March 10, 2016

Deuteronomy 17-19
...If you find anyone within the towns that God, your God, is giving you doing what is wrong in God’s eyes, breaking his covenant by going off to worship other gods, bowing down to them—look at the evidence and investigate carefully. If you find that it is true, that, in fact, an abomination has been committed in Israel, then you are to take the man or woman who did this evil thing outside your city gates and stone the man or the woman...But only on the testimony of two or three witnesses may a person be put to death. No one may be put to death on the testimony of one witness. The witnesses must throw the first stones in the execution,.. 

When matters of justice come up that are too much for you—hard cases regarding homicides, legal disputes, fights—take them up to the central place of worship that God, your God, has designated. Bring them to the Levitical priests and the judge who is in office at the time. Consult them and they will hand down the decision for you... Anyone who presumes to override or twist the decision handed down by the priest or judge who was acting in the Presence of God, your God, is as good as dead—root him out, rid Israel of the evil. Everyone will take notice and be impressed. That will put an end to presumptuous behavior.

When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you and take it over and settle down, and then say, “I’m going to get me a king, a king like all the nations around me,” make sure you get yourself a king whom God, your God, chooses... And make sure he doesn’t build up a war machine,..  And make sure he doesn’t build up a harem,... And make sure he doesn’t pile up a lot of silver and gold.  .. This is what must be done: When he sits down on the throne of his kingdom, the first thing he must do is make himself a copy of this Revelation on a scroll,...That scroll is to remain at his side at all times; he is to study it every day so that he may learn what it means to fear his God, living in reverent obedience before these rules and regulations by following them. He must not become proud and arrogant, changing the commands at whim to suit himself or making up his own versions. If he reads and learns, he will have a long reign as king in Israel, he and his sons.

The Levitical priests—that’s the entire tribe of Levi—don’t get any land-inheritance with the rest of Israel. They get the Fire-Gift-Offerings of God—they will live on that inheritance. But they don’t get land-inheritance like the rest of their kinsmen. God is their inheritance...If a Levite moves from any town in Israel—and he is quite free to move wherever he desires—and comes to the place God designates for worship, he may serve there in the name of God along with all his brother Levites who are present and serving in the Presence of God. And he will get an equal share to eat, even though he has money from the sale of his parents’ possessions.

When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you, don’t take on the abominable ways of life of the nations there.. Be completely loyal to God, your God... God, your God, is going to raise up a prophet for you. God will raise him up from among your kinsmen, a prophet like me. Listen obediently to him. This is what you asked God, your God, for... 

And God said to me, “They’re right; they’ve spoken the truth. I’ll raise up for them a prophet like you from their kinsmen. I’ll tell him what to say and he will pass on to them everything I command him. And anyone who won’t listen to my words spoken by him, I will personally hold responsible. But any prophet who fakes it, who claims to speak in my name something I haven’t commanded him to say, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die.”

You may be wondering among yourselves, “How can we tell the difference, whether it was God who spoke or not?” Here’s how: If what the prophet spoke in God’s name doesn’t happen, then obviously God wasn’t behind it; the prophet made it up. Forget about him.

When God, your God, throws the nations out of the country that God, your God, is giving you and you settle down in their cities and houses, you are to set aside three easily accessible cities in the land that God, your God, is giving you as your very own. Divide your land into thirds, this land that God, your God, is giving you to possess, and build roads to the towns so that anyone who accidentally kills another can flee there...Therefore I command you: Set aside the three cities for yourselves...
 
If a hostile witness stands to accuse someone of a wrong, then both parties involved in the quarrel must stand in the Presence of God before the priests and judges who are in office at that time. The judges must conduct a careful investigation; if the witness turns out to be a false witness and has lied against his fellow Israelite, give him the same medicine he intended for the other party... People will hear of what you’ve done and be impressed; that will put a stop to this kind of evil among you. Don’t feel sorry for the person: It’s life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Romans 16
Be sure to welcome our friend Phoebe in the way of the Master, with all the generous hospitality we Christians are famous for...She is a key representative of the church at Conchrea.  Help her out in whatever she asks... She’s helped many a person, including me....hello to......

One final word of counsel, friends.  Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble.  Give those people a wide berth.  They have no intention of living  for our Master Christ.  They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.  ... I want you also to be smart, making sure every “good” thing is the real thing.  Don’t be gullible in regard to smooth-talking evil.  Stay alert like this, and before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt.  Enjoy the best of Jesus.

All of our praise rises to the One who is strong enough to make you strong, exactly as preached in Jesus Christ, precisely as revealed in the mystery kept secret for so long but now an open book through the prophetic Scriptures....All our praise is focused through Jesus on the incomparably wise God!  Yes!!