November 19, 2012

Scripture and Commentary, Tuesday after the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity


Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 68, Leviticus 19:26, Phil. 1:12-26
Evening - Ps. 67, 84, Dt. 13:1-11, Mt. 27:27-44

Commentary, Deuteronomy 13:1-11

Since tonight's reading takes us to Deuteronomy 13, it may be beneficial to recall the salient points of chapters 11 and 12.  Chapter 11 continues to remind Israel to keep the commandments of God.  One of the most important passages of the chapter is found in verses 26-28, beginning with, "Behold I set before you this day a blessing and a curse."

Chapter 12 instructs Israel to destroy all traces of Canaanite idolatry.  Again it must be remembered that the Canaanite worship sites were places where children were slowly burned alive in ritual sacrifices and drunken orgies, all  in the name of the "gods.".  No wonder God did not want them left intact. The chapter further tells Israel not to use such sites to worship God.  He will show them where to set up the Tabernacle and where to worship Him.
            
Chapter 13 warns that any Israelite attempting to entice others into the Canaanite abominations is to be treated as a Canaanite and suffer the same fate.  It is well worth noting that this commandment was for a certain time and situation; the time has expired and the situation no longer exists.  The Church does not execute people nor does it attempt to have the state execute people for religious reasons.  Such actions by the Church in the past were the result of theological error and/or corruption.  The New Testament teaches freedom of religion and urges Christians to pray and work for the peace and good of the nations and people in which they live.  Christians understand no person is free to accept Christianity unless he is also free not to.