Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXI: Discipling Others On Caring For Their Neighbors
(Deuteronomy 21:1-22:12)
  1. Introduction
    1. Jesus said that all the Law was fulfilled in the command to love the Lord with the totality of one's mind and heart, and to love his neighbor as himself, cf. Matthew 22:36-40.
    2. As such, the believer in any dispensation is responsible to look out for the welfare of his neighbor, and do his part to protect and help his neighbor as Deuteronomy 21:1-22:12 reveals.
  2. Discipling Others On Caring For Their Neighbors, Deuteronomy 21:1-22:12.
    1. Just before his death, Moses addressed Israel on her need to heed the Law for God's blessing, Deut. 1:1-5.
    2. A part of that address mentioned various duties one was to have toward his neighbor's welfare, and the details of those duties reveal a comprehensive ATTITUDE of caring for one's neighbor as follows:
      1. Moses taught God held people in a city responsible for events that occurred within its area of influence:
        1. It was possible that an individual could be found slain near a city in Israel, Deuteronomy 21:1.
        2. In such a case, the elders of the city closest to the site of the crime were to make an atonement by sacrifice so God would not hold the city responsible for murder, Deuteronomy 21:2-9.
        3. Thus, God wanted people living in a city to sense their responsibility for events in its surrounding lands as city dwellers enjoyed the livelihood benefits that the outlying lands provided them.
      2. Moses taught God held families responsible to accept outsiders who were incorporated into the family:
        1. If a man took a woman in marriage under any condition, even that of a woman captured in war, he was to respect her rights to (a) a time of adjustment to her new family order (21:10-13), (b) to self respect (21:14) and (c) to a heritage through sons born to her in the family order, Deut. 21:15-17.
        2. Thus, foreigners to a family unit, once incorporated into that unit, were to be given equal treatment with the other members of that family unit. "Outsiders" were thus to be respected and beloved!
      3. Moses taught God held parents were responsible to address the behavior of their children, 21:18-21:
        1. If parents found themselves unable to control the behavior of a son in their home, since he would thus become a menace to society, he was to be turned over to the city elders for execution, 21:18-21.
        2. There is no evidence this was ever practiced, but God displayed how He wanted parents to sense their responsibility to check the behavior of their children to the benefit of the society around them.
      4. Moses taught God held the community to respect the humanity of even its worst criminals, 21:22-23:
        1. If a man were executed in punishment, his body was to be buried soon after hanging lest the birds desecrate the body to its further shame, Deuteronomy 21:22-23. (An exception to this rule is given in 2 Samuel 21:1-14 where a national atonement was made via the prolonged exposure of bodies. Yet, note that Rizpeh showed respect to the dead men by preserving their bodies from scavengers.)
        2. Thus, every person, even the wicked, was to be treated with respect as he existed in God's image.
      5. Moses taught the people were responsible to protect the possessions of their vulnerable neighbors.
        1. A man was to take precautions to help save his neighbor's possessions from loss, Deut. 22:1-4.
        2. Thus, God expected the people to respect and protect their neighbors' properties.
      6. Moses taught they were to look out for the welfare of their neighbors even in life's details:
        1. God called the people of Israel to sense their responsibility for how they affected the morality of others around them by how they dressed before others, Deut. 22:5; 22:12 with Numbers 15:37-41.
        2. God called Israel to protect her future food sources, Deut. 22:6-7 & Bib. Know. Com., O. T., p. 302.
        3. God called His people to assume responsibility for accidents in their own homes, Deut. 22:8.
        4. God called His people to watch their testimony in all their actions before pagans, Deut. 22:9-11. In how they sowed their fields, in how they harnassed their animals for plowing or in what kinds of material they donned as clothes, they were to signify their unique submission to the Creator, Ibid.
Lesson: God led Moses to give instructions on the OVERSIGHT of the WELFARE of all that was around them, for they were to sense their RESPONSIBILITY for the welfare of all their neighbors!

Application: In teaching other believers or our children, etc., we need to relate that God expects them to LOVE others in such a way that they RESPONSIBLY look out for everything that is around them!