SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
14:1 You are children of the Lord your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave your forehead bald for the sake of the dead. 2 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. He has chosen you to be his people, prized above all others on the face of the earth.
3 You must not eat any forbidden thing. 4 These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the ibex, the gazelle, the deer, the wild goat, the antelope, the wild oryx, and the mountain sheep. 6 You may eat any animal that has hooves divided into two parts and that chews the cud. 7 However, you may not eat the following animals among those that chew the cud or those that have divided hooves: the camel, the hare, and the rock badger. (Although they chew the cud, they do not have divided hooves and are therefore ritually impure to you.) 8 Also, the pig is ritually impure to you; though it has divided hooves, it does not chew the cud. You may not eat their meat or even touch their remains.
9 These you may eat from among water creatures: anything with fins and scales you may eat, 10 but whatever does not have fins and scales you may not eat; it is ritually impure to you.
11 All ritually clean birds you may eat. 12 These are the ones you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 13 the kite, the black kite, the dayyah after its species, 14 every raven after its species, 15 the ostrich, the owl, the seagull, the falcon after its species, 16 the little owl, the long-eared owl, the white owl, 17 the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the cormorant, 18 the stork, the heron after its species, the hoopoe, and the bat.
19 And any swarming winged thing is impure to you—they may not be eaten. 20 You may eat any winged creature that is clean. 21 You may not eat any corpse, though you may give it to the resident foreigner who is living in your villages and he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. You are a people holy to the Lord your God. Do not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
22 You must be certain to tithe all the produce of your seed that comes from the field year after year. 23 In the presence of the Lord your God, in the place he chooses to locate his name, you must eat from the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. 24 When he blesses you, if the place where he chooses to locate his name is distant, 25 you may convert the tithe into money, secure the money, and travel to the place the Lord your God chooses for himself. 26 Then you may spend the money however you wish for cattle, sheep, wine, beer, or whatever you desire. You and your household may eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and enjoy it. 27 As for the Levites in your villages, you must not ignore them, for they have no allotment or inheritance along with you. 28 At the end of every three years you must bring all the tithe of your produce, in that very year, and you must store it up in your villages. 29 Then the Levites (because they have no allotment or inheritance with you), the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows of your villages may come and eat their fill so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work you do.
15:1 At the end of every seven years you must declare a cancellation of debts. 2 This is the nature of the cancellation: Every creditor must remit what he has loaned to another person; he must not force payment from his fellow Israelite, for it is to be recognized as “the Lord’s cancellation of debts.” 3 You may exact payment from a foreigner, but whatever your fellow Israelite owes you, you must remit. 4 However, there should not be any poor among you, for the Lord will surely bless you in the land that he is giving you as an inheritance, 5 if you carefully obey him by keeping all these commandments that I am giving you today. 6 For the Lord your God will bless you just as he has promised; you will lend to many nations but will not borrow from any, and you will rule over many nations but they will not rule over you.
7 If a fellow Israelite from one of your villages in the land that the Lord your God is giving you should be poor, you must not harden your heart or be insensitive to his impoverished condition. 8 Instead, you must be sure to open your hand to him and generously lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful lest you entertain the wicked thought that the seventh year, the year of cancellation of debts, has almost arrived, and your attitude be wrong toward your impoverished fellow Israelite and you do not lend him anything; he will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be regarded as having sinned. 10 You must by all means lend to him and not be upset by doing it, for because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you attempt. 11 There will never cease to be some poor people in the land; therefore, I am commanding you to make sure you open your hand to your fellow Israelites who are needy and poor in your land.
12 If your fellow Hebrew—whether male or female—is sold to you and serves you for six years, then in the seventh year you must let that servant go free. 13 If you set them free, you must not send them away empty-handed. 14 You must supply them generously from your flock, your threshing floor, and your winepress—as the Lord your God has blessed you, you must give to them. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore, I am commanding you to do this thing today. 16 However, if the servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your household, since he is well off with you, 17 you shall take an awl and pierce a hole through his ear to the door. Then he will become your servant permanently (this applies to your female servant as well). 18 You should not consider it difficult to let him go free, for he will have served you for six years, twice the time of a hired worker; the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.
19 You must set apart for the Lord your God every firstborn male born to your herds and flocks. You must not work the firstborn of your bulls or shear the firstborn of your flocks. 20 You and your household must eat them annually before the Lord your God in the place he chooses. 21 If one of them has any kind of blemish—lameness, blindness, or anything else—you may not offer it as a sacrifice to the Lord your God. 22 You may eat it in your villages, whether you are ritually impure or clean, just as you would eat a gazelle or an ibex. 23 However, you must not eat its blood; you must pour it out on the ground like water.