christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 11:26-14:29, you shall not make idols

Read Deuteronomy 11:26-14:29 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: deuteronomy 8:3, the bread and the word

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic.)

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chr 7:14

We are studying the roadmap to national restoration, and so, we are studying the Ten Commandments, the summary of God’s definition of righteousness and wickedness. By studying the Ten, we are learning what God considers wicked ways, that He is asking His people to turn from. (Here is the summary.)

The Ten Commandments are given in Deu 5. The First Commandment, Have no other gods before YHVH, is explained in Deu 6:4-11:25, and we have just finished a pretty thorough examination of it.

The Second Commandment, You shall not make idols to worship, is explained in Deu 11:26-14:29. The Hebrew paragraph divisions of this section are as follows:

Deu 11:26-28 {s} Blessing for obedience + curse for disobedience
Deu 11:29-12:19 {s} Israel shall worship YHVH in the way He commands
Deu 12:20-28 {s} Ditto, even when you must travel some distance to His place
Deu 12:29-32 {p} Israel shall not serve YHVH in the manner of the nations
Deu 13:1-5 {s} Death for the prophet who tries to turn Israel from YHVH
Deu 13:6-11 {s} Death for the loved one who tries to turn Israel from YHVH
Deu 13:12-18 {s} Death for the city in Israel who turns from YHVH
Deu 14:1-2 {s} Do not mourn for the dead in the manner of the nations
Deu 14:3-8 {s} Do not eat unclean animals
Deu 14:9-10 {s} Do not eat unclean sea creatures
Deu 14:11-21 {p} Do not eat unclean flying things + do not boil a kid in its mother’s milk
Deu 14:22-27 {s} Annual tithe is YHVH’s
Deu 14:28-29 {s} Tithe of the third year is YHVH’s

The first strong paragraph marker occurs at the end of Deu 12:32. The last strong paragraph marker before that, was at the end of Deu 10:11. This means that God considers Deu 10:12-12:32 one section teaching a single overarching theme, with smaller points (made by the weak paragraphs) within it. We will find this pattern continue throughout Deuteronomy. God does not end the explanation for one commandment and the beginning of the next at a nice neat stopping place like a strong paragraph marker, but they are bound together by their inclusion in the strong paragraphs.

So how do we know the explanation for the first commandment ends where it does, and the explanation for the second begins where it does, since it isn’t nice and neat? The next weak paragraph following Deu 11:25 is:

Deu 11:26, Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
Deu 11:27, A blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:
Deu 11:28, A curse, if you will not obey His commandments, but turn aside to go after other gods you have not known. {s}

The theme of turning aside to other gods keeps repeating in the following paragraphs until Deu 14:29.

So then, why isn’t it nice and neat? Well, God is trying to teach us something, and He is smarter than we are. I think part of what He is trying to show by it, is that there are no hard and fast walls separating these commandments. They go together, and they flow together. The one who loves God (the first commandment) will not make idols (the second commandment). The one who refuses to make idols (the second commandment) will not profane His name (the third commandment), and so on.

All the weaker paragraphs within the greater paragraph from Deu 10:12-12:32 are:

Deu 10:12-11:9 {s} Fear, love and obey YHVH always for our good
Deu 11:10-12 {s} The goodness of the Land
Deu 11:13-21 {s} Listen, pay heed, observe, and teach YHVH’s commandments
Deu 11:22-25 {s} Carefully keep His commandments that Israel may possess the Land
Deu 11:26-28 {s} Blessing for obedience + curse for disobedience
Deu 11:29-12:19 {s} Israel shall worship YHVH in the way He commands
Deu 12:20-28 {s} Ditto, even when you must travel some distance to His place
Deu 12:29-32 {p} Israel shall not serve YHVH in the manner of the nations

The single overarching theme might be, Israel shall worship YHVH in the way He commands, for her good, to possess the Land. Israel shall not worship YHVH in the manner of the nations (Israel shall not make idols or worship them), since forsaking YHVH and His commandments will harm her, and she perish from the Land.

We are studying the roadmap to national restoration, and aren’t we are in this predicament in the first place, because we have lost the land we have been given? The land no longer responds to judeo- christian norms or biblical principles, or even common sense, in the voting booth. We have tried politics and politics alone has not healed our land. We need God to heal our land. If we would possess the land, then, children of the Almighty, let us learn from the definition of righteousness and wickedness, and worship YHVH in the way He commands! That is the way of righteousness!

Continued: deuteronomy 11:26-12:32, do not serve God in like manner

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