Taking Responsibility — Deuteronomy 22-24

Sundays are always a busy day for ministers, but they’re also pretty encouraging. I’m writing this at the end of a Sunday — a Sunday for changing to daylight savings time, no less — so I’m a little mind-weary at the moment, so I’ll keep my remarks short. But don’t let the shortness of the remarks make you think that there’s not much here. It’s nothing of the kind.

Let me start with the beginning of chapter 22 and the call of God to be responsible. God gives several examples of how the person belonging to God can’t just choose to not get involved. If people lose something and you find it, you can’t just neglect the other person’s need for his property. It’s the principle of “Golden Rule” at work — it’s what we’d hope someone else would do for us. Perhaps where this principle of getting involved is most applicable is in the area of evangelism. Many would like to choose to be uninvolved, let the lost find their own way.

A second thing I thought would be stimulating to discuss was the topic of slavery. A common argument used by homosexual advocates to justify the sin is to try cast the Bible as an antiquated, wrong-headed book; and they often attempt to resort to an accusation that the Bible approves of or at least allows slavery. This argument founded upon a poor reading of the text warped by an agenda — the outcome has no chance of being true to Scripture or valid as an argument.

Although slavery was allowed, it was not slavery as we know it in American history. Slavery in Israel was part of a survival strategy during dire times of poverty like it was in most ancient cultures. But on top of that, in this very text we find a clear prohibition of the kind of slavery that was practiced in the 1700’s and 1800’s in America — kidnapping and selling someone as a slave. And notice, also, that if an Israelite discovered a runaway slave, he was actually under obligation to not turn him in but rather to treat him well. Neither of these principles were in practice in American slavery. The Bible doesn’t defend American slavery; it defends only the practice of slavery that fit the parameters God set down which was intended to help men in poverty, not oppress them. Far from the Bible being antiquated, it’s wisdom demonstrates its true, divine authorship and ultimate timelessness.

What are your thoughts?

I hope to see you tomorrow, Lord willing.

About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the Rock Hill church of Christ in Frisco TX where I've worked since 2020. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, and the Lord's church.
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5 Responses to Taking Responsibility — Deuteronomy 22-24

  1. DEUTERONOMY 22:55 “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”
    Can you explain this to me, it just does not seem to go with the rest of chapter 22 and I did not read where you explained it.

  2. parklinscomb says:

    You’ve asked about an interesting portion this section. Unfortunately, this blog couldn’t be a complete commentary; I had time enough to only comment on a few things in approximately 3 chapter chunks of Scripture. But since you’ve asked, this passage commanded that cross-dressing not be done by God’s holy people—a pretty straightforward command. Men shouldn’t dress like women and women shouldn’t dress like men—whatever the custom is for the culture.

    Why doesn’t it seem to fit with the rest of the context? The context is actually a mixture of all kinds of commands from God. Some have to do with neighborly obligations, some about showing compassion to animal, some against mixing things (seed, work animals, fabrics in a garment), some about men wearing distinctive tassels on their garments (marking them as God’s people), and some about sexual purity. When such commands seem to be in a hodgepodge of unrelated commands, we don’t get much context to help us understand it better.

    I don’t know, of course, but I’m guessing that your real question may be asking why God would give such a command—what’s wrong with dressing unisex, with women wearing men’s clothing, with men dressing in drag? Let me, first of all, note that we don’t always get a direct answer to our “why” questions—God’s command is sufficient reason to obey, period. I will offer my speculate about this passage, because the answer does seem fairly straightforward; however, I feel obligated to stress that my speculation is strictly speculation. So, why? Probably 1) to guard against, for instance, men from attracting other men in a homosexual liaison (labeling this as an “abomination” insinuates this reason), 2) to Keep women from crossing over into male only activities (e.g., Tabernacle/Temple worship) or men from going to places where only women were allowed (e.g., a harem).

    If I haven’t answered your question, let me have another try.

    • Thank you. I am just struggling to understand this new Transgender thing. I don’t know anyone but I hear alot about it and I have been asked what the Bible says about it and being gay. I just want to make sure I say truth but with love and no judgement.
      thank you

  3. parklinscomb says:

    I applaud your desire both to understand God’s word about these matters and to answer the questions of others in a Christian way. It’s a sensitive subject these days, and Christians will be tempted to compromise God’s commands to please men rather than God. The truth is that Christians, as they speak what God has already spoken, are not offering any judgment, but are merely informing others of what God’s judgment is about such behavior. Jesus even said this about Himself, (John 5:30) “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” So also as we hear God’s judgment on behaviors (whether homosexuality, adultery, lying, stealing, or gossip—to name just a few sins) we only repeat what God has already said His judgment will be on those who practice them without repentance—and yet with love (Ephesians 4:15 “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,”).

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