Wednesday, April 15 2020
“The law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” are the words of Paul (Rom 7:12 ESV). Principles of wisdom fill the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses anticipated abuses of customs, institutions, and laws. Christians should consider and apply God’s wisdom to their life, home, business, and politics. Consider the wisdom from Deuteronomy 24:
Military Benefits — Moses instructed that man in his first year of marriage or betrothed should not go out with the army and be liable to public duty but to remain free at home with his wife (Deut 20:7; 24:5). However, this is a humanitarian law giving the man time to start a family. Men did not have to go to war if they built a house that they have not dedicated or planted a vineyard that they have not enjoyed (Deut 20:5–6). These are simple benefits that the military should have today.
Marriage and Divorce — Moses commanded that any man who gives his wife a certificate of divorce because she does not find favor in his eyes, and she marries another man who divorces her or dies, then the former husband cannot marry her again (Deut 24:1–4). One can foresee the abuse of the marriage institution especially if a man divorced his wife so that she would marry another and he would take her back to receive the second husband’s inheritance. The Pharisees used this passage of a certificate of divorce to justify divorce for any reason in the time of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus taught that God’s creation of the institution began when God created one man and one woman to become one flesh and no one should separate what God has joined together (Matt 19:4–6). For this reason, Jesus concluded, “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality [extramarital sex], and marries another, commits adultery” (Matt 19:9).
Justice — The Law of Moses took a hard stance against the evil of human trafficking. God commanded through Moses, “If a man is found stealing one of his brothers of the people of Israel, and if he treats him as a slave or sells him, then that thief shall die. So you shall purge the evil from your midst” (Deut 24:7). Furthermore, the Law stated, “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death” (Exod 21:16). The consequence of enslaving others should still be death.
Ethics — Moses also taught not to take a millstone or upper millstone as a pledge from a man because such is the same as taking his life (Deut 24:6). In other words, the poor may pledge their millstones that they needed to grind their grain to eat. The bottom millstone was flat and curved inward and about 100 pounds and the top stone by about 5 pounds that fit in one’s hand (IVPBBCOT, 198). Furthermore, Moses commanded that no one give a loan and go into someone’s house to take a pledge or to sleep in a man’s cloak given as a pledge (Deut 24:10–13). God commanded employers to pay their needy workers on the day of their labor (Deut 24:14–15). The Law of Moses protected the rights of those in need.
What would happen if these rules existed in societies of today’s world? Many people think of modern humanity as more civil and just than were ancient people. However, Moses’s Law was not perfect although God authored the Law. God wrote the Law specifically for the people of Israel. Israel was lacking and certainly not God. Jesus declared, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matt 19:8). The Pauline writer of Hebrews affirmed, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second” (Heb 8:7). Thank God that we have Christ and His eternal covenant (Heb 13:20–21).