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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 12

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-32

Chapter 12

In chapter twelve he gives the conditions whereby they should enjoy the blessings within the land.

First of all they are to utterly destroy all of the places, where there the people that inhabited the land worshipped. They were to destroy all of the groves, all of the high places, all of the altars, all of the gods that they served. Everything was to be utterly obliterated so that they would not have any curiosity or memory of their gods at all.

Overthrow their altars, break their pillars, burn their groves with fire; cut down the graven images, and destroy the names of them out of the place. [Ye shall do] You shall not do so unto the LORD your God. But unto the place which the LORD God shall choose out of all the tribes to put his name, there shall his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come ( Deuteronomy 12:3-5 ):

Now God says when you come into the land then I'm gonna appoint a place for you to come to worship. And you are not to just worship me any place in the land. You are not to worship me on the hilltops and in the groves or so forth. Now of course, the Greeks always took the hills and they always worshipped God on the tops of the hills, the acropolises, the outcroppings and those high places within the cities was always where those Greek temples were built. And so it was a common custom in ancient religious systems to build altars on the top of mountains, places of worship or to plant groves and to worship in these groves.

But the worship of their gods was always a very licentious type of a worship based around the sexual reproduction abilities because the mystery of life and the creation of life in reproduction was something that was always an awe and a wonder and a mystery to them, which of course it is a very beautiful mystery. They were closer to than we are. They were closer to birth and closer to life in many ways than we are and to them it was an awe and it was a wonder.

And thus, they worshipped the reproduction principles and the capacities of reproduction and their worship of their gods often involved relationships and the design for reproduction and so forth. It was just a part of the whole corrupt system of worship in their corruption of God. Making God like a creature and like unto man, which thing actually is done by the Mormons, in a sense, their god is as a man coming to earth with one of his celestial wives and reproducing in a human manner, the first people and so forth. And even as the Mormons themselves will be gods and go out then and reproduce, so that there's a similarity there.

Now I will choose a place when you come into the land. You're not to just worship God anywhere.

And thither shall you bring your burnt offerings, tithes, and freewill offerings [and so forth]. You shall not do after all of the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. For ye are not as yet come to the rest to the inheritance, that the LORD your God gives you ( Deuteronomy 12:6 , Deuteronomy 12:8-9 ).

Now right now you worship God, every man just does what he should feel but you haven't yet come into the rest of the inheritance.

But when you go over Jordan, to dwell in the land which God is gonna give you to inherit, and he gives you rest, your enemies round about, and you're dwelling safely; Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; and thither you thither shall you bring all that I command you... : And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God ( Deuteronomy 12:10-12 ),

Now God wants you to rejoice before Him. I feel sorry for those churches where the people feel inhibited to worship or rejoice in the Lord. Where their worship is so solemn that there isn't real rejoicing in your heart. I love to just have that neat kind of hilarity that we can have in rejoicing in the Lord as we thank God and praise God for His goodness. And God wanted the people just to rejoice in Him. He wants you to rejoice in Him. But He was going to establish a place.

Now the place, first of all, was in Bethany but then later they moved it to Jerusalem. And this is the place that God chose and there the temple was finally built, the place that was chosen by God in the land where the people were to come and to worship God.

Now take heed that you don't offer burnt offerings to God in every place that you see ( Deuteronomy 12:13 ):

In other words, they weren't to be offered anywhere in all the land but there at the place that was appointed by God. Now, you may kill and eat meat wherever you live. You get hungry for meat, go ahead and eat it, have a feast. But most of the time they would offer what they ate to God as a peace offering. And having offered unto God as a peace offering, then they would get the lamb or the ox or whatever would be offered to God as the sacrifice, a peace offering, but in the peace offering you got it back. You offered it to God, they took and burnt the fat and so forth unto God as a sweet smelling savor and all the meat barbecue kind of smell going up and you, though, got to eat the meat. You'd sit down and eat with God, just have a great time and fellowshipping with God. God ate part of it. It was sacrificed and went up in the smoke and burnt offering to God and knows you're sitting down and the idea was eating with God, communing with God.

So most of the time you're gonna go ahead and have a lamb for dinner. Great. You take that lamb down to the priest, let him offer the sacrifice to God and then you go ahead and roast the thing and you're eating with God. And so, you have the conscienceness of fellowshipping with God whenever you ate meat. The idea that I'm eating with God, I'm fellowshipping with God, I'm communing with God in the eating processes. And it was a very beautiful thing.

Now, when they're gonna be in the land and they're gonna be scattered all over the land, they won't be able to bring the ox all the way down every time they want to eat meat. You can't go all the way to Jerusalem. So eat it in your cities. You can go ahead but don't offer it as a sacrifice to God. You're not to make a burnt offering of it, only when you come to Jerusalem was it to be offered in as a burnt offering. So when you come to Jerusalem, then you would go through offering it unto the Lord and then eating of it.

However, they were never to eat the blood; but they were to pour it out on the earth as water ( Deuteronomy 12:16 ).

And this was to be a perpetual thing with them, for the life of the flesh is in the blood and they were thus to thoroughly bleed all of the meat before they would eat it. And so, he tells them the kind of animals that they can eat within their gates, anything that their hearts desire of the clean animals.

But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God ( Deuteronomy 12:18 )

If you offer them as an offering, freewill offering, peace offering, then you've gotta eat it in the specified place that God has commanded.

Thou shalt rejoice before the LORD [again he tells you that] in all that you put your hands unto. And when the LORD thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he has promised, and you shall say, I will eat flesh, because my soul longs to eat flesh; you may eat flesh, wherever your soul desires after it ( Deuteronomy 12:18 , Deuteronomy 12:20 ).

Only again be sure you don't eat the blood, for the blood is the life and you may not eat the life of the flesh.

Now observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee... Take heed to thyself that you're not snared by following [after the gods of the land that you're going into to possess] ( Deuteronomy 12:28 , Deuteronomy 12:30 ).

What a trap, the worship of these gods became to the people.

The curiosity that you might say, How did these nations serve their gods? ( Deuteronomy 12:30 )

Now God says, "I don't want you to even be curious about it. Just utterly destroy it and don't wonder curiously "Well, how did they worship". You know, there is a strange curiosity that some people have concerning some of the religious systems. "Well, how did they worship?" and, and it's dangerous to inquire into spiritism, spiritualism and all to just find out what they do. It's a bad curiosity, it's a dangerous curiosity; it can become a snare to you.

Thou shalt not do unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination unto the LORD, which he hates, have they done ( Deuteronomy 12:31 );

They've done every abominable, hateful thing. Everything that God hates they've done unto their gods.

For they have even burned their sons and daughters in fire unto their gods ( Deuteronomy 12:31 ).

A human sacrifice, infant sacrifice was very common. Burning their children in the fire; heating their little gods until they were glowing hot and then putting their children in the outstretched arms of the little iron idols and letting them just fry to death as they worshipped their gods. God said, "Every abominable thing that I hate they've done in the worship of their gods. You're not to do it. You're not even to be curious."

Now, everything that I command you, observe it: thou shalt not add to it, or diminish from it ( Deuteronomy 12:32 )

Now over and over God warns us about adding to or taking away from that which he has commanded.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 12". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-12.html. 2014.
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