Deut. 23, Psalms 112-113, Isaiah 50, Revelation 20

DateVersionReading Plan
@June 18, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Deut. 23

Deuteronomy 23:24–25 (ESV) 24 “If you go into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, as many as you wish, but you shall not put any in your bag. 25 If you go into your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pluck the ears with your hand, but you shall not put a sickle to your neighbor’s standing grain.

In this chapter, God through Moses give commands for excluding specific groups from assembly, uncleanness in the camp and other various laws. The final commands regarded the way in which the people could eat their fill of each others’ crops while in them but not gather or take anything with them. The people were to be communal in their manner of living and conduct themselves with mutual generosity. So much of this sentiment is applicable to the church. Granted, we have seen the disastrous results of communism as a basis for societal structure but, to a certain extent, we are to be open-handed with what God has given us to steward to provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Psalms 112-113

Psalm 113:1–3 (ESV) 1 Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD! 2 Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore! 3 From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!

What a wonderful psalm to read and recite. The name of our Lord is worthy to be praised, to lift our faces, voices and hands to Him in joyful exultation. The FSB Notes point out how Psalms 113-118 “are a collection within the book of Psalms known as the Egyptian Hallel, which Israelites traditionally recited at Passover. These psalms derive their name from the prevalence of the Hebrew term hallu-yah and their use in the annual Passover ritual, which commemorates the exodus from Egypt. (The Hebrew term hall-el, meaning “praise God,” is related to the Hebrew term hallu-yah meaning “praise Yah”—yah is the shortened form of the divine name Yahweh.)”

Isaiah 50

Isaiah 50:7–9 (ESV) 7 But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. 8 He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

The servant acknowledges God’s presence with him and that it is the LORD God who provides the help he truly needs. From this foundation, upon the Rock of Christ, we also are to proceed in courage in confidence. There is no adversary that can stand against our God, no enemy that can threaten His everlasting kingdom to which we have been granted citizenship. Let us then plea for our Lord to come near, that we may behold our God whose death broke every stronghold, the God of all glory in whose name we have victory.

Revelation 20

Revelation 20:4–5 (ESV) 4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.

I find it always a blessing to meditate on these passages and to be refreshed the various millennial positions. Whether Christ’s return comes before (premillennialism) or after (postmillennialism) the time of God’s wrath (or that there is no literal 1,000 years [amillennialism]) cannot be fully known, but is certainly worthy of study and reflection. Reflecting on healthy anticipation for the end times, Matthew Henry put it well when he said, “It is our duty to pray for the promised glorious days, and to do every thing in our public and private stations which can prepare for them.“

Carson on Deuteronomy 23

A merely communitarian stance [on eating of a neighbor’s vineyard or grain field] would either let people take what they want, whenever they want, as much as they want; or, alternatively, it would say that since all the produce belongs to the community (or the state), no individual is allowed to take any of it without explicit sanction from the leaders of the community. A merely capitalistic stance (or, more precisely, a stance that put all the emphasis on private property) would view every instance of taking a grape from a neighbor’s field as a matter of theft, every instance of chewing on a few kernels of grain as you follow the footpath through your neighbor’s field as a punishable offense. But by allowing people to eat what they want while actually in the field of a neighbor, this statute fosters a kind of community-wide interdependence, a vision of a shared heritage.

Similar to my reflection above, Carson further explores the differences between communitarian and capitalistic positions on sharing vineyards and grain fields. As he mentions, the freedom to eat as needed coupled with the restriction from taking extra with would foster a vision of shared heritage, but as the pages of history reveal, the corrupt nature of man makes this difficult to maintain. Ideally, we would live in harmonious mutual sacrifice, but the presence of sin ultimately leads to imbalance, poverty and oppression. However, rather than be disheartened, this should make us long for the Day of Christ’s coming where all sin is vanquished and shalom is restored.