The Sacredness of Little Things, Part I
Dr. Joe Temple

Review

Open your Bibles, please, to Deuteronomy, chapter 23. We are going to begin our study with the paragraph which begins with verse 10, but before we do, we will have a word of review so that we can keep everything clear in our minds as to exactly what we are talking about so that you will remember the analysis that we have given you on the book of Deuteronomy up to this point.

You will remember that the book of Deuteronomy is made up of three discourses, one song, one blessing and an obituary. The first discourse is a discussion of past failures of Israel. You will remember they were camped outside the land of Canaan waiting to go in. Moses reviewed their failures and God's faithfulness in this first discourse. In the second discourse, in the midst of which we are at the moment, there was a repetition of God's law. The third discourse, at which we will be looking by and by, is a study in prophecy. It is a revelation of the future of the nation of Israel, not only from the standpoint of Moses' day, but from the standpoint of our day as well.

The song of Moses recorded in chapter 32 is a song which someday we will have the privilege of singing because we are taught in God's Word that we will sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.

Of course, there is a chapter, chapter 33, dealing with blessing—that is, the blessing of Moses upon the twelve tribes of Israel, which is somewhat of a prophecy.

Then in chapter 34, a very peculiar thing—an obituary. Moses is the only person in the Bible who wrote his own obituary. He told how he was going to die and what was going to happen. That is one of the reasons that some of the folk I was speaking about earlier who call themselves liberalists found it necessary to be liberalists. They cannot understand how a man could talk about the way he was going to die before he died and all that sort of thing. We can, because we believe in the inspiration of the Word of God.

Moses' second discourse, which we are studying at the moment, is composed of three parts. Chapters 5-11 deal with the moral law—that is, the Ten Commandments . We studied that. Chapter 12 through chapter 16, verse 17, deals with the ceremonial law. These are rules and regulations which were related to the religion of Judea, things which have no particular bearing on us other than illustrations of spiritual truths. The third part of this second discourse is the judicial law or the civil law, and this began with chapter 16, verse 18, and goes through chapter 26. We are at the present time discussing this judicial or civil law.

Keep in mind what we have already suggested to you, that practically all the laws of the western nations, so-called, are based upon the laws related to this section of the book of Deuteronomy, the judicial law as given to Moses.

God's Concern for Little Things

This judicial law we have discussed so far has been related to the sanctity of human life—that is, in relation to murder, etc. Human life is sacred in the sight of God. We are going to discuss this judicial law as it is related to the sacredness of little things, or the sacredness of common things. This is a tremendous truth that we need to lay hold of because in this day in which we are living, big things are important; little things are not important. So I have given another name to this particular section at which we are looking. I have called it God's Concern for Little Things. The reason that I have called it this is that I want us to get the spiritual lessons that God has for us in this particular portion of the Word.

If you have done what I suggested and read on in the book of Deuteronomy, you realize that some portions in the book of Deuteronomy do not lend themselves very well to public reading in a mixed audience.

I make a statement like that and immediately liberalists jump to their feet and say, “The Bible is an immoral book. This is proof of it.” No, it isn't proof of it. It simply proves the fact that you discuss some things at the dinner table and you discuss other things in the bedroom. It is a matter of what is proper for discussion. So we will not be reading every particular verse in this portion of the Word, and since we will not be reading it, I wanted this to be outlined in a way that you might be able to fix some of these things in your mind.

God's Rule for Captive Women in War

When we speak of God's concern for little things, I would like for you to notice the paragraph in Deuteronomy, chapter 21, which begins with verse 10, and notice God's rule for captive women in the midst of war.

Deuteronomy 21:

10When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
11And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
13And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
14And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.

Let me say at the outset that the Bible recognizes people and situations and times as they are. It does not mean the Bible endorses the people or the situations or the times. You should not read into this paragraph an endorsement of the practice of taking women captive in times of war. This was something that was done in that period of the world's history. It was accepted. Nobody frowned upon it.

The marvelous thing that we need to keep in mind is that God instructed His people that in the midst of such practices, they should recognize human rights. They should recognize that women are not mere chattel to be bought and to be sold, to be used and misused. In fact, God's concern for the little things of life is indicated in a provision He insisted upon if any Jew were to take a woman captive in time of war. If you will notice verse 13, she was to be given a full month to bewail her father and her mother. This is God's way of recognizing that it would be difficult for a young girl to leave her parents and go into a perfectly strange country and enter into a wife relationship. She had time to take leave of her parents and get situated in the new life. References to the shaving of the head and the paring of her nails were typical of oriental demands made upon captives.

Once again, may I emphasize to you that in spite of what you are told about the obligation of Christians to save the world, the Bible never speaks of changing it. It takes people as it finds them. It changes them inwardly, and as they are changed inwardly, the outer changes are made, but the Bible never anywhere attempts to revamp or to convert or to change society. You might keep that in mind the next time somebody tries to make you feel guilty because you are not on a soapbox some place orating over some particular social matter.

Another thing that He said about this woman was in verse 14. He said, “If you become dissatisfied with her, if you think she is not as good looking as you thought she was and you don't want her around, then you set her free. You let her go back home. Don't you sell her. Don't you make merchandise of her.”

Some folk read the Bible and say, “What kind of a God would put His stamp of approval on this sort of thing?” I read the Bible and say, “What a wonderful God. He is able to create the world and set planets in orbit and yet would take time to think about a misused young girl in the hands of a captive nation and make some provision for her. You see, this is a matter of interpreting the Bible. It is a matter of reading the Bible in the light of what you know God to be.

The Rejected Child

In connection with God's concern for little things, the next subject under discussion is the subject of children, the rejected child and a rebellious child. The rejected child is described in verses 15-17. Perhaps I should say, God's provision for the possibility of the rejection of a child. This injustice is a result of polygamy, which God did not honor. God did not order it; He simply let it exist through the hardness of the hearts of men. Because of the sin of polygamy, it was possible for a man to be married to a woman whom he loved and to a woman whom he couldn't stand. It might be that the woman whom he hated gave birth to his first child. That child would automatically have the rights of the firstborn, but the children of the second wife who was beloved would tend to demand and get the attention of the father because the beloved wife would see to it. There would be a tendency on the part of the father to reject the first child. Instead of giving him his rightful possession of the firstborn, he would pass it on to the second born.

Jacob had this problem in his household with Leah and Rebecca. The father of Samuel had this problem in his household because he loved the mother of Samuel more than he loved his other wives. When giving a gift, he always gave her a better one than he gave the others. Wouldn't you women have hated to live in a household like that? There would have been a lot of hair-pulling and arguing and scratching of eyes or whatever else was done.

It would be interesting to comment, in the interest of the accuracy of the Word of God, that this practice of polygamy had ceased among the Jews by the time the book of Proverbs was written. The book of Proverbs recognizes only the marriage of one man to one woman. I would like to emphasize that most problems come because we passed from God's divine order, which was single marriages, to man's sinful desire—polygamous marriages—and trouble is the result. A lesson that I would like for you to get, in God's concern for little things, is that God is concerned for a rejected child. If God had not laid down this law, all manner of injustices would have been perpetrated, but in God's concern for little things, God saw to it that the rejected child got exactly what he deserved.

The Rebellious Child

There is a word here about rebellious children. I think that we will read that. In verse 18, we read:

Deuteronomy 21:

18If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

I would like for you to recognize a distinction. This is not something that God simply permitted to exist because it was a part of society with which He was dealing. This is something that God ordered. Somebody said, “My, what a cruel God to order a thing like this.” This, God believed to be justice. Father and mother—did you notice that? It was not the part of the father nor the part of the mother, but the part of the father and the mother together. Discipline of children should be a combined parental thing. If the father and the mother reason with the child and he continues to be stubborn and rebellious, he grows up and becomes a glutton and a drunkard, if he refused to have any of it, he said, “You old fogies just go on back home. I am going to do what I want to do.”, then they took him to the elders of the city. Mind you, the parents did not have the right of life or death over their child. This was something that was different from heathenism. In the heathen countries round about Judah, the mother and the father had the right of death over their children and nobody could do anything about it. If they decided they wanted to kill them for disobedience, they could. But God said, “No. You Jews are not going to do that. You are going to do it in the way that I say do it, and I say that if this child is rebellious, if he is a glutton, if he is a drunkard, if he refuses to listen, then mother and father take him out to the elders of the city and say to the elders of the city, ‘This child is rebellious. We can do nothing with him'.” The elders, after examining all the evidence, will decide this young man [This is not a small child we are talking about.] will be stoned to death.”

Sounds terrible, doesn't it? You probably are saying, “What father or what mother could do a thing like that?” Probably no father or mother could. There is no record that this was ever done, and I am not thinking only of the Word of God now. I am thinking in all the history of Judaism recorded, there is no record that any father or mother ever took their boy out and said to the elders of the city, “We can't do anything with him. Execute him.”

I wonder why. I suspect one big reason is that most of the mothers and the fathers of that generation were like the mothers and fathers of this generation. Their hearts are too tender to do a thing like this. Or it could be that the very fact that this statute was in the law books of the land served as a deterrent to rebellion. It reminded children that if their parents couldn't do something with them, somebody else could. I wonder if in the generation in which we are living, if the laws of the land were upheld concerning delinquency, that children might find it a bit easier to be obedient to their parents than they find it in this particular day in which we live.

Another thing that we are going to notice is God's concern for His creatures. When I use the word creatures, I am making a difference between humans and creatures of the animal kingdom or the fowls of the air. Yes, God is concerned about dumb animals. Did you ever stop to think about that? He is. How many times have you been cruel to a dumb animal? How many times have you thoughtlessly treated cruelly a dumb animal and not even been concerned about it? Well, I want to say to you that if you have been guilty of mistreating a dumb animal, you are not acting in a God-like fashion.

What would you do if a lost dog came to your house? Would you run it off, or would you take it in and try to find its owner? Would you call the dog pound and have them come and pick it up? What would you do? The reason I am using dogs is because in this day and time unless you live out in the country you probably wouldn't have an occasion to have anything to do with cows or horses or pigs. We do. We have had horses in our yards. We have had pigs in our yard. We have had chickens in our yard. They have a way of wandering in from the neighbors. What do you do when something like this happens? This is the kind of God we have. He said, if you look at chapter 22:

Deuteronomy 22:

1Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
2And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
3In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.

What's the picture? Here is a lost ox or a lost sheep. You see him wandering around in your front yard and the children want to go out and pet it. You say, “Stay in the house until it goes away. We don't want it around here all the time,” and you hide yourself from it. God says that's not the thing to do. When you see this ox or this sheep or dog wandering around in your yard, you go tie him up unless you know to whom he belongs. Then you get on the phone and call the owner up and tell him that his dog is there and that you have tied him up so that the traffic on the highway won't kill him. But if you don't know to whom he belongs, tie him up and wait. Advertise. Find out to whom he belongs.

Why is God interested? Because God is interested in little things. He is interested not only in the property rights of the individual concerned, but He is interested in those animals themselves. He created them, and I say, on what I believe to be the authority of the Word of God, I do not see how any Christian who believes the Bible can be deliberately cruel to any dumb animal. There is something wrong with his understanding of the love of God if he is.

Glance over at verse 10:

Deuteronomy 22:

10Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

These things may be difficult for us to grasp because we don't do this sort of thing, but here we are told that you shouldn't plow with an ox and an ass together. Why should God even care about that? At the risk of being repetitious, let me say again it is because He is interested in little things. What is wrong with plowing with an ox and an ass together? Have you ever tried that? I haven't either, but those who know say that there are two things wrong with it. One is the pace of an ox is a long pace. The pace of an ass is a short pace. Think how uncomfortable it would be for that donkey to try to keep up with that ox when they were both yoked together. Suppose if you were tied in a yoke fashion to a great big, tall fellow who had long legs and you had little short legs. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it would be?

They had halitosis back in Bible days, and this is another reason it has been suggested that God had this in mind. The breath of the ass was terrible. He had an awful, obnoxious breath, and it was particularly obnoxious to oxen. Oxen just wouldn't get around donkeys. Imagine what it would mean to yoke them together so that the oxen would have to smell the breath of that ass. Cruel, unusual, unfair. Here is the thing I want you to get. Our God, wonderful God that He is, was interested enough in little things to lay down a regulation like this. I see no other reason for it. If you want to believe that God didn't write the Word of God, then you don't see any point in even talking about these things; but if you believe that God wrote the Word, there is a reason for His making these decisions, and the reason, I feel, is God's concern for little things.

Look at the paragraph which begins with verse 6, and notice:

Deuteronomy 22:

6If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam [the mother] sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:
7But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.

Can you imagine God's saying, “If you do what you ought to do as far as a little bird is concerned, you live longer.” Well, that is what He said. I am not going to argue about whether this is a guarantee that you would live longer physically if you obey this, but I am going to say to you that God was interested enough in a mother bird sitting on a nest of eggs or a mother bird hovering over her little young that God said, “I don't want you to do anything to harm them. If a mother bird is sitting on her nest in a tree, don't you cut down that tree. You let those eggs be hatched. If the young are already hatched, you take the young ones and let the mother bird go free and you take care of them. Don't stomp them in the ground and say that they are in the way.”

Did you notice what He said here? The same thing He said about honoring parents: “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be prolonged and that it may be well with thee.” The same thing He said about fathers and mothers, He said about taking care of little birds. What is my point in emphasizing this? Again, at the risk of repetition, God is concerned about little things.

God Cares What You Wear

The next thing we find in this particular section is a word about clothing. Somebody said, “God couldn't care less what I wear.” Couldn't He? Well, He did in one day. “Well, this is the Old Testament. We are not under law. We're under grace.” We are still under principle. Sometimes I have to remind folk that every one of the Ten Commandments is repeated in the New Testament as a work of the Spirit of God in the believer's heart with the exception of the commandment concerning the Sabbath day. That is the only commandment that isn't repeated. Every other one is repeated as being the characteristic of a Spirit-filled believer because they are principles by which we live.

Because we want to excuse our actions or do what we please, we may be prone to say, “We are not under law. We are under grace.” Well, we are under God. Just keep that in mind. So look at verse 5, and see what God has to say about clothing

Deuteronomy 22:

5The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

Friend, there it is in God's Word. You take the liberty, if you want to, of scratching it out of God's Word and saying “Well, that is part of the Old Testament and it is not applicable to us today.” Beloved, the distinction of the sexes is a principle and it is applicable to us today as much as it was to people of that day.

Usually when we come to a verse like this, somebody will say, “Do you think that it is wrong for girls to wear slacks?” Well now, we are talking about clothing and the Bible says that the woman shall not wear a man's clothing and a man shall not put on a woman's garment. I don't know of a man in his right mind who would be caught dead in a pair of women's slacks. There are times it is more modest for women to wear slacks than it is to wear dresses. We are talking about principles. This is a matter of modesty, but I will say to you, whether this is the age of grace and the portion of the Word we are talking about is found in the age of the law, that God would disapprove of present day styles, say what you want to, where things have changed so—hairstyles and clothes—that you can't tell a woman from a man or a boy from a girl.

You heard about the fellow who whistled at what he thought was a pretty girl going down the street and got his two front teeth knocked out. He couldn't tell the difference the way the man was dressed. That is what I am talking about. God has a principle and the principle is that the distinction of the sexes must be maintained because God has ordained, according to I Corinthians, chapter 11, that God is the head of Christ. Christ is the head of man, and the man is the head of the woman. Anything that is done to change that in any fashion whatsoever cannot pleasing to the Lord.

Notice verse 11, where we read:

Deuteronomy 22:

11Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

That is, you shouldn't wear a dress that is made out of wool and linen or wear a suit that is made out of wool and linen. That this certainly has its spiritual significance if you interpret it in light of other passages of Scripture, as does the other verse that deals with clothing down in verse 12:

Deuteronomy 22:

12Thou shalt make thee fringes [tassels] upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.

When you have time, read what is recorded in the book of Numbers, chapter 15, verses 38-40, and you will remember that we read that God said that the Israelites should make them this kind of garment, sort of a four-cornered robe like a blanket with a tassel in each corner. In the tassel, there was a ribbon of blue. God said that they should make this kind of garment to remind them every time that they looked at the tassels to read their Bibles. It had a religious significance. God was interested enough in His people to even talk about the kind of clothes that they wear.

I would suggest to you that there is a lesson to be learned from these three passages of Scripture. There is a reminder here that as far as clothing is concerned women are to be subject to their husbands and men are not to abdicate the position of the headship that God gave them. There is a reminder of separation—not being unequally yoked together. There is a reminder to give the Word of God its proper place in our individual lives

Build a Banister

Something else we draw to your attention. It is brought to my mind by what we find in verse 8:

Deuteronomy 22:

8When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

Of course, we are talking about the kind of houses that were used in the area where this portion of the Word of God was written. The houses of that day were flat-topped houses and much that went on in our patios would go on the roof of those houses. God said, “When you build your house, don't forget to build a railing around the roof because if somebody falls off and gets killed, it is going to be your fault.” A lot of you may have insurance policies to protect people from what happens to them when they come to visit. You go to visit somebody and you trip and fall and break something. If you wanted to, you could sue the person in whose house you were because they should have provided better protection than that. Really that has a place in the Scripture. God said, “Build a banister around the house.”

Are you getting the picture—God's interest in little things? Can you imagine God, Who restored the earth to order in six days as the Bible describes it, being interested enough in the welfare of individuals to tell these people that when they build a house they should not forget to build the railing around the roof. If that says anything at all to me, it says that God is vitally interested in little things.

Remember to Live Separated Lives

He was even interested in the way they planted their gardens. I have used the word cultivation for the sake of alliteration to help you think. For example in chapter 22, verse 9, He said:

Deuteronomy 22:

9Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.

You don't sow your garden with mixed kind of seed. Why would God say this to the Israelites? For the same reason that He told them not to make clay out of mixed material. He wanted them to remember forever that they were separated people, that they were different from all the peoples of the world and should live separated lives.

A Matter of Chastity

The last thing that we bring to your attention, as far as proof of the fact that God was interested in little things, is what we refer to as A Matter of Chastity . It begins with verse 13 and it goes all the way over to verse 30. We are not going to read this, but it describes a number of things related to the chastity of women. For example, it tells how if a husband marries a lovely young girl, then gets tired of living with her, he spreads the story around that she wasn't a virgin when he married her. That sort of thing is done. God knew it would be done. You see, another thing you learn from all of this is the depth of depravity of which man is capable. God has never yet offered a prohibition if there wasn't a possibility of the sin's being committed. God said that if a man said that about a sweet, young girl whom he has married and the parents can prove that she was a virgin when the man married her, then the man shall be properly chastised.

Chastity—virginity—is sacred to God, and I wonder, in these days of loose living, when the world is putting so much emphasis on pre-marital relationships, if it wouldn't be good for us to re- emphasize what the Word of God says about the sacredness of virginity, the sacredness of chastity. This thing is so sacred to God that He said that death is due the man who commits adultery and robs another man of his wife. In this same passage of Scripture, God makes a difference between adultery and rape. If a man attacks a woman in the city and she could cry out and doesn't cry out, it isn't rape. It is adultery. If he attacks her in the field where if she cried out nobody could hear her, it is rape. No matter who says what about it, God makes a difference. You see, and I say this reverently, God, Holy God, is vitally interested even in our sex lives. God is interested in little things.

Salvation, Separation and Security

Before I am through, I would like to make an application or two from a spiritual standpoint, not making the effort necessarily to have you remember all of the details we have been talking about from a literal standpoint because, as I have pointed out to you, you probably will never the opportunity of plowing with an ox and an ass yoked together, so there isn't much point in your just learning that fact. You need something else to make it worth your while. You need spiritual truth. So I want to share with you three spiritual lessons that may be drawn from this particular portion of the Word. We will not dwell too long on these three spiritual lessons. One of them is related to salvation. Another is related to separation, and the other is related to security.

That which is related to salvation is related to a curse and the curse is described in the latter part of chapter 21, beginning with verse 22:

Deuteronomy 21:

22And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

This passage of Scripture actually was talking about a custom that they had in that day of a man's being executed for a crime and then after his execution, being hung upon a tree. “Let him hang there all day, but don't let him hang there all night. The ground will be accursed.” We have suggested to you any number of times that the way to learn Scripture is to compare Scripture with Scripture. When we do that, we ask you to turn to the book of Galatians, chapter 3, verse 13. You might as well get used to this little symbol here in the middle, “cf,” which means “to compare”. So what we are doing is comparing Deuteronomy, chapter 21, verses 22-23, with Galatians, chapter 3, verse 13. Turn there in your Bibles and notice what the Apostle Paul had to say to the Galatian believers about this passage of Scripture, and you will find out exactly what it means because the best commentary on the Word of God is the Word of God. We read:

Galatians 3:

13Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

This is a quotation from Deuteronomy, chapter 21. Turn back there, please, as I remind you that when you read your Bible, read it for the spiritual lessons that you find within it, and be reminded that your salvation and mine was due to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ bore the curse that was rightfully ours. We deserve the penalty for a broken law, but the Lord Jesus Christ bore that penalty for us.

You notice the word compassion. It is still related to the subject of salvation, and we might remind you that just as certainly as our salvation is due to the curse being borne by Christ, our salvation is due as well to the compassion shown by God. We suggest you compare the story of the stubborn son in chapter 21, verses 18-21, with what you find in Luke, chapter 15. We are not going to turn there. You find in Luke, chapter 15, the story of the prodigal son, and you realize the difference. Here in Deuteronomy, chapter 21, a rebellious son meets the stroke of judgment, but in Luke, chapter 15, the truly repentant son meets the blessing of love. Did you notice the difference? Here in Deuteronomy, chapter 21, if your son is rebellious, take him out and see to it that he is stoned to death. That is what ought to have happened to every one of us because we are all rebellious children. We have gone astray from the womb, speaking lies as soon as we are born. If we had our just desserts, we would die. But what do we do? Instead of receiving condemnation, we received compassion. The prodigal said, “I will arise and go to my father.” He arose and went and his father saw him a great way off, and what does the Scripture say? He turned around and went back in the house and said, “That rascal cometh home again. I thought I was shed of him forever.” Is that what happened? No. The father saw him coming a great way off and the father ran to meet him, threw his arms around him, called the servants to kill the fatted calf and bring the best robe and rings for his fingers and shoes for his feet and said, “Let's rejoice. My son that has been away has come home.”

That is compassion, Beloved, and that is the difference in our salvation and the salvation of men of heathen lands. Men of heathen religions have to bear the curse. There is nothing else for them to do, but we who know the Lord have been excused from the curse and have become the recipients of the compassion of God. So there is a spiritual lesson and a beautiful one that you ought to develop in your meditation in this portion of the Word concerning your salvation.

There is a word about separation, as you compare what you read in Deuteronomy, chapter 22, verses 9-11, with what you read in II Corinthians, chapter 6, verses 14 through chapter 7, verse 1. You read in Deuteronomy, chapter 22, verses 9-11:

Deuteronomy 22:

9Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.
10Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
11Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

The spiritual significance of these verses is that it is a plea for separation. The Israelites were to be eternally reminded that they were not to yoke themselves together with unbelievers. Most commentators, most chain-reference Bibles, refer you to Numbers, chapter 22. The reason they do that is, Balaam was hired by Balak, king of the Moabites, to curse the children of Israel; and every time he opened his mouth to curse the children of Israel, there came out a blessing. Balaam said to Balak, “There is not enough money in the world to make it possible for me to curse these people whom God has blessed.” But Balaam wanted that money, so one evening he slipped up to Balak and said, “I can't do anything about it, but I will tell you how you can cause God to punish them. Send some of your prettiest girls over to marry some of those Jewish boys.” They did and they intermarried. When they intermarried, the curse of God came upon them because God had said, “Be not unequally yoked together.”

This is the message for us today as you compare II Corinthians, chapter 6, with this passage of Scripture:

II Corinthians 6:

14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

You can read the rest of the paragraph. We don't have time to. It is elaborated on there. There is no relationship in an unequal yoke. That is the reason I will not knowingly marry a Christian to an unbeliever. That is the reason that Christians ought not to knowingly enter into partnerships with unbelievers in the business realm. It is an unequal yoke. You could go on in any number of illustrations, but that should suffice.

The last thing that I want to mention to you by way of a spiritual lesson, I have designated by the word security. You don't need to turn back to Deuteronomy, chapter 21, the story about the birds and the nests. We read the story of the little bird in the nest and the eggs. Does that speak to your heart? I don't know what kind of a bird that was, but I have an inclination to think that it was a sparrow, and the reason is found in Matthew, chapter 6. Look down at verse 26, where we read:

Matthew 6:

26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Those sparrows, those fowl of the air, don't plant their gardens and they don't reap their harvests, and yet your Heavenly Father takes care of them.

Turn to Matthew, chapter 10, verse 29, where we read:

Matthew 10:

29Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Are you getting the message? If God is so interested in the sparrows that he says to a man, “If you begin to cut down a tree and you see a sparrow's nest, you stop. I don't want anything to bother that sparrow's security.” If God is that interested in sparrows, why wouldn't He be more interested in you? You are of more value than many sparrows. So, I thank God that in this portion of the Word of God that some people say is dry and dusty and really has no application for the hour in which we live, I am reminded that I am saved because Christ bore the curse by hanging on the tree and God has compassion upon me. I am reminded when the going gets a little rough because you take a stand for a conviction that is held dear, that a separated life is what God is expecting because separation was taught in the everyday, work-a-day world of the Israelites. When I run out of money and I begin to wonder what I am going to do to meet that obligation that I have, I am reminded that God took care of some little birds in a tree. If He looked after their security, He can look after mine.

Conclusion

When I read the book of Deuteronomy, I don't see a great big bully like a Methodist Bishop saw when he read it. I see a God Who loves and cares for me.


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