it shall be righteousness to you before the LORD your God.

If the person was poor and gave up his garment (coat) for collateral, God didn’t want the lender to stay with it overnight because that poor person’s garment (coat/cloak/robe)

was also his blanket. Here we see that God is more concerned with a person’s immediate wellbeing than an unpaid debt. This is God commanding them to show mercy. It’s probable that God would be ok with the lender to back and hold the coat in the morning.

13b says “and it shall be righteousness to you before the LORD your God.” This is the point of it all. This verse is the reason why I titled tonight teaching “God is pleased with a moral society.’’ When we do what is kind, merciful and considerate, God takes notice and is well pleased.

[The following commentary has been provided by yours truly, James Fire.]

14 "You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether one of your brethren or one of the aliens who is in your land within your gates. 15 "Each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.

There were many if not most in those days that lived “from hand to mouth” and were entirely dependent on the day’s wages to provide for themselves and their families. IOU’s were never the biblical standard, much less withholding a worker’s pay and thus oppressing them. GOD here is commanding fair wages for a fair days work – not for a fair week’s work or two weeks work for payment at the end of that period. And notice as well that this command is for the Hebrew’s brothers but also for the foreigners! All were to receive proper pay fairly. These same idea is represented earlier in DEUT 15:7-18.

And note here who those who exploit wages from workers are grouped together with!
And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien-Because they do not fear Me," Says the LORD of hosts.
16 "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin. 17 "You shall not pervert justice due the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow's garment as a pledge. 18 "But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this thing.

These verses address how everyone is accountable for their own sin. All too often in our society the misdeeds, or even crimes of the children are addressed to the parents who neglected or abused them. For such unlawful actions on the part of the parents, they shall most certainly be held accountable. And while such as these would obviously have a negative effect on children so treated, the children are still accountable for their own actions of violence in the context of belonging to a gang, theft, robbery, etc.

It's such terribly sad commentary that so many of our youth have criminal records or were even killed by law enforcement while engaged in criminal activity – and if you notice, in the vast majority of cases, these youth are absent a father who went MIA.

See also: 2 KINGS 14:6; 2 CHRON 25:4; JER 31:29-30; EZEK 18:20

Judges and those in power were never to take advantage of the foreigners or the orphans, or the widows. The LORD here is admonishing His people to be merciful to these vulnerable members of society, just as GOD displayed His mercies upon His people while they were slaves in Egypt (PROV 22:22; ISA 1:23; JER 5:28; 22:3; EZEK 22:29; ZECH 7:10).

19 "When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 "When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. 21 "When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it afterward; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. 22 "And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this thing.

This was the social welfare program in Israel. Any who harvested their crops could go through and reap one time only, and no harvesting the corners of their fields (LEV 19:9-10) and even when harvested into a sheaf, if it gets inadvertently left behind – you snooze, you lose! That’s going for the unfortunate.
Again, this is GOD’s call for mercy to His people, just as the LORD remembered His people and saved them from bondage in Egypt! (DEUT 15:10; PSA 41:1; PROV 19:17)

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