Rev. Joel Heckmann, pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Okarche, OK, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Deuteronomy 16:18-17:7.
The LORD tells His people of the importance of justice, which is found in His Word. Judges and officers in Israel must pursue such justice without partiality or desire for a bribe. Because justice is bound up in the LORD’s Word, idolatry perverts justice. Therefore, the people must not engage in the idolatrous practices of the Canaanites nor think that they can sacrifice however they want. Whenever idolatry is found among the people of Israel, careful investigation must take place so that any idolatry can be purged from their midst. The death penalty prescribed is a reminder of the seriousness of idolatry and all sin. The LORD shows mercy and justice to us by placing our sin upon His Son Jesus and putting Him to death in our place.
“The Law of God is Good and Wise” is a series on Sharper Iron that goes through the book of Deuteronomy. Though Moses’ lengthy sermons in Deuteronomy may be tempting to skip, this influential book is essential reading for Christians. As Moses strengthened Israel on the plains of Moab before the people entered the Promised Land, so the book of Deuteronomy still strengthens the Church as we prepare to enter the Resurrection with Christ, the Prophet greater than Moses.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
18 “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. 20 Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Forbidden Forms of Worship
21 “You shall not plant any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the Lord your God that you shall make. 22 And you shall not set up a pillar, which the Lord your God hates.
17 “You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God.
2 “If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, 4 and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones. 6 On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge[a] the evil[b] from your midst.
- Deuteronomy 17:7 Septuagint drive out; also verse 12
- Deuteronomy 17:7 Or evil person; also verse 12
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org