Deuteronomy 17 – Deuteronomy 20
Were you challenged by the idea of creating three specialized cities as proposed in chapter 19? I was. These weren’t any ordinary cities. These were cities where individuals could flee to if they had unintentionally killed some one. There is a key work there is “unintentionally.” How do you prove that one? Add to that the implied, ‘you will be safe as long as you can get there first . . . but in the mean time, vengeance is may be fair game.” All in all it struck me as odd.
Its not to say that it wouldn’t work, or didn’t, but just think of that in our own day and time. A city of refuge for murders. How would that work? Probably not too well. Then, one can’t help but wonder what the crime rate may have been in those three cities. I guess you travel and vacation at your own risk?
Then, as Moses has been doing all throughout his farewell speech, the reiterated warning comes again in chapter 20. You are about to overtake a new land. “Annihilate” is the word used in vs. 17. A pretty striking word with drastic consequences. Annihilate everything you see. Why? So that you will not be tempted to fall into their sinful ways.
A fitting way to end on this Ash Wednesday, even from the Garden of Eden, to the shores of the Jordan River, all the way to you and me, temptations lurks on. Praise be to God, Jesus has died for our sins, so that we might be one with God!
Even in the midst of temptation, remember . . .
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Our next reading: Deuteronomy 21 – 23