Moses reminds the people of some laws concerning daily living conduct. These ones aren’t huge but God says for them to keep the WHOLE Law so these count too.
I know of one religious group who believe we are to keep the Law today. They count it as crucial to salvation. They pick out pieces like not eating pork and meeting on the Sabbath as items to observe but God didn’t give bits and pieces. If you believe you have to keep the Law to be saved then it is the whole Law, not just your favorite parts.
I believe Jesus did it all and His work is enough. I keep the commandments Jesus gave us for all the prophets and the Law are summed up in them. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Some of the Laws we read in today’s passage fall in the latter of Jesus’ commandments.
Moses focuses on being neighborly. If you see your neighbor’s animal roaming free or in trouble, stop and help it out. Get it back to your neighbor if you can. If you don’t know who it belongs to, take care of it until its owner comes looking for it. This goes for anything that you find that doesn’t belong to you but is of value to another.
Moses didn’t state here but I think God probably meant for the finder not to charge the owner for his services beyond what was required in caring for the lost property. It isn’t to be ransomed back to the owner nor is it to be kept as your own property. This is what you would want of your neighbor if the roles were reversed.
We read accounts of people being exceptional neighbors when they find something of value and then return it. I’ve had my purse, with ALL its contents, returned to me on at least two occasions. I was VERY grateful to whomever found my purse and returned it to me.
Next Moses moves on to garments. There are three laws involving garments mentioned here. I have no idea how they would translate in today’s societies. Distinct garments for men and women still exist but some garments are “unisex” and can be worn by either sex. I personally have a couple of shirts that I’m not sure if they are my husband’s or mine. We share them. The tassels mentioned were for outer garments. They were to be reminders of God’s Laws. We have embellishments on many of our garments but they are usually for decoration and sometimes function. Pockets are an embellishment I like having in my dresses. With regard to mixing fabric types, we have fabrics that are themselves blends today (i.e. 92% cotton, 8% spandex). You can still get 100% cotton fabrics but you have to be looking for it.
The single fabric choices brings us to the single seed choices and mixed yoked animals. I have never grown a vineyard so I don’t know how to take this command. When I was thinking about this though I was reminded of the apple trees growing in my yard. We have two different kinds of apple trees and a third kind down the street. We have Newtown apples and Golden Delicious apples. The one down the road is a Gravenstein apple. Many of my green apples have developed red stripes from the tree down the road. They do this because of cross pollination. My apples aren’t “true” apples but a mixture. I believe God was impressing on His people to NOT become a “mixture” with these three laws. He didn’t want them “cross pollinating” or unequal bonding with their neighbors spiritually so He gave them Laws designed to make them think about maintaining separation and uniqueness.
The last command Moses gave from our reading today is for protection of others. The homebuilder was to routinely install protection for those in the home and those visiting their home. This guardrail wasn’t some extra extravagance that some homes had but something standard in all homes. It provided boundaries to keep people safe. That is exactly what God’s Law was intended to do. It provided barriers that protected those not intent on self-destruction. People could physically step over the parapet and injure themselves just like they could ignore God’s laws and wind up in serious peril. But the wise man stayed within the confines of both for physical and spiritual health. Neither could save a man bent on destruction though. God gave us something better with Jesus’ sacrifice because we were unable to stay within the boundaries no matter how hard we tried.
It is interesting looking at all the everyday laws that God gave for Israel to follow. They seem disjointed at times but looking at them in new light I can see they had a message hidden beneath. I wonder if the people were focused more on the letter of the law or the meaning behind it. Probably depended on the individual and the time they were living in. That seems to be the way it is today anyway.
Holy Spirit, thank You for showing me a “peek behind the curtain” with some of God’s Laws. I understand them a little better now. I know I’ve read these passages before but I didn’t remember some of the Laws shared. It is good to go back and reread.
Lord Jesus, thank You for fulfilling God’s Law for me. I KNOW I would never be able to keep them all. Thank You for giving me Your MOST IMPORTANT points to follow. FULLY give myself to God and love my neighbor as myself. I sometimes even have trouble following these two simple commands. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your willingness to bring me back to where I need to be.
Father God, thank You for caring enough to give us Your Law to begin with. Those You love You chasten. Only Your children are required to follow Your rules. That is a LOT of why the world is in the shape it is in now. One day ALL the world will bow to You and there will be no more messes to deal with. I’m looking forward to that day!