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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 12

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-32

  1. Intro:
    1. I like Warren Wiersbe’s intro (With The Word): Sometimes we think that a new location is the solution to all our problems, so we change jobs or addresses. It is well been said that a change in geography does not overcome a flaw in character. The change can bring out the best in us, but it might bring out the worst in us.
      1. Because of the new living conditions coming shortly, Moses now makes the Law relevant to the new generation.
    2. These statutes & judgements are matters relating to the 1st 2 commandments: “You shall have no other gods before Me” & “You shall not make for yourself a carved image - any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.”
    3. Title: Worshiping His Way
    4. Outline: Entanglement, Enjoyment, Enlargement, Ensnarement.
    1. Moses warned the new land could be a place of entanglement if the people disobeyed God. Today's pluralistic society tends to treat all religious faith's alike, but God demands that we worship and serve him alone.
    2. (2,3) Canaanite religion was a nature-based fertility religion.
      1. For this reason, Canaanite sites of worship were outdoors, “on the high mountains & on the hills & under every green treerather than inside temples.
      2. Archeologists have found various items of religious paraphernalia associated w/ Canaanite worship, including altars, incense stands, standing stones, a bronze calf, statues of household fertility goddesses, & molds to cast statues or deities. (Shepherds Notes, pg.42)
        1. It permitted human sacrifice and encouraged sexual immorality. As a fertility cult, this form of religion made a ritual of sex activity for which sacred prostitutes were housed at idol shrines.
        2. If the laws in this section appear harsh, they must be seen as expressing the Lord’s concern that His people avoid the infectious disease of these perversions.
    3. There was danger that if these were allowed to survive, the Israelites would adopt the degraded worship they fostered. To embrace this was to contaminate their conscience & soil their souls.
    4. In later history, shrines competitive to the Temple in Jerusalem served to undermine the purity of Israel’s faith (1 Kings 12:25-33).
      1. Explain altar in Dan. Explain Paneas/Banias, Caesarea Phillipi.
    5. Idolatry today might look like...trusting people, or possessions or positions to do for me what only God can do.
      1. Idolatry is worshipping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshipped. Augustine
      2. Though we do not face a pantheon of false gods like the Israelites did, we face Slide#15 pressures from a pantheon of false values: materialism, love of leisure, sensuality, worship of self, security, and many others.
      3. We must ask? What is the object of our affections, our efforts, and our attention? Where does the majority of our time go? On what do we spend the greatest amount of our resources?
    6. (5) The bulk of Deut 12 focuses on the centralization of Israel’s worship (1st in Shiloh, later to be in the Jer Temple)
      1. This was to ensure their separation from Canaanite religious practices & influence. Moses says worship in one place.
  3. ENJOYMENT (5-19)
    1. ​​​​​​​The land would be a place of enjoyment if they follow the Lord, for God would give them safety, rest, and blessing. We receive our spiritual inheritance by Gods grace, and we embrace it by faith; but we enjoy it only if we are obedient to His will. - See vs.7,12,18.
      1. There is strong emphasis in this chapt on happiness in the practice of religion
      2. At the same time, the idea that we may worship God “any way we like” receives at least two reproofs (vs.4,8). For worship to be worship it must conform to God’s wishes and instructions.
    2. (15) The carb-phobic, meat-only Atkins Diet got insanely popular in the ‘90s. [here’s your life vs.]
      1. Private vs. public - The concept is kill & eat for private consumption anywhere. But if its for worship/sacrifice it must be as I prescribe, & where I prescribe it.
    3. (16) Although we may feel uncomfortable with this topic, the fact is, Christianity is inescapably a blood-based religion.
      1. NT writers use the word blood 3 x’s more than the word cross; and 5 x’s more than the word death. Why? Because blood is critical to life.
      2. Listen to this medical explanation: Our blood pipeline services 100 trillion cells in the human body. An endless supply of oxygen, amino acids, nitrogen, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sugars, lipids, cholesterol, and hormones surge past our cells, carried on [crimson colored] cell rafts. Blood feeds and sustains every cell in the body with itsprecious nutrients. Every cell in everybody lives at the mercy of blood.
    4. We normally use bleach not blood to remove stains.
      1. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld said, “TV ads show you how detergents take out bloodstains. I think if you’ve got a bloodstained T-shirt, maybe laundry isn’t your biggest problem”.
        1. Jerry’s right, our biggest problem is blood-stained lives.
    5. Eat/drink blood - still today many cultures eat blood. [still warned against in NT instructions to Gentiles]
    6. This goes back to Leviticus the life of the flesh is in the blood (17:11) which goes back to Gen.9:1-4.
      1. The life is in the blood both physically & spiritually.
      2. Physically: Approximately 5 quarts pumping through our veins; running through 100,000 miles of blood vessels, every 30 seconds (enough to travel around the earth 3-4 times); touching every cell; 1st bringing the nutrients & oxygen every cell craves for; then carrying away all waste products on it’s loop. Your heart pumping 1.5 gallons of blood every minute of your life. The brain uses your blood to continually monitor body temperature. Your blood pressure is necessary for the effective pushing of nutrients & oxygen out of the blood & into the cells.
      3. Spiritually: Here is the importance of the precious blood of Christ:
      4. His blood justifies us, redeems us, washes us, sanctifies us, brings us near, & cleanses us.
        1. ​​​​​​​Justifies having now been justified by His blood. Rom.5:9
        2. Redeems In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Eph.1:7
        3. Washes To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. Rev.1:5
        4. Sanctifies That He might sanctify the people with His own blood. Heb.13:12
        5. Brings us Near But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Eph.2:13
        6. Cleanses - the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 Jn.1:7.
    7. When a sacrifice was offered & its blood was shed, it meant the giving of a life of another. The innocent victim died in the place of the guilty sinner.
      1. The only price for sin that God will accept is blood, for the blood is the life of the creature. Of course, the animals shed their blood involuntarily, but Jesus gave His life willingly for the sins of the world.
    8. The bible is a book of blood - From Genesis (where God slew animals to clothe Adam & Eve) to Revelation (where John called him The Lamb that was slain)
      1. Some liberal theologians who reject the doctrine of the blood call this the “Slaughterhouse Religion”.
      2. A ministry that has not the blood is no ministry at all. Because a ministry that has no blood has no life.
        1. ​​​​​​​“The bloody sacrifice of Calvary is the only hope of sinners.”
        2. It is not Christ the Example; nor Christ the Teacher who saves us; but Christ the Lamb of God, crucified for the sins of the world, who saves us.
    9. We appropriate(make one’s own) the atonement for salvation.
      1. At the end of Jesus ministry He went to enter in to the garden & it says where he passed. When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out w/His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He & His disciples entered.Jn.18:1
        1. A drain ran from the temple altar down to the Kidron ravine to take away the blood of sacrifice. Since it was the Passover, more than 200,000 lambs would be slain in the next day. When Jesus and His band crossed the Kidron, it was red with the blood of the lambs prepared for sacrifice.
      2. It is truly, “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus”.
        1. ​​​​​​​How black’s your guilt? How scarlet your stain? Is there any sin His blood can’t clean?
  4. ENLARGEMENT (20-28)
    1. ​​​​​​​The land was to be a place of enlargement as the people trusted God to give them victory.
      1. God wants to enlarge our lives; however, we must be careful that enlargement does not result in estrangement from God.
    2. ENSNAREMENT (29-32)
      1. ​​​​​​​(30) The danger of unbridled curiosity about false religions is indicated. I guess some things are so morally & spiritually corrosive that all contact with them is best avoided.
        1. Don’t even ask about their religion/gods/ways which they worship lest your interest or curiosity be peeked.
      2. (31) Burn sons & daughters...hyperbole? - Nope! :(
        1. Moloch/Molech(Ammonite god) or later Chemosh(Moabite god).
          1. Explain: heated up image had arms outstretched, into which they would lay the child.
        2. Solomon would build high places on the Mount of Olives in the future. 1Kgs.11:5-9
        3. Even 2 of Israel’s kings...King Ahaz & King Manasseh (2Chron.28&33) offered their children.
      3. Interesting, we know this verse from the end of the bible Rev.22:18,19. But it is also here in the beginning of the bible & also in the middle of the bible in Prov.30:6.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 12". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/deuteronomy-12.html. 2017.
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