Deuteronomy 17, Remember To Worship God
1. Worship God With Your Best (v1)
2. Worship God Exclusively (v2-5)
3. Worship God With Righteous Judgment (v6-13)
4. Worship God With Submitted Pursuits (v14-17)
5. Worship God With Devotion To His Word (v18-20)
Deuteronomy 17, Remember To Worship God
Deuteronomy 17, Remember To Worship God
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This evening, as we look at Deuteronomy chapter 17, I've titled The Message Remember to Worship God, remember to worship God, and as we look at this passage, I was reminded in preparing for this that worship is not just singing.
Of course, when we talk about our services, we talk about the time.
Of worship and we're referring to that time where we are singing together and singing worship songs or praise songs unto the Lord.
But of course, the biblical understanding of the concept of worship is more than just that limited time frame where we are singing songs, but worship is really about our life, our lifestyle, and the decisions that we make.
And as we see here at the beginning of the chapter.
Verse one as he's talking about sacrifices, really picking up from the the feast that were talked about in Chapter 16 and the.
Attitude and the mindset in the heart of worship that the children of Israel were to have.
It continues on now and flows into not just their religious life, not just their religious calendar, but also their community behavior.
It influences now the their personal decisions and the things that they do.
But also as a society what they do and how they respond to things that are going.
Gone, and so as we've been looking at the Book of Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy and and being reminded as it is the 2nd telling of the law.
Or really the reminders of the things that God has already revealed here this evening will be reminded to worship God to put him first, to honor him in our.
Personal behavior as well as to the extent that we have authority and are able in the community and society in which we live, and so we'll look at 5 reminders or five different aspects of worship that the Lord wants to remind us of this evening.
The first thing that we'll consider here is found in verse one.
And that is worship God with your best worship God with your best verse.
One again says you shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God.
A bull or sheep which has any blemish or defect for that is an abomination to the Lord your God.
Here is the Lord.
Is giving instruction and reminding the people of the instruction that he has already given.
He reminds them of the requirement.
Sacrifices that are brought to the Lord must meet a certain criteria.
They must have a certain amount of value, or they must meet the standard that God has set and the standard is that they are to not have any kind of blemish or defect.
Now a blemish.
And a defect you could kind of.
Think of it, perhaps as one is something that the animal was born with.
That would be the defect or a blemish would be something that the animal gained over time.
And so maybe there was an accident.
I ran into a fence and got pricked with the barbed wire or something and and so there is a defect or a blemish, either the result of the way that it was born or something that happened to it during its life.
Life, but those animals were not to be offered to the Lord, and God goes so far as to say to do so is an abomination to the Lord your God.
And so when you are offering sacrifices, he's telling his people again.
The sacrifices are commanded.
That and we went through them in the Book of Leviticus the the different offerings and sacrifices that could be offered to the Lord that they were all acts of worship.
And things that they would do out of obedience to God, but also things to do to express love and adoration unto the Lord.
But God says, when you come, and you want to express your love, you want to express your adoration, or you want to be obedient in this area.
Don't come with the.
Animals that are injured, the animals that have defects come with an animal that meets a high standard.
And so I worded it this way, worship God with your best that is to to bring the best of the flock to bring the best that you can.
Can bring the best that you could afford to bring and you could understand there would be the temptation like this animal is not going to make a lot of money in the marketplace.
If I sell it, it's not going to be very effective or useful for me in the field.
Working in the field.
If it you know is unable to to do so, or if it has less strength than some of the other animals and.
And so you could begin to think of.
You know how efficient it would be like?
This animal isn't going to be productive in this area anyways, and so I could take this defect.
M Animal or blemished animal and offer it to the Lord and and you know it just kind of a win win situation right?
I get to, you know, offer the Lord and and worship the Lord in this way and then.
Also, you know I get to use the the stronger animals or make a better profit off the other animals that will sell for a better price, you know.
And and you could understand the negotiation that might be happening within a person who would be thinking about offering a sacrifice to the Lord.
An animal that has a blemish or a defect, but God says don't do that.
When you come to me and you bring a sacrifice.
Make sure it's the highest quality.
Make sure it's the best that you can provide.
Make sure it's the best that you can bring unto me.
Make sure it meets the standard and to not meet the standard.
To be a lesser type of sacrifice.
God says that is an abomination to the Lord your God that's disgusting to God that you would seek to.
Bring this sacrifice or to worship him with something that is lesser or inferior.
Now, as much as God expressed this and it's recorded here as well as throughout Leviticus and throughout the Scriptures, this was something that the children of Israel ended up doing.
As clear as this is.
Later on, the children of Israel do offer these kinds of animals with blemishes and defects unto the Lord, and you can read about an example of that in the book of Malachi and and the charge that Malachi gives.
It's really the Lord giving this charge to the children of Israel through Malachi.
He says when you offer.
The blind as a sacrifice.
Is it not evil?
Now the people are saying, hey, how are you?
Why are you saying that we are doing what's evil?
Why are you saying that you know what we're doing is wrong?
How have we defiled your altar?
But God says you're expressing contempt unto me, saying the table of the Lord is contemptible, because what you bring to me is contemptible sacrifices.
You don't want it anymore, so you bring it to the Lord.
It's not worth much to you so well.
Might as well give it to God, and so there's this.
Attitude in this heart that had developed and God says this is evil.
If you would offer that to your governor and he wouldn't be pleased to you pleased with you if he wouldn't be happy with that gift, why would you bring that gift to me?
The Lord says, through the prophet Malachi.
And So what God is requiring here, what God is saying, and reminding us of this evening, is that what he wants from us is our best when we come to God in worship, when we seek to honor God and to worship God, we need to be mindful of this truth, that that God wants us to bring.
Our best now I do like to point out.
Your best is different than the best.
Your best is different than the best, right?
So I often use the example of worship and singing and playing guitar.
When I'm leaving worship, it's not the best.
When Lina leads worship, it's the best, right?
Not going to try to go and list everybody else.
OK, but everybody else lists does worship.
It's the best right?
When I do it, it's not the best, but.
Although I cannot, I'm not talented enough.
I'm not gifted enough to do the best guitar playing.
I I do try my best and I do try to give my best and I do make sure that you know I'm doing the best that I can.
The best that I can offer that I don't want to approach it in a way that is.
You know, neglecting the honor.
That is, do God the diligence, that is do unto the Lord?
Same thing I feel like when I come to teach the.
Word the messages are not always the best, right?
But I offer this unto the Lord, and I do my best to prepare and to bring forth what it is the Lord wants to speak to us.
And so, as we think about different aspects of our life as we think about worship.
You know you don't have to have the best voice, but you should sing that song the best that you can.
Whether you're up here, or whether you know we're participating as part of the congregation.
We we should do the best that we can, but not not do anything here.
Here's why I make this point sometimes it's like, well, I'm not the best so I won't do it at all.
And and that's not what God is saying.
God is saying bring the best of your flock.
But he's not saying you know if you don't have a perfect.
Lamb then never bring anything.
No, he's just saying don't offer me the leftovers of your flock offered to me the the best that you have.
And as we come to worship the Lord, whether it be in singing or other aspects of our life, as we'll see going forward.
That we need to make sure that we offer to him the best that we can.
You know, I think one of the things that we can think about in this regard for us here in Southern California, there's a certain pace that we have in Southern California, right?
It's a very fast pace and we all have busy schedules.
We ask anybody you know how you doing.
You know, I'm busy like that is the normal response for.
Us here in Southern California everybody is busy.
Everybody has packed schedules.
Everybody day is planned from, you know, wake up, time to go to bed time like we we are busy and I think for us in this context it's very easy for us then to fall into a trap of giving God.
Our leftover time.
And so this is a way to think about perhaps worshipping God with your best.
What time do you devote to God?
And is it the leftover time that you know gets squeezed down and down and down and down and down by all the different things and all the different events and all the different demands and notifications and things that you know?
Call for our attention.
It's easy for us to.
Blemished defected time leftover that that is what we give to God, and so perhaps that's a way to think about it.
For for you and maybe the Lord wants to minister to you about that.
Maybe there is a a different way that he wants you to approach your time where he's not just getting the leftover, but he's.
Getting your best he's getting, you know the best part of your day.
He's getting the best.
It's part of your week or of your month or of your year.
You know that he's getting a devotion in that way.
Sometimes I can be too concerned about being efficient and I I love to kill two birds with one stone or ten birds with one stone.
If I can do so, and I'm always optimizing things and rescheduling things, and that's of course.
Part of my personality and part of why I'm a developer and write code 'cause.
Optimizing, optimizing, optimizing fits right in with that right and yet at the same time, I need to be careful that I don't optimize God right out.
You know it's like, alright God.
Well I can worship you and pray and read my Bible and walk the dog.
And you know, talk on the phone to this person and and do all of these things at the same time and look how efficient I am when maybe what I need to do.
Is to offer to God some devoted time, some some time that is set apart for him, giving him the best, not the leftovers, not making him share with others.
You could think about this in our donations.
I was thinking about.
You know how what a great blessing it is that we were able to give.
You know such a great amount of clothing and such to the ministry there in Mexico, and that's great generosity on our part and and yet at the same time I would just throw out a little bit of a.
Word of caution that all generosity is not worshipped and sometimes you know instead of giving our leftovers in a generous way.
Maybe the Lord would have us give the best in a generous way and and to think not just in well.
You know, I've already used it and got all the value I want out of it, so I might as well give it to God that's.
It's not necessarily wrong to donate our leftovers.
You know, for those that it would be beneficial for.
But at the same time we need to understand is it worship, is it?
Is it being generous?
Is it worship?
What is it that we're trying to accomplish and when it comes to the area of worship when it comes to Lord I, I really want to honor you.
You've put something on my heart.
We need to evaluate and consider that God wants our best.
He wants us to give unto him in a way that honors him in a way that represents who he is and how great he is.
Well, that was a lot on verse one. We better keep moving verses 2 through 5. Now give us point #2 worship God exclusively versus 2 through 5 says this.
If there is found among you within any of your gates which the Lord your God gives you, a man or woman who has been wicked in the sight of the Lord your God in transgressing his car.
But who has gone and served other gods and worship them, either the sun or moon, or any of the host of heaven which I have not commanded, and it is told you, and you hear of it.
Then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination has been committed in Israel, then you shall bring.
Out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing and shall stoned to death, that man or woman with stones.
Here God goes on to explain that our worship of him must be exclusive.
Just as he doesn't want our leftovers in that way, he he doesn't want to just be left with.
You know whatever is leftover after we've got everything that we want.
He is also saying look, I need to be first and I need to be, you know, having the exclusive rights to your heart to your passion, to your devotion.
Now I would remind you that here in the Book of Deuteronomy, we're looking at God establishing a nation.
So we're not just talking about personal individual lives, but we're seeing God set up the parameters for them as a society as a nation.
And so when he says you in these verses, if it was, you know in Texas it be y'all, right?
It's the collective you you as a people, you as a nation.
You, as a community, not you as an individual you know, do all of these things because, well, as you can see here, someone who worships another God is.
Ultimately, to be put to death when and so God's. Not saying you know each and every person you know you are now responsible for that in the in. The idea that you have to go out and take action on that yourself.
That that's not really what God is saying.
What he is saying is you.
As a community, you need to be committed.
To an exclusive worship of God.
The whole community is involved in this and verse two and three.
We hear God is saying look as a community.
You're uncovering you're discovering this issue of idolatry that's happening within your midst and you need to report it.
You need to bring it up.
You need to deal with it as as a community you need to make sure it doesn't just get you know you kind of.
Put a blind eye towards it or that you just sweep it under a rug and pretend it's not happening.
He says if there's found among you within any of your gates, a man or a woman who has been.
Naked then then then, if this is found.
If this is uncovered.
If this is discovered then then it's to be brought forth.
It's to be brought up to the authorities and the judges get involved in verse four.
If this is told to you.
If you hear of this issue, then you shall inquire diligently and so there's to be a serious investigation into these kinds of matters for the community.
And then decision is to be made based on what that investigation uncovers.
If it's indeed true and certain so you know the idea of beyond a shadow of a doubt, right or beyond a reasonable doubt.
If it's true, if it's certain, if it, if it has been verified that this has happened well.
Then God gives the course to take.
But all of this is centered around this idea of idolatry.
Someone who has begun to worship another God.
Now you can kind of imagine they're in the Community of Israel.
Wrestling happening in your mind because you're like, well that's you know my neighbor and they're in their house and.
What business is it of mine if they are worshipping another God, like what business is it of mine?
If they're out there praying to someone else, like maybe I should just mind my own business and let them do their thing.
We come, of course, from a context here in the states of freedom of religion and we praise the Lord for God for that.
And we worship and we were appreciative as a result of that.
At the same time, God here is establishing his people, his nation.
It's appropriate to ask, does God believe in the freedom of religion in that context?
He says no, you don't have freedom of religion.
He says to the nation of Israel, you don't get the freedom to choose.
I get a.
I'm gonna worship this God.
I'm gonna worship that God I'm gonna worship this way or that way.
God says no, you're going to worship me and you as a community need to be committed to worshipping me exclusively.
To not allowing other gods to be part of the passion or devotion that your community is in.
Solved it, and so the whole community was to have this commitment to the degree that listen if anybody else is worshipping a false God.
If if that is revealed, if that is shown community, you need to bring it up.
You need to address it.
You need to deal with that situation.
Bring it to the proper authorities authorities.
You need to investigate and find out, don't just.
Leave it alone or hope it goes away, but no, no.
You need to go find out what the situation is.
Is and then if it's certain if it's true.
Then you are to deal with.
The people who are involved.
And again, the community is back involved here as you look at verse 5.
Then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stoned to death, that man or woman with stones.
This was a community activity, the carrying out of this sentence.
The penalty for idolatry in their community was death.
God established this because, well, he says in verse four it's an abomination to worship another God.
It's not just a slight infraction, not just a little thing, but to.
Worship another God to bow down before another God to be pursuing another God is an abomination, and so as a community, you're to take a stand here to say no.
This will not pass in our community, and so you are to take action.
Come to a decision, investigate the matter and then if it is true, you're to deal with it quite severely.
And we might have a hard time with this a little bit right.
There's of course much debate amongst Christians today in our nation over the death penalty in general, but of course you know we're talking about the death penalty for idolatry where?
We have freedom of religion here in our country and so we wouldn't even consider death penalty wouldn't even be in the same ballpark.
You know of the idolatry conversation of the, the worshipping of other gods conversation.
It's it's different for us in that regard in our nation, but for them, as a nation, they were to be devoted to God.
And idolatry was an abomination because, well, it involved not just you know, simple bowing down to some kind of statue, but there was gross immorality that went along with it.
Pastor Warren Wiersbe puts it this way.
It cannot be emphasized too much that the religion of the Canaanite nations was.
Unspeakably filthy and mingled blind superstition with gross immorality.
Human nature being what it is, the Jews would be attracted to gods that they could see, and ceremonies that appealed to their sensual appetites.
Idolatry would be very appealing to them because it's a lot easier.
In some regards to worship something that is visible to practice a religion that has, you know, those kind of practical physical things to interact with, but then also if it appeals to your sinful nature and and and you want to do it and you want to participate in it because of that, that lust that is within.
It would be, of course.
The great temptation and and idolatry always leads to this kind of thing to gross rebellion to gross immorality to the pursuits of ungodly less, and the destruction of ourselves and our society.
And I think that's not hard to look around at our society and see.
The idolatry and the destruction that has been bringing and the gross rebellion that is going on, and so as God is establishing this nation, he's saying you as a nation and all of your communities and within the nation.
You need to be devoted to and and worshipping God exclusively.
And of course, as we look at these things tonight, it speaks to us a little bit differently as we think about ourselves as a nation we don't have that same exact position and are not called to, you know, act out these verses exactly the same, but at the same time I would suggest that there is application for us and that we do have a realm.
Of authority, we do have our personal lives and in our personal lives God wants us to worship him exclusively.
You can think about Jesus in the midst of the temptation that he experienced in the book of Matthew Chapter 4.
One of the scriptures he quotes.
There in Matthew Chapter 4, verse 10, he says that to the to the enemy to seat and you shall worship the Lord your God and him only.
You shall serve as as Satan was offering some things that were appealing to him, desirable for him.
At the same time it was requiring of, you know, an act of worship unto Satan.
Then Jesus says.
No, there's an exclusive worship of God.
There is no other act of worship towards any other thing any other created thing, any other God that that is acceptable.
You shall worship the Lord your God.
No freedom of religion for us personally, as believers, no freedom to you know, kind of pursue this or pursue that or.
Have like a side God, you know you have a God on the side that you kind of worship in secret or worship in addition to the Lord says no, you want to worship me.
You want to walk with me, it's me exclusively.
You have no other gods apart from me.
I stumbled onto this quote from AW Tozer.
Today we must never rest until everything inside us worships God.
This speaks of that exclusivity that we completely and totally not only do we worship God only, but we worship God with all of us that we worship God completely with all that we are.
And so this is a reminder this evening here in versus 2 through 5 to worship God exclusively.
And if it there pops up areas of our life that are devotions to other gods and and things that are not of God, then.
Well, as God instructs the community to deal with it severely, the Lord would instruct us to handle that situation.
Don't turn a blind eye to those you know.
Kind of dark areas of your life, but but to bring them to the light and to deal with them.
And maybe that means cutting them out of your life, stoning them to death, right?
Maybe that means dealing with them.
And that kind of severity, and that is the appropriate thing to do so that we worship God exclusively.
Quick side note.
Also as we think about worshipping God exclusively, we can think about that for ourselves.
Personally we can think about our families right, but we can also think about our church and as a church we are a community and and the Lord gives instruction similar instruction for us as a church.
We see Paul.
Carried this out in First Corinthians Chapter 5, dealing with that issue of sin within the church at Corinth, and the people were proud of how tolerant they were of the sin issue, and Paul says you should have mourned over this and you should put that person outside of your fellow.
Worship because of this sin so that the sin issue can be dealt with.
And so as a community we are to take a stand and say no, we're going to worship God exclusively and we're not going to allow sin to be, you know, glorified or maintained within our fellowship.
And if anybody in our fellowship.
Is saying I'm going to live in sin but still keep coming to church.
We as a church are to take a stand as a community and say no.
We worship God exclusively.
And so we are to put out of them.
It's those who are determined to live in sin, but claim to be part of the body of Christ and and want to be in fellowship here that that we as a community are to worship God exclusively now, not in a legalistic way, and not in a stoning to death kind of way, right?
There is the the opportunity to welcome back.
And we see that carried out in Second Corinthians, where Paul says welcome him back now that that guy who is in sin now it's time to bring him back, bring him back into fellowship, show him love because there has been repentance and and the restoration.
There is the goal and that's why we take the stand and worship God exclusively as a community.
And so worship God exclusively.
A great reminder for us.
Remember the the stand that Joshua took?
Towards the end of his life in Joshua 2415, he addresses the nation. He says you guys choose for yourself, whom you will serve.
As a nation, as a society, God has called us to worship God exclusively.
But you have to make that individual choice.
If it seems evil to you to worship the Lord, then choose your God.
Who is it that you're going to pursue?
But Joshua says.
As for me in my house, the Community that I have authority over, right?
I have authority in this realm.
Joshua says we will serve the Lord.
That's our decision in our community.
We're going to worship God exclusively.
Well, moving on to verses 6 through 13 we get the 3rd reminder.
The third aspect of worship to consider this evening and that is to worship God with righteous judgment, worship God with righteous judgment, and this piggybacks on the the tail end of what we were talking about a moment ago.
If they find someone in idolatry.
Then there is to be the execution of that person.
Now he goes on now to give a little bit more clarification and address that subject a little bit further.
Here in these verses check out verse six and seven.
It says whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
He shall not be put to death on the testimony of 1 witness.
The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death.
And afterward, the hands of all the people, so you shall put away the evil from among you.
Here God is instructing his people.
Here's another way to worship God and that is to do what is right to execute righteous judgment.
In the case of idolatry, it was requiring the death penalty.
It was not the only sin, it was not the only crime that would result in the death penalty for them as a nation.
Again, this is God speaking to them, establishing their nation with their laws.
We are not necessarily taking these and trying to apply the.
These to our context and make these our laws at the same time we are seeing the heart of God and what God desires for his people.
And so for them he says, look there are cases where the death penalty is necessary, and so when that happens, God sets the parameters.
There needs to be two or three witnesses that that you need to make sure this is very clear that it is the truth that this crime or this sin has been committed.
So that someone is not executed.
Unjustly or as an innocent person, and falsely accused, but to make sure there's not just one witness, but at least two, preferably three, that that there is enough evidence to support this decision, but also to kind of give that decision even more weight.
Verse seven God says the hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death.
And so the method of execution was stoning, and so they would take a person outside the city gate, and then the people would take up stones in their hands and throw them at the person who is to be executed.
And so God says here, the person who is a witness in this case.
Needs to be the first.
To throw the stones you remember in John Chapter 8, when the adulterous woman is brought before Jesus and Jesus writes on the ground and people are perplexed and.
He stands up and he says, let the first one.
Let he who is without sin be the first to throw the stone, right?
Jesus is calling them to enact really this.
Instruction here in the law, but they were not willing to do so.
They were not willing 'cause they were not without sin, because they only brought the woman they didn't bring the man, they weren't actual eyewitnesses, or it was a false claim.
You know whatever the case was.
But but Jesus here is saying, look, you're not living according to.
The scriptures, but God's requirement was OK in cases that involved the deaths.
Since the witnesses who were involved in that the those who saw the act who saw the the the sin or the crime they were to be directly involved in the punishment.
Now there's a lot of things that we could think about with that, and of course, our minds kind of go reeling because that's so foreign to us, but.
Here's the picture that I would ask you to consider.
You like your neighbor.
You're friends with them have nice walks together, good conversations, good barbecues together and you know, had some fun times together.
Maybe your kids grew up together.
But now you.
See, you're a witness of your neighbor involved in some immorality, some idolatry, and now you have to.
Bring up the issue.
And deal with this in.
And be the one who testifies in the court case before the judge.
And then you.
Our first because you are a witness.
Now you're not the only one.
There's a couple of people with you who also saw and also our witnesses, but but you, this neighbor, this friend this.
Person that you know you have memories with.
You're involved in the sentencing and the executing of this judgment upon them.
Can can you?
Imagine the difficulty.
That that would bring how difficult.
How hard would that be?
And and I think that is.
Something really important for us to consider.
Again, I made the point tonight.
Worship God with righteous judgment.
The idea is look, this isn't what I want to do.
This isn't what I feel like doing.
I'm not happy about this.
This doesn't bring me any joy I I would rather do anything else.
I hate the very thought of it.
I never want to do it.
Try everything I can to get out of it.
But, but because I worship God because I want to put God first and honor God, I'm going to have to do the really incredibly difficult hard thing that I don't want to do.
And this was the responsibility.
For each member of the society, this was the responsibility of being a witness.
That you would have.
To put God first and honor God with righteous judgment.
To do what's right.
Even when it's really hard.
Pastor Warren Wiersbe says common citizens, priests, judges, and kings all had an obligation to submit to God's word and obey it.
The higher the position, the greater the responsibility.
The judges had this responsibility right, but even the common citizens.
There were those who were the 1st.
To put their hands to it.
That was the witnesses.
But all of the community would be involved.
It was a kind of a public.
Where again we as a society are saying we must do what's right.
It's not necessarily pleasant.
It's not necessarily desired desirable.
But we worship God.
And that means we do.
What is right even when it's hard?
We do what is necessary.
Even if it's difficult.
We obey God, even if it doesn't feel good.
Even if it hurts greatly, we do what God has instructed.
A negative or an inverse example of this is.
The priest Eli in first Samuel Chapter 2.
The Lord speaks to Eli because Eli had sons that were out of line that were behaving in gross ways.
He said, guys, why do you do that?
That's what he told his sons.
That was the extent of his discipline.
And God, God spoke to Eli and said, you honor.
Your sons more than me.
That's not worshipping God.
To not deal with sin, it's not worshipping God.
To not bring forth righteous judgment is to not worship God, but to worship.
God means that when those things take place, that that you address them that you do.
What is hard that you do?
What is necessary that you do what is right because you love God because you want to honor God because you're holding fast?
To what God has said, it's an act of worship.
To do what is right?
Even when it is very hard.
Well, the next couple verses describe for us kind of a higher court scenario, right?
So picture this is a local community.
It's a little town.
They have their judges or perhaps even just a single judge in their community.
They're dealing with issues like this, as well as many others, and sometimes.
Those issues are greater than they can handle in figuring out.
One of the things that you'll discover about sin if you are around long enough sin makes things messy, and sometimes it is very difficult to discern what is the right thing to do in this situation, because we've made it so complex because there's all these issues that have been brought about.
As a result.
Of sin, and So what do you do?
You're the judge of this small town.
It's over your head what do you do?
Well, God explains here in verse eight it says if a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge between degrees of guilt, for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another matters of controversy.
Within your gates, then you shall arise and go up to the police which the Lord your God chooses, and you shall come to the priests, the levite's and to the to the judge there in those days, and inquire of them.
They shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment.
Verse 10 you shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the Lord chooses, and you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you.
According to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you according to the judgment which they tell you, you shall do, you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left, from the sentence which they pronounce upon you.
So God establishes this in a sense, a higher court.
So we might think of like the Supreme Court for us.
But it's not like our court system where you know it's four appeals where you know the verdict comes in and you know the person who's involved in the case doesn't like the judgment that would.
Was put up on them so they appealed to a higher court.
That's not what this was for.
This was for you, local judge.
This is a big case and there's a lot of contention even you know within your own gates and it's a controversial matter.
And and you can't figure out what's the right punishment for this, or how do I determine?
You know if this person is guilty of this.
Or not, and there's difficulty in that well.
Judge of this small town you have help.
There is spiritual authorities over you that God has given for this very purpose and so you are to go to the police.
Which the Lord your God chooses.
Which later on we find out is Jerusalem. But here the idea is you go to the place where the Tabernacle is, where the high priest is, and so there's the high priest and the levite's and a judge there in the place that God chooses in the place where God dwells with his people. And so this group of the priests.
The Levite's and the judges there at the.
You could maybe think of it as the capital of the nation, right?
It was the the center of their religious life, but also the center of their nation.
That's where you go.
Little judge, you know, judge of a small town.
You go there to help understand, to help dissect the elements of the case, but also judge from this small.
Community, you need to understand when you go there, you're deferring your.
Deferring, I don't think is the right word, but you're giving them the authority to make the decision and now you need to be submitted to that decision and so you don't necessarily like the decision that they make the discernment that they have you.
You're not a fan of it.
Well, you handed it to them.
It's out of your authority now, and so you need to follow the instruction that.
Is given and so here.
God gave them this opportunity where they were close to.
Come close to the Lord there the priests, the Levite's, and the judge there in that place would be able to kind of oversee and help with the more difficult cases.
Verse 12 now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die.
So you shall put away the evil from Israel, and all the people shall hear and fear and no longer act presumptuously
So the judge is overwhelmed by this case.
You know, I think it's true.
This person is guilty, but I can't.
I can't make that decision, it's just too hard, and so I'm going to take it to the higher courts and let them decide.
But then they decide that I don't like that decision, and so I'm going to try to do something different.
God says no.
That judge then is going to be dealt with.
And be put to death that they're going to try to rebel against the the higher court in that way, and so no acting presumptuously.
That is, you know what's wrong, but you do it anyways.
God says that's not allowed.
So worship God with righteous judgment.
Now for you and I, of course, you're probably not a judge of a small town in the nation of Israel, right?
But you do have some realm of authority. You do have some influence in people's lives. You do have a voice in our nation, and so there is opportunity.
For us to honor God to worship God with righteous judgment.
And again, this isn't you know bringing about the death penalty ourselves personally, that's that's not what the Lord is instructing us to do through this.
But he is instructing us.
There are things in your life.
You're going to come across things, and maybe there's things you're facing right now that are really hard, really difficult, really challenging.
There's discipline issues, perhaps within your home.
Maybe there's challenging things within your workplace.
Maybe there's just personal challenging things in your own life.
It's really hard.
It's really painful.
But it's the right thing to do.
Worship God by doing what is right, even if it's hard.
Worship God by doing what is necessary, even if you don't want to, even if it hurts you like crazy.
Obey God even when it doesn't feel good.
That is an act of worship to say God.
I don't like this.
I don't want to do it, but I know you have said this is the right thing to do, and so I'm going to worship you and obey you in this aspect.
In this area of my life.
Moving on to verses 14 through 17 we get.
I forget what points I'm on point #4 worship God with.
Submitted pursuits this had submitted authority.
I thought I did a full search and replace, but apparently I did not alright.
Submitted authority will go with that one worship God with submitted authority.
Now he's going to address kings in the rest of the chapter, verses 14 through 20.
And so in this the king, who has authority over a nation. And yet the king is to be under God's authority, and so even though he has authority, he is to be submitted in his authority to the authority of God.
Verse 14 when you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you and possess it.
And dwell in it and say I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me.
You shall surely set a king over you, whom the Lord your God chooses one from among your brethren.
You shall set as king over you.
You may not set a foreigner over you who is not your brother, but he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt.
To multiply horses for the Lord has said.
To you you shall not return that way again.
Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turned away, for he shall our, nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
Here is now the descriptions of instruction for kings.
When you go in the land, you're going to look around you.
You're going to see the other nations have kings, and you're going to say you know what we need a king like those other nations.
Up to this point, Israel had no king for the next 400 years. Israel is not going to have a king. They have Moses leading them. Then they have Joshua leading them. Then we have the time of judges.
Where there was not a central king, there was just local leaders throughout the nation and different prophets and judges that God would raise up amongst the nation.
But there wasn't a central leader.
A king of the nation.
And so he says in verse 14 you're going to look around when you're in the land and you're going to see how the other nations operate, and you're going to say we want a king like the other nations around us.
Now, that's not necessarily a wrong thing.
There's a lot of discussion about this.
Whether or not you know God always wanted Israel to have a king, or whether he just put this in kind of to allow for their rebellion against him and request for a king.
I'm not going to try to answer that debate, but it is.
Appropriate to consider there's this.
Looking around them and wanting to kind of fit in with and behave as society around them and hear God as he leaves out these instructions illustrates that is OK to a point.
And I I think that's appropriate for us to consider.
We live again in Southern California.
There's, you know, certain things that are part of our society that are different than other parts of the world and than other parts of the nation.
And sometimes it can be a challenge of like, how much do we fit in?
How much do we go along with this and and what parts of these things are OK?
And so here God says, well, it is OK to appoint there's limits, you know, as the apostle Paul became all things to all people.
But he said, you know, not without law towards God, I was still submitted to God, but but I allowed myself to kind of adapt to the society that was around me.
The real issue here for us, as we think about these things, is that.
We live in a society.
The world governed by Satan, inspired by the forces of darkness, and so there's a temptation.
There's a tendency there's a real issue that we must guard against.
Being sucked into the deception.
The idea that what's normal for society well must mean that it's OK before God, or that it's OK for me.
And sometimes we can kind of judge and base our decisions on what is right and what is wrong on what is normal in society.
But the reality is we need to be submitted to God in the autonomy that we have in the freedoms that we have in the authority that we have.
So God says you look around, you see these other nations.
You want a king.
Here's the instructions.
You shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses.
OK, God says you can have a king, but you have to let me choose the king.
You don't get it, just choose whatever kind of king you want.
You let me choose the king for you.
And so God says, you want to take that course.
You want to kind of fit in with the world in that way.
OK, you can head that direction, but you gotta still give me ultimate control.
You gotta let me have the governing decisions.
Now as he goes on to address the king, OK, now God chosen the king.
Here's how the King should behave.
You know, just as I compared Christians to priests and levite's as we worked our way through the Book of Leviticus, I would compare Christians to kings and Queens.
In Revelation chapter one, verse five and six, it talks about us as believers having been washed in the blood of Christ and how he has made us kings and priests unto God and.
To God, the.
Father and so we as believers, can apply these things directly in a lot of ways.
Here, the king was not to multiply horses.
It tells us in verse 16 he was not to multiply wives in verse 17 and he was not to multiply wealth.
These are the kind of the main.
Three things that governed the behavior of the king.
They were not to multiply horses, not to multiply wives and not to multiply wealth, multiply, multiply, multiply.
Listed here three times.
Now, as we consider these things, you can look at horses, wives and wealth and think about what that represents and why a king would multiply any of these things and what that would mean for them.
And it speaks to us.
Then personally, there's there's some application there for us to.
Under, but the thing that I would point out is there's an issue of knowledge versus submission, because this is clearly laid out here, right verse 1617 very clear. Don't multiply horses. Don't multiply. Wives don't multiply wealth.
But then later on you have King Solomon, the wisest man in all the earth.
In First Kings Chapter 10 and 11 records, Solomon multiplied horses.
Solomon multiplied Wives and Solomon multiplied wealth.
Solomon became the wisest fool.
He who ever lived.
Although he knew so much.
Knowledge is different than submission.
And for you and I, I think what the Lord would want to remind us of is that we worship God not by knowing, but by submitting to what we know.
And you can pursue horses and think about you.
Know the pursuit of power, the the pursuit of might or strength.
You can pursue wives and the idea of you know pursuing pleasure or relationships or wives were just another way to get more power, and so it might be.
You know that kind of pursuit as well.
Greed as a pursuit.
That, well, this poll says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, right?
And so you can look at each of these three things and understand there's there's more than going on.
It's not saying you can't have, you know a corral.
I I don't know if that's the right word.
Corral in your backyard, yeah, and you can have horses like it's not for you personally, individually necessarily a a.
A limitation on how many horses you can have.
But it is a reminder that you need to watch out for and be submitted to God in the things that you pursue and the things that you're chasing after in the way that you're building your life and so worship your God with submitted pursuits and the thing I would encourage you to think about in that is what Paul says in First Corinthians, chapter 6.
All things are lawful for me.
But all things are not helpful.
All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power.
Of any and so here we have this reminder.
To be submitted to God, you have a lot of freedom.
You have a lot of autonomy.
You have perhaps even authority in the way that God is set up your life.
But learning from the apostle Paul using those things.
Not to put ourselves in submission to another God, to a pursuit and a passion that is not of God.
But using the freedom that God has given to submit ourselves to God to worship him and to make sure that we don't allow ourselves to be brought into *******
Of anything else, and we can pursue power and bind ourselves in the pursuit of power we can pursue pleasure and bind ourselves in the pursuit of pleasure.
You get the point. Well, the final point I'm just going to say I'm not going to teach because I took too long on the other one. So point #5 verses 18 through 20. Worship God with devo.
Listen to his word.
Really cool passage here.
I would encourage you to spend some time considering it.
The king was to physically write out the scripture, the commands of God.
Then read it every day for the rest of his life, and so there was to be this personal attachment to the word of God, and this daily reading of it.
This holding fast to it, that they were to be immersed.
In and very familiar with the Scriptures and so worship God with devotion to his word.
Clear and easy application for us be men and women of the word of God.
And so if you want to worship God, the reminder of to worship God that he's giving to us tonight is not just singing but your whole life.
Bring your best to him, give to him the best that you can worship him exclusively.
Worship him with righteous judgment, doing what's hard.
3rd, but still doing it because it's right because it's what he would want because you want to honor him, submit your authority, submit your pursuits to him that you would be allowing him to set the parameters and the boundaries for all that you do and immerse yourself in be devoted to be steadfast in.
Write down, read, meditate on consider and obey the scriptures.
A lot of different ways for us to worship.
Let's do that Lord.
We pray that you would help us.
To remember, Lord that we would be reminded and refreshed and renewed in these things, God that we would worship you with our lives.
Help us God give us strength.
Give us boldness.
But give us clarity.
But in the midst of the confusion that comes word from the conflict within the the battle between the flesh and the spirit, or with the confusion that comes from the society around us screaming.
Not us, but all of the things that the enemy desires for us to adopt.
The values that the enemy wants us to adopt.
It would help us to see clearly what you say, what you desire and to worship you by holding fast to it.
I pray this in Jesus name.