- Righteousness Before Relationships (Deuteronomy 13:6-11)
- Morning Meditation: Listen to Words not Wonders (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
- Morning Meditation: Inquiring After Their Gods (Deuteronomy 12:28-32)
- Morning Meditation: Obedience is Always an Option (Deuteronomy 12:20-27)
- Morning Meditation: How to Enjoy God’s Blessings (Deuteronomy 12:15-19)
- Morning Meditation: One Pattern, One Name, One Place (Deuteronomy 12:8-14)
- Morning Meditation: Shrine or Sanctuary? (Deuteronomy 12:1-7)
- Morning Meditation: A Blessing and a Curse (Deuteronomy 11:26-32)
- Morning Meditation: A People of the Book (Deuteronomy 11:18-25)
- Morning Meditation: The Primacy of Obedience (Deuteronomy 11:13-17)
- Morning Meditation: Characteristics of the Land (Deuteronomy 11:8-12)
- Morning Meditation: A Heritage of Obedience (Deuteronomy 11:1-7)
Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 12:20-27
Verses 20-22. These verses and what follows seem to be an expansion on what has gone before, but they have a few qualifiers which the Lord gives lest Israel think obedience was relative to circumstances. One such qualifier was the expansion of Israel’s borders and the subsequent increase in distance between people and the sanctuary. These words are relevant since Solomon’s reign marked the zenith of both the temple and the land. The same rule still applied as previously described: people had the freedom to kill and eat animals in any place (since God blessed with provision where they were), yet they could not sacrifice animals in any place, only the holy place.
Some of us have greater convenience for spiritual disciplines than others. Some have more flexible jobs, some a less intensive domestic life, and some an ideal assembly life, while others struggle to perform basic spiritual tasks. Just as all Israel–whether near or far–had an obligation to the sanctuary, so we all subscribe to one standard of obedience as found in God’s Word. If we struggle to see the opportunity to obey, the answer is not to think it does not apply to us; rather, we must plead with God that He would open the way for our obedience. Though few possessed a personal Bible in the Middle Ages, this lack of opportunity did not nullify the truth of Psalm 1 or Psalm 119. That would be opposite thinking. People like Tyndale thought aright: it was the truth of Psalm 1 and Psalm 119 that motivated him to give all access to the Bible. If obedience is truly in our hearts, lack of opportunity will not stumble us, for we know that God’s will is to draw men unto Himself and His ways. Let us express our desire to obey, pursue opportunities where we find them, and leave the rest with God.
Verses 23-25. Here is an expanded emphasis on the sanctity of life as expressed in the blood of an animal. Israel was not to eat the blood so they would always respect the difference between life and non-life, therefore revering the living God and respecting fellow man. The body does not possess life in itself, but what is within makes all the difference. So, Israel was to pour the blood onto the ground where they could not retrieve it again, and they were only to eat the meat. Though they did not understand all the implications, they were “doing what is right in the sight of the Lord,” and that was what really mattered. God always has a good reason for His commands, though it may not be readily apparent or fully revealed. Nevertheless, He is gracious to give us enough knowledge so we may not obey aimlessly, yet He withholds enough so that our ultimate reason for obeying is His authority and not our intuition.
Verses 26-27. The issue of traveling to the sanctuary to sacrifice had nothing to do with convenience but everything to do with obedience. God chose the place He was to be worshipped, and that was enough. But the reason was a good one: the place He chose was a place of communion. He describes the mutual enjoyment of the offering: God received the blood, while the offerer ate the food. The Israelite fellowshipped with God in the very thing by which he was accepted before God. So, just as the cross is our hiding place from God’s wrath, it is also our meeting place with God’s welcome. Let us not doubt the need for obedience. It lets God be God in His sovereign power, yet it brings us near to Him in a unique embrace.