1 – ““But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. Or if he struck him down with a wooden tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died, or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.” (Numbers 35:16-21, ESV)
RAF: Murder is distinguished from manslaughter by these 3 things. To be “murder” it must bear at least one of these elements:
a. Use of a weapon. b. Predisposition of hatred or enmity. c. Premeditation by lying in wait.
2 – “Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.” (Numbers 35:31, ESV)
RAF: For some sins, there was no ability to bring a sacrifice as a substitute and then to go free – the person must die. This is what is being referred to in Hebrews 9:22 – that under the Law “ALMOST everything was purified with blood,” and in 1 John 5:16 – that there is a sin unto death; and we are instructed not to pray for that. In other words, even in Church discipline, most sins can be forgiven and the person restored. But for the sin of unrepentance for instance, one must be disciplined. Until there is repentance, discipline must be carried out. However, the glory of the New Covenant is that: “and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:39, ESV)
3 – “It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.” (Deuteronomy 1:2, ESV)
RAF: What was meant to be an 11 day journey took 40 years because of faithlessness and rebellion. Oh Lord, subdue my heart. How little of the inheritance do I possess now, because of my own faithlessness?
4 – “Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’ So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.” (Deuteronomy 1:13-18, ESV)
RAF: Every man ought to be striving to be considered one who might be “commanders” – elders – over 1000’s, hundreds, fifties, or tens. May God’s people have a full compliment of those who know God’s Word and can judge rightly between their brethren. A nation of chiefs, all who can take their place. Rise up O Church!
5 – “And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’ So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the Lord and presumptuously went up into the hill country.” (Deuteronomy 1:42-43, ESV)
RAF: Here is the explanation of the Psalmist’s cry in Psalm 19:18 “keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins.” As here – presumptuous sin is to act like God is on your side, when due to your own sin and rebellion, He will not fight for you until the sin is resolved. You cannot fight one sin in your life – or sin in the world, unless you are willing to deal with all your sins. To keep one and then expect God’s power to resist another will end in defeat.
6 – “Do not contend with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as for the sole of the foot to tread on, because I have given Mount Seir to Esau as a possession.” (Deuteronomy 2:5, ESV)
RAF: See God’s faithfulness to His promises to Esau as much as to Jacob. “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” did not mean a total casting off, but a choosing of the one above the other for the carrying on of the covenant. Do not assume then that God cast Esau off – for He did no such thing.
7 – “And the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab or contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land for a possession, because I have given Ar to the people of Lot for a possession.’” (Deuteronomy 2:9, ESV)
RAF: Once again we are seeing the enactment of what Paul says in Galatians 3:17
The covenant that came 430 years later (the Mosaic covenant) cannot annul the previous promise or promises. Even the promise to Lot has been preserved and is not preempted by the bringing in of the Mosaic covenant.
8 – “ “So I sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon the king of Heshbon, with words of peace, saying,” (Deuteronomy 2:26, ESV)
RAF: The common misconception that the Israelites just entered into wholesale slaughter is disproved here, and will be shown many times again. They were always to approach with words of, and and offer of – peace. It was only when the peace was rejected or war against them broke out that they were to utterly destroy their enemies. The Gospel of peace goes out into all the world for generation after generation. Christ will not come back and judge the world without our ambassadorship having gone forth first.
9 – “ And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.” (Deuteronomy 5:1-3, ESV)
RAF: God’s covenant ultimately rests with those who actually hear and believe – not necessarily with those who heard it with their ears, but did not believe it so as to obtain it. Faith is the victory that overcomes the World.
10 – “Go near and hear all that the Lord our God will say and speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’ “And the Lord heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:27-29, ESV)
RAF: God is not fooled by our outward responses to the glory of His revelation. He knows full well that no matter how great the revelation, unless there is an inward work – a mind truly captive to Him, we will stray no matter how simple, no matter how clear, no matter how doable the external code might be.
11 – “And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.” (Deuteronomy 6:23, ESV)
RAF: We must never forget we were brought out – to go in. Our deliverance from the bondage of sin is not an end in itself. We were brought out of our sin that we might go on to live in holiness. We were brought out of the World that we might live in the Heavenlies. Do not imagine you were just brought out – God’s intention is to take you in to the fullness of His promises.
12 – “and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.” (Deuteronomy 7:2-5, ESV)
RAF: It is not enough for us to simply be God’s people, and then to ignore the culture. We are to be about the business of ruining its idol worship and exposing its false gods, and bringing down its temples to sin and self.
13 – “and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face.” (Deuteronomy 7:10, ESV)
RAF: This may be one of the most terrifying verses in the whole of holy writ.