On-Line Bible Lessons

Deuteronomy - Chapter 17, Lesson 1


Pastor Ovid Need

In 16:18 Moses goes further into the original establishment of the judges from chp. 1. In chp. 1, Moses was the final appeal. Here Moses is preparing the people for when he is gone so he provides an appeal apart from himself.

Moses realizes that civil order--the condition for stability and prosperity-- rests upon the protection and promotion of right and justice by means of a well ordered and impartial judicial system, a judicial system bound by law, not by whim. Moses has already set up the judicial system which would provide all that was needed to settle the disputes of the people. He had provided them with judges at Sinai, and had given these judges the necessary instructions with Moses as the final authority under God. This would work fine as long as they were in one camp and had Moses for a leader who could lay it before God and give God's decision in the difficult cases. But the time is now close at hand when they will no longer have Moses as their mediator and they will go in and conquer Canaan. This will result in the nation being scattered. With this in mind, Moses now makes provision for the orderly civil administration of justice in their new home. First; he commands the appointment of judges and officials in every town, with certain precise in­structions; secondly, he appoints a higher judicial court for the more difficult cases; and thirdly; he gives them further instruction for their future choosing of a king.

As he gives these instructions for a proper civil order, he interrupts it with some practical applications, 16:21-17:7. As we have noticed, the Ten Commandments were divided up into two parts, man's relationship to his Lord God, I- IV, and V-X, man's relationship to his neighbor.

In these first four we are shown or told how we are to love the Lord God with all of our being. The second six are to show us how to love our neighbor as ourselves. Moses takes man's relationship to God and makes a practical application of this here in 16:21-17:7. He deals here with the following after false gods.

1. Along with the forbidding of service or reverence to these false gods is something else thrown in which the Lord God considers just as bad. What is it, 17:1 (Lev. 22:20-25)? ________________________________________________________________________ ___________

a. What is such action called by our Lord, 17:1b?_____________________________________

b. Now, this is a hard saying, and to us it seems preposterous, but the Lord our God places 17:1 right with 16:21, 22; 17:2 and 3. What is 17:1 made equal with, 17:3?

c. What does he identify 17:1 and 17:3 as, 17:2B? Or, what does he say those who do vv. 1 and 3 have done?

d. Let's follow this a little closer so we can apply this. Notice Lev. 22, what kind of offerings were covered under this, v. 21? V. 19 confirms this.
(1)____________________________________ (2)________________________________________

Let's direct our attention to the second one mentioned in v. 21. No one forced the person to make this offering of Deut. 17:1. Yet, it has a very strict requirement upon it. There are several applications of this offering of Lev. 22:17-25 and referred to in Deut. 17:1.

2. What was forbidden to be in this offering, Lev. 22:19-21? _________________________

a. This offering is referred to many times in the NT. It is probably one of the most commonly used there. One of the first applications of this sacrifice is found in Rom. 12:1-2. What is to be offered there? ________________________________________________________________________
In fact, notice there he says this is your "reasonable service". This requirement is not un­reasonable but is expected of EVERY child of God.

b. We are given some things in Phil. 2:14, 15 which will cause a blemish in this offering required in Rom. 12:1-2. What are they? _______________________________________________________

Included in this would be complaining about what God has given us or where He has us. In II Pet. 3:13, 14 we also have a call to present ourselves without spot, and blameless.

c. What will blemish this offering of II Pet. 3:14; II Pet. 2:10-14?

Here are folks within the church who are completely corrupt. I have heard a term of "The Consumer Oriented Church". Here we see the context speaks of the pulpit, not governed by God but by the congregation, II Pet. 2:3. The preaching is not to please God but to please the people. The result is a people who are totally blemished offerings, II Pet. 2:14, 15. This will cause the people and the church to be rejected by God.

Of course, this unblemished sacrifice represents the unblemished sacrifice of Christ, but it goes further than this. One of the purposes of the scripture is that we might be presented to Christ unblemished, of Whom we are members and in, II Cor. 11:2. It represents what our gifts and our services must be. We cannot offer ourselves or anything we do as a blemished gift to God. We cannot give the leftover of our lives or our time or our being to God. This is an insult to Him. Christians do things that are second rate, to say the least, and then they feel this automatically makes it good and blessed. We see here in Deut. 17:1 that this is an abomination unto the Lord our God. This clearly shows that whatever we might desire to give to Him of our time, talent or treasure must be the VERY BEST we can do or give, or it not only isn't accepted but has His curse against it. Paul is very plain that all of our service is to the Lord (Eph. 6:7; Col. 3:22-25). As we saw from Rom. 12:1-2, this is a reasonable service which is expected from His people. Doing just enough to get by for Him is not enough to get by. Only total dedication to the very best which His enabling grace permits is accepted by our God.

These unblemished offerings and sacrifices of Deut. 17:1 and Lev. 22:17-25 which were re­quired, and the blemished offering which was rejected, were to show God's people the necessity of total dedication and consecration to the Lord their God. There are two aspects of this offering. First; Prov. 15:8, "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord," showing us that no matter how unblemished the offering of the wicked man is, it is unacceptable to God. Secondly, no matter how good the person is, sincere or loves God, if his offering is poor, stingy and deficient then this offering is unacceptable to God, also.

Also, in this we see that worship of God is a total of our lives. It cannot be separated from our everyday life. To try to make worship of God separate from our job, family or everyday ac­tivity is to present this blemished offering to Him.

Notice Lev. 22:18. Aaron and his sons were responsible to see that the offering was proper. This shows us it is the responsibility of the "clergy" to see that the offering remains un­blemished, and this will require the teaching of the whole of God's Word. Because we do have a "Consumer Oriented Pulpit" today we see the failure to teach the whole counsel of God, Acts 20:27, leaving the people blemished in those ignored areas.

d. David identifies something else which will blemish this offering. What is it, II Sam. 24:24? ________________________________________________________________________ ____________

e. We find a very strong statement by God on this over in Malachi, Chp. 1:6-8; 12-14. What were His people doing here? ________________________________________________________________

Notice, we would not offend a human authority with a second rate gift or effort (such as the President), then what makes us think the King of kings would be pleased with a second rate gift or effort?

f. One more point here. What does Paul add that will blemish our offering, II Cor. 9:7? ________________________________________________________________________ ___________

Here, even that which is required by our God is to be given with the right attitude. (Much of the above taken from "The Law of Holiness and Grace #54". A lecture by R.J. Rushdoony. Christian tape productions. P.O. Box 1804, Murphys, CA, 95247).
Back to Deut. 17:1. As we see, this offering has a very strict requirement placed upon it. There could not be any blemish at all in it or evil-favoredness, such as "Well, I don't like it," or It's of no use to me."
Of course these offerings are fulfilled in Christ, Col. 2:14, yet, there is a principle here which will stand as long as the world stands. ANYTHING given to the Lord our God today must be first rate. God has never been or ever will be in the junk of even garage sale business. God is not in the second hand business. Now, an individual can be with no problems at all. The law of gleaning easily fits in here. God encourages the individual to take cast-offs or left-overs and turn that into finances for use in furthering the cause of Christ, or even to support themselves. But this law of Deut. 17:1 (Lev. 22) clearly prevents anyone giving to God anything which is blemished or ill-favored in their eyes. Our God deserves the very best. Many people today think to themselves, "Well, I am done with it so I'll take it down to the church;" "I got something better, so I'll give God the left-over;" or "I really am not pleased with this so I'll take it to the church, maybe they can use it." Deut. 17:1 forbids this kind of giving. If the Lord our God is not worthy of the best then there is something wrong with our attitude toward Him.

3. Let's follow Deut. 17 on a little further here. What was to be done with the person guilty of v. 1, 3, or 5?

As we pointed out, to us this is preposterous, yet over and over we are shown that our God places great importance on things which we hold unimportant and the things we think are impor­tant, He doesn't. One reason here would be the identification we make with our God when we give Him "second best." In doing this, do we, not only ourselves, but in the eyes of others, make HIM a second rate god? Is this another way of putting other gods before HIM? Will we not give the very best to the one we hold most important, whether it would be ourselves or others? How many of us would make it a practice of giving second hand gifts to those we esteem very highly?
There are men which we regard very highly. We would not even consider giving second-hand material to them, unless it was valued as antique or rare. (Books would fit in here for many whom I know). God requires that only things without blemish or evil-favor (in our eyes) can be given to Him and He equates a violation of this with having other gods before Him. Do we make this con­nection? Our attitude in giving to Him will show where we place Him either as the Lord God who deserves the very best, or a god among gods who gets our leftover time, talents and treasures. As we can easily see, this fits into every area of life. We know people by the score who make their service to the Lord God a spare time occurrence only as they can work Him in. They have other gods before Him in the use of their abilities and money. This goes right along with Col. 1:18 "--That in all things he might have the pre-eminence." Does He? What does our attitude in giving of Deut. 17:1 show about our attitude towards Him? To us, Deut. 17:1 is misplaced. To our God, He put it right where it should be in His eyes.
We cannot stress enough the importance of our time, as well as our talent and treasure. Where we invest these will reveal our attitude toward God. We show with these things that we regard Him as a god among gods and not the God of gods. Then we get upset when the world's crowd won't even recognize Him as a god among gods. We reap the attitude back which we sow, only worse.