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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 5, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading:  Deuteronomy 17-20


Deuteronomy 17:8

If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;


It’s been said by many, and mentioned more than once in the pages of these Rēad to Read devotions, that the Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament. Today we have an example of that truth. In Moses’ second great message in the book of Deuteronomy he lays the groundwork for that which is commonly called “church discipline” that Jesus taught in Matthew 18.


Remember, Israel had no civil government structure. Their society was based on God’s laws which were applied by the priests and judges of the day. God was their leader, their King if you will and He governed through the Levitical priesthood. They, the priests, carried out God’s judgments for the Hebrew people. In this portion of Moses’ sermon, he deals with conflicts that would arise between themselves. This could be termed “God’s rules for conflict resolution.”


The first step is inferred. He starts this topic by saying: If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment. The only way to know that it is “too hard” is to have tried to settle the issue. If it couldn’t be settled then it needed to be brought to God by bringing it to the place where God was, the tabernacle, later the temple, and later in the synagogues.


The second step was to bring it to God which meant bringing it to the priests and the judge (individuals deputed of God to hear these matters). These in turn would perform an investigation and pronounce God’s judgment.


The third step was to obey and carry out the judgment of God as given through His priest and judge. Moses made it clear that they must …observe to do according to all that they inform thee. (Deuteronomy 17:10)


These are basically the same three steps in any matter of controversy between the children of God today, or there is supposed to be. In Matthew 18:15-17 Jesus lays out these three steps to be used today. One, deal with it yourselves or with the help of one or two other trusted Christians. Two, if resolution cannot be obtained, bring it to the church.  Telling it to the church means to tell it to the leadership of the church and allow a proper process to commence. This is not to be a gripe session, but a well-organized review of the conflict combined with employing Biblical teachings, prayer, and time for repentance and the leadership of our Lord God. Three, if the transgressor neglects to hear and carry out the judgment of the church, then treat that person like a heathen, meaning to have no association with them.


This process is a difficult thing and seldom used today, but it finds its roots all the way back in the Law of God as given by Moses. This example is not intended to highlight church discipline, but rather to highlight the seamless completeness and perfectly fit teachings of your complete Bible. Truly, the New Testament in the Old Testament is concealed, wherein the Old Testament in the New Testament is revealed.


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