READ: Deuteronomy 18-21
THINK: How much raw sewage would be acceptable in your drinking water? How much of a deadly virus would you feel comfortable exposing yourself to? Sin is more than an obvious impurity; it's like a deadly virus. It's effects are highly contagious, bringing destruction and death to individuals and societies. When God was in the process of reserving for himself a special people-a nation through whom He would eventually reveal His plan of spiritual salvation to all humanity-there was no room for compromise along the way. Even the slightest evil influence could have infiltrated Israel, run rampant through the community, and eventually derailed it's destiny. Until God established Israel and fulfilled His plan through Christ, His laws could not tolerate wickedness among His people. Thankfully, Jesus provided the remedy for sin at the cost of His own life. As a result, we can find forgiveness and, in turn, spread the life-giving message of hope and eternal life through faith in Jesus.
RESPOND: How were the ministry leaders to make a living (18:1-8)? How does this relate to the church today? Why were the Israelites to avoid imitating nations around them (18:9-13)? What does it mean to practice divination, sorcery or interpret omens, and why are these things detestable to God? (See 18:10 note.) How are God's people to find answers and truth? Who is the ultimate prophet, like Moses, whom God would raise up out of Israel (18:15-19)? (See 18:15 note.) In what way are people accountable for how they listen and respond to Jesus (18:19)? How did God's laws ensure justice for those accused and those victimized by crimes? Why didn't Israel have to fear enemies much stronger than them (20:1-4)? Why were the Israelites supposed to completely destroy the inhabitants of the land God promised to Israel (20:16-18)? Though Christians today must not take such vengeance, but instead leave judgment to God, how does the principle of spiritual separation from wicked people and practices still apply today?
PRAY: Give God thanks for His Word, your Source of guidance, answers and truth. Thank Jesus for making the way for you to have a personal relationship with God.
ACT: Examine your habits, interests, activities, mannerisms and conversations. Do you envy or imitate the behaviors of people who really don't follow Christ or live by the principles of God's Word? If so, ask God to forgive you for doing things that aren't part of His plans for you. Then make an immediate change to imitate Jesus rather than people.
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