Deuteronomy 24:8-9 – More Than Just Your Average Passage About Skin Diseases…

Posted: April 4, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 24:8-9

Skin Diseases

 

Man, sometimes, when you are walking through the Bible book by book, you run across a passage that you are just stumped as to how to bring life application out of it. You look up commentaries and see what they have to say, but about these two verses, they say very little. They say very little because the passage is somewhat vague and is more of a reference to previous passages and chapters of other books, Leviticus and Exodus. The passage does not reiterate but rather just references.

 

Do what the priests tell you to do about skin diseases because I have given them instructions about it. What were those instruction? Why are they not expanded upon here? Just do as you are told by the priests? Why? Because I, Moses, said so. Moses said do what you are told by the priests because what they have been told is trustworthy and true. The idea is that God told Moses and Moses told the priests. Therefore, and ergo, what the priests are telling you, thus, comes from God.

 

Then, the second verse gives us a warning of what happens when we do not listen to God’s commands and try to go on our way. So, as I write out these questions and confoundments about what this passage has to say to me, I come to the conclusion that there is more to what meets the eye sometimes when we read passages. We must read them more than to just say we kept on schedule with our Bible plan. When we get stumped we must re-read the passage several times. Sometimes, it make take several readings of a passage to get to its point. Just start by writing down initial thoughts no matter how off the wall they may seem. When we write down thoughts or questions, the Holy Spirit tends to lead us toward where He wants us to go – the meaning of and the life application of a passage. Reading a passage without finding its meaning and figuring out how that applies to your life is simply passing words through your brain. Don’t just read the Bible for five minutes each day just to say you read the Bible in one year. So what if it takes you two years, three years, a lifetime to get through the Bible. Read it for meaning and application.

 

Stepping down from soapbox now. We resume normal broadcasting now…

 

That is where I find myself this morning with this passage, Deuteronomy 24:8-9. So, here is what I came up with for this passage after reading it, being stumped, re-reading it, still being stumped, and then re-reading it again.

 

I think the closest example of a life experience that parallels what this passage has to say is about when I was a teenager and not seeing my father as wise with his rules over me. I thought all his rules about curfews and doing chores and all that were just meant to hold me back and oppress me for the sake of oppressing me. I often that the punishment for violations were out of proportion with what I had done. What teen doesn’t? Huh? I would always try to talk me way out of my punishments. I would always try to bend his rules to the point of breaking them. I never saw any of his rules as being for my benefit. I could not see beyond the immediate future, the next day, the weekend, the next week.

 

Little did I know at the time, but, my dad was trying to grow me up into a man that could function in society. He was trying to grow me up into a man that realized that there are things that you just can’t talk your way out of. There are things that you can’t whine your way out of. Sometimes, we just have to suck it up and take our lumps and move on. Sometimes, we are going to dealt blows in life that seem unfair, illogical and just plain capricious. However, we must plow through those things and continue to hold our heads high and not let unwarranted setbacks in life defeat us. I found that my dad’s instructions and rules were not intended to hold me back from the freedom to do whatever I wanted but rather to keep me from making stupid mistakes. His rules had a long-range goal in mind. To make me a man. To make me a productive citizen. To make me a person whose word is his word. To make me an man of integrity that people can trust. To make me a man of compassion for others and not just some arrogant ass that is so self-centered that he cannot see beyond himself. Obedience to dad’s rules produced freedom, love, honor, and peace with my father. Disobedience brought restrictions, rancor, dishonor, and war with my father. Not because he was some tyrant but because he knew the end game. He knew what he wanted me to be when I ventured out on my own as a young adult flying away from the nest. He wanted me to be a man that could take care of himself and then ultimately take care of a family. That is what any father wants for his child – for them to go to their grave knowing that his child or his children are capable and ready to take care of themselves. That’s the point of the rules and boundaries when we are growing up.

 

That idea of obeying instructions and the results of disobedience is ultimately what I came to draw out this passage and not it just being about skin disease:

 

8 In cases of defiling skin diseases,[a] be very careful to do exactly as the Levitical priests instruct you. You must follow carefully what I have commanded them. 9 Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam along the way after you came out of Egypt.

 

Here we see that Moses is telling the Israelites to trust what the local priests tell them to do about skin diseases. There is more here to me than just that. It is about the fact that Moses is commanding them to trust their priest and do what he says. That goes for skin diseases and pretty much everything else about life. God heard from Moses and Moses passed on his knowledge of God to the priests. Therefore, what the priests are telling the Israelites must be trustworthy and true. Therefore, if we extend this out to modern Christianity, we must trust what our preachers are telling us because they are men of God.

 

I know you say, wait a minute? There are so many preachers out there that are not men of God and are just in the game to get a paycheck and are not really interested in our souls. I say I wholehearted agree. Don’t follow those guys. Don’t even go to their churches. But first, make sure that it’s not because you are simply rebelling against the truth of God that is cutting you like a two-edge sword. However, if a pastor by the fruits of his spirit is not evidencing the hand of God on his life, then, flee him. However, if a pastor is truly a man of God, we must listen to him and do what he says. He is our shepherd and because He hears from the Father and is living his life for the Father, then, we must listen to what he has to say because it is from God. Sometimes, what our pastor has to say on Sunday is uncomfortable for us. Sometimes, when he counsels us, it is uncomfortable for us. But if we know that He is a man of God with our best interest at heart, we must let our pastor’s words from God convict us of our path we are on. We must listen and change.

 

Miriam stands as an example of those who disobey God’s commands to us that come through our pastors. She rebelled against Moses. She disobeyed God because she was jealous of the authority God had given Moses. She rebelled and paid for it. We sometimes don’t like what our pastor tells us and we rebel against him and try to make trouble for him in church. If our pastor is the man of God he is supposed to be, he will preach the word of God unfettered and unfiltered. It will hit us between the eyes sometimes and we must be willing to say, “that was a word from God directly to me through my pastor” not that “that pastor is pissing me off. Who does he think he is?” Let God’s Word through our pastor’s anointing convict us of our sins. Let it be God talking to us through our pastor’s inspired sermon and not us thinking this pastor is just telling me I can’t do something or this pastor is a jerk! Let it be that we see it, like I know think of my dad. His instructions were not to just to jerk me around or make my life miserable. He just wanted me to grow up into a responsible man. Rebellion against that was just teenage self-centeredness. He just wanted me grow up into a responsible man. Let us not rebel against our pastor’s hard words in sermons. Let us take them deep and figure out what we must do to rid ourselves of sinful ways so that we can be more like Jesus. A real pastor that is a real man of God preaches hard to us so that we can grow into responsible disciples of Jesus Christ. Our pastors’ sermons may be hard to hear sometimes because we sometimes don’t even recognize that we are participating actively in a sin. But sometimes a hard word is what we need to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

 

Amen and Amen.

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