Deuteronomy- Session 8- Valuing Life

Text: Deuteronomy 5:17; 19:4-13

Files:

Numbers Session 8- Ben’s Session

Numbers Session 8 Handout

 

Subject:  Life

Central Theme:  Valuing life

Objective Sentence:

We can properly value life when we understand three truths about God’s attitudes and actions regarding human life.

Truth #1- God hates murder.  (Deut. 5:17)

Truth #2- God ordained government to protect innocence.  (Deuteronomy 19:4-10)

Truth #3- God ordained government to punish the guilty.  (Deuteronomy 19:11-13)

 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • It’s time for some honesty and transparency in church.
  • How many of you have ever been driving down the highway, saw a state trooper patrol car, and let your foot up off of the gas or even tapped the brake? 😊
  • How many of you have ever seen flashing lights in your rearview mirror coming up behind you and your heart dropped into your stomach? 😊
  • I’ll be transparent. This happens to me because sometimes I speed.

Tension:

  • Why do we do that?
  • We do it because they enforce the laws and often we don’t keep those laws.
  • The laws about speed limits and traffic are just laws, meant to keep us safe, and God has ordained authority over us to help us to do right.
  • In our country we have a say in what are laws will be at some level because we live in a representative republic.
  • We vote for people who represent us to make and enforce laws.
  • And so what we believe collectively about morality shows up in our laws.
  • Today we are going to explore what the Bible says about how God views human life.
  • The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe will hold us accountable for following His laws and influencing our culture for Him.
  • What does God think about the most basic value of human life?

We can properly value life when we understand three truths about God’s attitudes and actions regarding human life.

Truth #1- God hates murder.  (Deut. 5:17)

17 Thou shalt not kill.

Deuteronomy 5:17

  • Moses reminds the people before they go into the promised land of the law that was given to them at Mount Sinai.
  • He refers to 10 commands that were written on the tablets of stone. The 10 commandments are referred to here.
    • The first four commands govern man’s relationship to God. The last six being commands governing man’s relationship with man.
    • Of course, we know that our relationship with God effects are relationship with others, and our relationship with others effects our relationship with God.
  • The word for “kill” here is best understood as homicide.
  • Of course, this means that a human being does not have the right to murder another human being.
  • Jesus even made this about our motivation and not just our action.

21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Jesus in Matthew 5:21-22

  • Jesus said that we are going to be judged by God not just by our actions, but also by our heart attitudes.
  • The word “kill” here, being best understood as homicide, does not include the killing of animals, nor does it include the killing of a human sanctioned by God’s moral directives to good government.
  • Paul said in Romans that capital punishment and protecting citizens by defending a nation militarily is the responsibility and function of the government.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Romans 13:1-4

  • But what about when government is not protecting its citizens, especially the most vulnerable?
  • To kill the unborn is to murder innocent human life. To kill the elderly and sick is to murder innocent human life.
  • In the Bible, the unborn respond to circumstances in their surroundings.

41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Luke 1:41

 

  • David described God knowing him and forming him in the womb.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

Psalm 139:13-17

  • The Bible treats babies not yet born as exactly what they are- human life, with all the protections and value that should come with that trait. God defines what is a life and what is not.
  • It is so important to have a biblical worldview.
  • We must see the world the way that God does, and to allow His thoughts written down on paper to be the lenses through which we see every person and make every decision.
  • It is clear that we should value human life, and that does not just mean the unborn and the sick. It means every person we see.
  • True believers should not just see people as valuable because they are humans made in the image of God. True believers see people as eternal. Every person needs the Lord and to hear the Gospel.
  • We value life.
  • We value eternal life.
  • So here are some application Questions:
    • What are some ways that you should show that you value life today?
    • What are some ways that you should show that you value eternal life today?
    • Is there anyone that you are harboring hatred towards? Quickly go make that right!

Truth #2- God ordained government to protect innocence.  (Deuteronomy 19:4-10)

(4) ‘And this is the matter of the man-slayer who fleeth thither, and hath lived: He who smiteth his neighbour unknowingly, and is not hating him heretofore,

(5) even he who cometh in with his neighbour into a forest to hew wood, and his hand hath driven with an axe to cut the tree, and the iron hath slipped from the wood, and hath met his neighbour, and he hath died—he doth flee unto one of these cities, and hath lived,

(6) lest the redeemer of blood pursue after the man-slayer when his heart is hot, and hath overtaken him (because the way is great), and hath smitten him—the life, and he hath no sentence of death, for he is not hating him heretofore;

(7) therefore I am commanding thee, saying, Three cities thou dost separate to thee.

Deu 19:4-7

  • This passage describes how the nation of Israel was to deal with circumstances where someone was killed but the death was accidental and not premeditated but caused by a person.
    • God designated that there would be cities of refuge where such a person could go and live a relatively normal life without fear of a “redeemer of blood” pursuing and avenging the death.
    • This term “redeemer of blood” has been the subject of some debate.
      • Some think it means a close kinsman who takes on the role.
      • Others think of it as a town executor.
      • Either way, if it was determined that the person was innocent, he could be protected for an extended period of time by staying in that city of refuge.
    • According to the Explore the Bible curriculum,

“The avenger of blood could not touch him as long as he remained in that place, but if he left it, he could be slain. When the current high priest died, however, the manslayer was no longer confined to the city of refuge; he could go back home.”

  • But notice what happened if he left the city of refuge…

(26) ‘And if the man-slayer at all go out from the border of the city of his refuge whither he fleeth,

(27) and the redeemer of blood hath found him at the outside of the border of the city of his refuge, and the redeemer of blood hath slain the man-slayer, blood is not for him;

(28) for in the city of his refuge he doth dwell till the death of the chief priest; and after the death of the chief priest doth the man-slayer turn back unto the city of his possession.

Numbers 35:26-28

  • God values human life and he knows we do, too.
  • God made a plan through governmental means to deal with how His people were to treat difficult situations.
  • All people value some human life, even if they don’t value all human life.
  • This is certainly the case with those who are close to someone who dies in some accidental way.
    • I know missionaries who must be careful driving because if they are in an accident where someone is seriously injured or killed, even if they were innocent, they could easily be seen as guilty, thrown in jail, and even killed. These are not new problems, and they exist to this day.
  • It is not our job to avenge the deaths of those who have been murdered. The government provides a means of achieving justice.
  • God is the one who will ultimately rightly judge. On a personal level, we must be willing to forgive.

8 And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers; 9 If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the Lord thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three: 10 That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.

Deuteronomy 19:8-10

  • God tells the people of Israel that with continued obedience they will enter the land and defeat it.
  • The border would be extended by their faith in God to take it with the borders that he gave them. (See Deuteronomy 11:24-25).
  • When they do obey and go in and conquer, He will make an additional three cities a city of refuge, for a total of nine cities with that status.
    • There needed to be this many so that there would be access to a city of refuge by the whole nation of Israel.
    • He told them that the purpose for this is “that innocent blood be not shed in thy land”.
  • He ordained the government of these cities to follow his laws and obey his commands so that the innocent would be protected.
  • God desires true justice, because He is just. He is also gracious and merciful to us.
  • Several contrasts can be made to the cities of refuge and salvation that is found in Jesus Christ, according to Dwayne McCary.
    • A person fled to a city of refuge because he was innocent, while we flee to Jesus Christ because we are guilty.
    • The elders of the city investigated the situation to look for innocence, but we know that we are guilty and deserve punishment.
    • To stay alive the innocent person must stay in the city. Those of us in Christ are saved and don’t have to fear losing our salvation.
  • Take a few moments to thank God for the salvation that we have in Christ.
  • Is there anything in my life that I am doing that is unjust?

Truth #3- God ordained government to punish the guilty.  (Deuteronomy 19:11-13)

11 But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities: 12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.

Deuteronomy 19:11-12

  • It may seem very obvious to say that the Bible is against murder.
  • God values human life as a separate category.
  • It is not meant for us to have the ability to take a human life.
  • The context of these verses, as we have seen, is continued instruction to Israel about cities of refuge.
  • Cities of refuge were intended to be used by people who were involved in accidental deaths, or manslaughter, fleeing the wrath of people who wanted revenge or who were responsible for prosecution and execution.
  • The danger of having cities of refuge is that they could be used by people who were guilty of homicide, not manslaughter.
  • The instruction to the leaders of these cities was that they were to investigate the claims of those who entered their city for refuge. People lie. Especially people who have the moral scruples to murder. It was up to these leaders to verify those claims.
  • If the person claiming to be innocent was guilty, he or she would be dealt with as a murderer.
  • The government of those cities was ordained to execute justice on that murderer.

13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.

Deuteronomy 19:13

  • This particular verse is referencing the person that has been guilty of murder, has fled to a city of refuge, has been investigated by officials in that city and found guilty. There are three components to this verse.
  1. They should not pity him. Why? He is guilty. He has brought this consequence on himself. It may seem natural to pity a person who has been sentenced to death because of murder, but if they are guilty the city must go through with its responsibility to hand out justice. This is the role of government.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Romans 13:3-4

  1. They should do justly. In this context it means they should hand him over to the person who is executing justice in his case. When it comes to human life, God values it so highly that he must punish evil doers that take life.
  2. Blessing from God is at stake. He says that they should do the first two components of this verse “that it may go well with thee.” God will not continue to bless a people who is being unjust in how they handle human life.

A Civic Application

  • We live in a country where we as citizens get a personal say and have a personal stake in the way that the country is governed.
  • As believers we should take that stewardship seriously.
  • Justice for human life, for the unborn, for the most vulnerable among us, should be a top priority for us in the voting booth.
  • Treating the poor with dignity and helping them to have ways to live and take care of themselves where possible should be of utmost importance to us.
  • We should do justly in our civic activity.

A Personal Application

  • An appropriate verse here is Micah 6:8 which says,

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Micah 6:8

  • There is a tension between doing justly and loving mercy. There is a place for both. Walking humbly with God is key for making sure that justice and mercy both exist in our lives.

Conclusion:

We can properly value life when we understand three truths about God’s attitudes and actions regarding human life.

Truth #1- God hates murder.  (Deut. 5:17)

Truth #2- God ordained government to protect innocence.  (Deuteronomy 19:4-10)

Truth #3- God ordained government to punish the guilty.  (Deuteronomy 19:11-13)

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