|On-Line Bible Lessons|
This chapter contains three basic thoughts, one of which will fall under Moses' words, as found in Lev. 19:18, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." The other two principles estab&SHY;lished here will come more under "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God--"
The three divisions here would be vv. 1-4, the duty to one's neighbours, or an explanation of how to love our neighbour. V.8 and vv. 13-30 would also fit here. The rest of this chapter would fit under our responsibility before God or how to show our love for Him. Of course, this is not dogmatic but is a place to start.
Here we have a) duty to love our neighbour b) warning against violation of the natural or&SHY;der, and c) instructions concerning the home.
Verses 1-4 fall within the first division.
1. First of all, here we see an animal of our "brothers"
going astray. What is to be done, v. 1?
a. If we do not know who this animal belongs to, what is to
be done, v. 2?
b. This goes further. No matter what it is, if we find something,
what is to be done, v. 3?
c. Going farther still, if we see our brother in need, what
is required, v. 4?
d. This passage, vv. 1-4, deals with a "brother." Someone of the household of faith, but also in&SHY;cluded is who, Ex. 23:4? _________________________________________________________
Let us go one step further. Again, this must be kept within the confines of God's Word. There are further principles involved here. What if this person, persons, or even nation is against God and the godly and their goal is to "remove God" from society? Would Deut. 22:1-4 apply to them? Yes, because all this is doing is protecting that person's property. Unless godly warfare is involved, then this would require a protection of the enemies' property. Israel kept the property of the enemies of God which they obtained in godly warfare.
The principle established in this passage would be well worth considering for a few moments.
One of the things required here is kindness to animals. This shows respect for God's crea&SHY;tion. He created everything for a purpose and we should respect His purpose in creation. In doing so we show respect for the Creator. Notice, this would prohibit killing for the "sport" of it. God permitted killing to protect our property, I Sam. 17:34-36, and killing for food, Gen. 9:2-5. Of course, there was the killing for the sacrifice but that is no longer. This killing is now an abomination before God and always will be until the end of time, Heb. 10:1-14. Also, we have the killing for clothing as God clothed Adam and Eve, Gen. 3:21.
The major principle established here in Deut. 22:1-4 needs to be considered in some depth, especially in our day of "I don't want to get involved." This principle here demands involvement. This may be a reason we see lawsuits today against the bystanders who do get involved. This world system is at war against every law, action and attitude which reflects scriptural principles, including this one to be involved in good and right.
2. What is required in Lev. 5:1? _____________________________________________________
a. How about Ps. 50:18? ______________________________________________________________
b. Solomon talks about a person seeing another person being "drawn unto death" or facing a life endangering situation (drowning would be a good example). What is required by God as we see that person facing a life endangering situation, Prov. 24:11-12?
Notice he says, "God keeps score and our indifference will catch up." This is reflected many times in the NT, Rom. 2:6, etc.. Also, this is covered (as we saw) in Deut. 19:15-19 where the false witness had done to him what he sought to do to the one he witnessed against. God will be the one here in this situation to see that the silent witness will have done to him what he kept quiet about or refused to help in.
God clearly lays out a principle under the Eighth Commandment, "Thou shalt not steal." We are not to steal from our neighbour (or enemy) what belongs to him by neglect. God, Himself, will hold us responsible for doing what we can to protect our neighbor's property.
As we see these many things, we are reminded that Christianity is a "religion" of respon&SHY;sibility to God and to man, not irresponsibility. Freedom comes only as a result of men fulfilling their responsibility. When men don't, then someone will, and, in this case, the state does. They feel it is their responsibility to care for everyone because "Christians" care for none except themselves.
3. Keeping this responsibility in mind, look at Deut. 22:23-28. Here God takes this for granted. What the woman did as she was assaulted, vv. 24, 27? _____________________________________
a. Not only does He take this for granted about the woman,
but what else about the hearer?
We see this also reflected in the NT. Rom. 1:32, the margin says "--but consent with them" or they make no effort to stop the wicked.
Here would be the scriptural admonition to picket and protest evil of all kinds no matter where it is found. Whether it is the abortion clinic (murder, Ex. 21:22-23) or the dirty bookstore or shows which are designed to arouse the flesh. If we do not cry out against wickedness and lewdness and take our stand against it, then we consent to it.
THERE IS NO MIDDLE OF THE ROAD for God's people. Either we are against what God is against for the reason God is against it, and trying to stop it, or we are for it. SILENCE IS CONSENT in the light of God's Word. We cannot stand idly by and allow the person to be victimized and deprived of what is his. We cannot allow evil to continue on unchallenged. It must be challenged at every opportunity.
Let's keep in mind, protest is not the answer against wickedness and evil. The answer is being obedient to every word which proceeds out of the mouth of our God and part of that obedience will be protest. Of course, the basic answer is regeneration of the ungodly. We protest because God tells us to, whether it does any good or not. I must protest, but my motive for that protest must be wanting to glorify God as God in even this area I am protesting against. I must protest what God is against. The reason I must protest is because God is against it, and if I remain silent I consent and become part of that evil.
The principle of Deut. 22:1-4 is also reflected in I Tim. 5:22. This is a reference to the hasty ordination of a novice (immature Christian) in the faith. Again, the Lord points out that si&SHY;lence is not golden when it is used to avoid our responsibilities to speak up concerning the evil which others are doing. The silent or inactive bystander is a false witness; he is one who consents to the evil deeds of others; he is an accomplice, an accessory to the crime. He is liable to the penalty for the crime, II Jn. 11.
When a neighbors property is in danger it is the duty of every person to seek help to protect that property. This is reflected in the old English law, Hue and Cry. It is also the foundation of our current police powers of the citizens, the Citizens Arrest. The citizen may arrest someone who commits or attempts to commit a felony or a misdemeanor in his presence. Usually, however, it is best this power be exercised in aiding the police, or victim of the crime, as well as taking detailed notes of the crime (Institutes, pgs. 463-467).
We can also trace this principle as our Lord gave the parable of the Good Samaritan, Lk. 10:29-37. Sad to say, we will do all kinds of things, even in disobedience to God's Word, as long as we don't have to get involved.
Deut. 22:1-4 clearly prohibits sticking our head in the sand
("Thou mayest not hide thyself") and hoping it will
go away. To be silent, in God's eyes, is consent, and the silent
will get caught in the results. Solomon made this clear.