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Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 16

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Chapter 16

In chapter sixteen we now deal with the various feasts that they were to observe when they came into the land. We have rehearsed these as we went through earlier in the book of Exodus and all. You're to keep the feast of the Passover in the first month, the month of April, and no leaven bread and those things of the Passover. Then you may not keep the Passover in any of the cities of the land but the city that God appointed for his place of worship. In other words they had to come to Jerusalem. They couldn't just keep it in any of the cities they wanted to. Then they were to keep the feast of Pentecost, the seven weeks after Passover and then the next day, the fiftieth day, they were to keep the feast of Pentecost, the ingathering and then the feast of Tabernacles in the tenth month.

And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast ( Deuteronomy 16:11 ),

Again the commandment to rejoice and in verse fifteen, the very end

Therefore thou shalt surely rejoice ( Deuteronomy 16:15 ).

God doesn't want any long-faced griping service. God wants you to serve him with a rejoicing. God wants you give with a rejoicing. Paul said, "God loves a hilarious giver"( 2 Corinthians 9:7 ). Now, that is why your giving should never be by pressure, it should never be by constraint. Your giving to God should always be a freewill giving with a rejoicing heart. Whatever you give to God of time, service, whatever; you should always give it with a rejoicing heart. If you can't give it with a rejoicing heart then don't give it. It's better that you not give at all than to give and gripe about it. God can't stand griping. It really upsets Him and I can understand that. I've been around people who have offered things to me and I thought they were genuinely offering them to me so when I took them then I heard them griping. Well man I took it back just as quick as I could and said, "Hey, I don't need this. You keep it." I don't want anything given to me that people gripe about.

We were back in Toledo, Ohio my brother and I holding a meeting back there. And the pastor of the church had us over for dinner and you know, I'm a milk drinker I just really love to drink milk. And so he'd fill my glass and I'd drink it because I enjoy drinking milk. And after I had drunk the second glass, he said, "Looks like we're not gonna have any milk for our baby". Oh man, did I feel terrible. I didn't want to take milk out of his baby's mouth. And I really felt bad that I had drunk the milk and so I went out and bought a couple half gallons of milk and took it over to his house and said, "Here, give the milk to your baby". But I can't stand people griping over what they give.

Now if you don't want me to drink milk in your house, don't pour it in my glass because you pour it in my glass, I'm gonna drink it and if you offer me another glass I'm gonna take it and drink it. So if you can't do it with a free, liberal heart then please don't do it. It curdles in my stomach when they start griping about my drinking it.

But God is much the same way. He can't stand people griping over what they've given to Him. That's why he constantly emphasizes the free will, the free choice, as you determine in your own heart and give hilariously. God loves the hilarious, the cheerful giver. And that's the way God wants you to give to Him. And so rejoicing, rejoicing, rejoicing in the sacrifices, in the worship, in the giving to God. He wants you to be a happy people, a rejoicing people. Let's not disappoint Him.

Now, three times a year every male was to appear before the Lord in a place that God would appoint. So later on when Jerusalem became the city that God appointed, three times every year every adult Jewish male was required to come to Jerusalem for these three feast days: Passover, Pentecost and Feast of Tabernacles. They were required to be there in that assembly before God.

And don't appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he has given thee ( Deuteronomy 16:16-17 ).

Now, when you get into the land you're supposed to appoint judges in every city and in the gates of the city was to be the place of judgment. And you were to bring your matters before the judges who sat in the gates of the city and they would judge over the land.

And to those judges he commanded that they were not receive any bribes,

for it can blind the eyes of the wise and pervert the words of the righteous ( Deuteronomy 16:19 ).

Now God in the sixteenth chapter here closed the exhortations declaring,

Neither shalt thou set up any image; which the LORD thy God hates ( Deuteronomy 16:22 ).

God hates images. Now, I don't think God has changed. If he hated images then, he no doubt hates images now. And God declared, "You're not to set up any image; which I hate". An image is always a sign of a deteriorating spiritual life, for the image is intended to be a reminder. Whenever you need a reminder it indicates that you have lost something vital of that awareness and conscienceness of God, rather than having that awareness and conscienceness.

As Paul, "In Him we live, we move, we have our being and be aware of God's presence with me"( Acts 17:28 ). I've lost that awareness, that conscienceness so what do I do? I start carving out an image, so that every time I see the image I'll be reminded of God. So the image always speaks of a degraded or deteriorated spiritual state. It testifies to my loss of the conscienceness of the presence of God with me at all times and all places. God hates images. I think that it is tragic that in so many of the great churches and cathedrals they have images within them, inasmuch as God hates them. And I'll leave you with that.

Shall we stand.

May the Lord be with you and bless you and keep you. May He bring you into a fresh awareness of His presence and may you experience a fresh work of God within your lives. That you might walk before Him this week in the path of righteousness pleasing unto Him. May God help you in those areas of your life where you experienced failures in your past, and may you experience God's power and God's strength helping you to overcome. That you will not be overcome with evil but you will overcome evil with good through His spirit working you. May you come into a deeper relationship of love; love before God and love for each other. And especially, may God give you a heart of praise and rejoicing so that your life might be pleasing to Him as you rejoice in the Lord always. God bless and God keep you. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 16". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-16.html. 2014.
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