Moses seems to be wrapping up a few loose ends here and answering some unanswered questions. Like in past chapters, I’m just guessing that these are real-life situations that have come about in the Israelite camp, and Moses is offering the judgments in these paragraphs. It’s kind of like a Q&A session, if you’ve ever experienced one of those, only we’re not getting to see the Qs, just the As. So, we may not understand how these rules came about, but one thing we know for sure is that they came about because the Israelites were an imperfect people. They did “bad” stuff. They got divorced. They remarried. They had slaves. The contracted skin diseases. They had poor people, foreigners and orphans living among them. The wealthier loaned to the poor and let them glean off their crops (read the Book of Ruth for a gorgeous example of why this is so important). In other words, the Israelites were pretty much just like we are today. And God is CONSTANTLY amending and bending His own rules so that He can stay in relationship with them/us. He pursues us this way, by never relenting, always forgiving, forever changing … on our behalves. I meant to mention a couple verses from Chapter 23 that dealt with slavery. This chapter mentions slaves, too, so I’ll wiggle in my thoughts from yesterday here. In verses 15 and 16 of Chapter 23, Moses says that if slaves escape and take refuge with the Israelites, then the Israelites must not hand them back over to their masters. If you’ve ever read the little Book of Philemon in the New Testament, you’ll know that this book is about Paul doing the exact opposite. We don’t know why or what changed between this time in Deuteronomy and Paul’s time in the Book of Philemon, but we do know circumstances evolved, and life’s twists and turns happened. I see this happening today as well. I see the world going through a huge change and many individuals struggling to adapt. “But it’s always been this way!” If you’re one of those struggling with change, I hope these paragraphs can remind you that change is natural and many times for the better. I’m sure a few husbands protested about their ex-wives remarrying, but as you can see from the beginning of Chapter 24, things like that happened, and our men made it, as have our women and widows and even prostitutes. God made us to accept change, just as He has had to do. Next time you’re nervous, uptight or even angry about change, give it a try first before deciding you hate it, and try to remember that God has had to make a lot of changes for you.
Writing prompt: glean
I mentioned the Book of Ruth above because it tells a beautiful story that relates to the final verses of this chapter. Instead of writing today, read the Book of Ruth (it’s short) and contemplate its meaning in relation to Chapter 24. (Of course, you can write out your contemplations if you want!)