SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
16:1 Observe the month Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in that month he brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 You must sacrifice the Passover animal (from the flock or the herd) to the Lord your God in the place where he chooses to locate his name. 3 You must not eat any yeast with it; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast, as symbolic of affliction, for you came out of Egypt hurriedly. You must do this so you will remember for the rest of your lives the day you came out of the land of Egypt. 4 There must not be a scrap of yeast within your land for seven days, nor can any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until the next morning. 5 You may not sacrifice the Passover in just any of your villages that the Lord your God is giving you, 6 but you must sacrifice it in the evening in the place where he chooses to locate his name, at sunset, the time of day you came out of Egypt. 7 You must cook and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses; you may return the next morning to your tents. 8 You must eat bread made without yeast for six days. The seventh day you are to hold an assembly for the Lord your God; you must not do any work on that day.
9 You must count seven weeks; you must begin to count them from the time you begin to harvest the standing grain. 10 Then you are to celebrate the Feast of Weeks before the Lord your God with the voluntary offering that you will bring, in proportion to how he has blessed you. 11 You shall rejoice before him—you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slaves, the Levites in your villages, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows among you—in the place where the Lord chooses to locate his name. 12 Furthermore, remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and so be careful to observe these statutes.
13 You must celebrate the Feast of Shelters for seven days, at the time of the grain and grape harvest. 14 You are to rejoice in your festival, you, your son, your daughter, your male and female slaves, the Levites, the resident foreigners, the orphans, and the widows who are in your villages. 15 You are to celebrate the festival seven days before the Lord your God in the place he chooses, for he will bless you in all your productivity and in whatever you do; so you will indeed rejoice! 16 Three times a year all your males must appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Shelters; and they must not appear before him empty-handed. 17 Every one of you must give as you are able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.
18 You must appoint judges and civil servants for each tribe in all your villages that the Lord your God is giving you, and they must judge the people fairly. 19 You must not pervert justice or show favor. Do not take a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and distort the words of the righteous. 20 You must pursue justice alone so that you may live and inherit the land the Lord your God is giving you.
21 You must not plant any kind of tree as a sacred Asherah pole near the altar of the Lord your God which you build for yourself. 22 You must not erect a sacred pillar, a thing the Lord your God detests.
17:1 You must not sacrifice to him a bull or sheep that has a blemish or any other defect, because that is considered offensive to the Lord your God. 2 Suppose a man or woman is discovered among you in one of your villages that the Lord your God is giving you who sins before the Lord your God and breaks his covenant 3 by serving other gods and worshiping them—the sun, moon, or any other heavenly bodies that I have not permitted you to worship. 4 When it is reported to you and you hear about it, you must investigate carefully. If it is indeed true that such a disgraceful thing is being done in Israel, 5 you must bring to your city gates that man or woman who has done this wicked thing—that very man or woman—and you must stone that person to death. 6 At the testimony of two or three witnesses the person must be executed. They cannot be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 7 The witnesses must be first to begin the execution, and then all the people are to join in afterward. In this way you will purge the evil from among you.
8 If a matter is too difficult for you to judge—bloodshed, legal claim, or assault—matters of controversy in your villages—you must leave there and go up to the place the Lord your God chooses. 9 You will go to the Levitical priests and the judge in office in those days and seek a solution; they will render a verdict. 10 You must then do as they have determined at that place the Lord chooses. Be careful to do just as you are taught. 11 You must do what you are instructed, and the verdict they pronounce to you, without fail. Do not deviate right or left from what they tell you. 12 The person who pays no attention to the priest currently serving the Lord your God there, or to the judge—that person must die, so that you may purge evil from Israel. 13 Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and not be so presumptuous again.
14 When you come to the land the Lord your God is giving you and take it over and live in it and then say, “I will select a king like all the nations surrounding me,” 15 you must select without fail a king whom the Lord your God chooses. From among your fellow citizens you must appoint a king—you may not designate a foreigner who is not one of your fellow Israelites. 16 Moreover, he must not accumulate horses for himself or allow the people to return to Egypt to do so, for the Lord has said you must never again return that way. 17 Furthermore, he must not marry many wives lest his affections turn aside, and he must not accumulate much silver and gold. 18 When he sits on his royal throne he must make a copy of this law on a scroll given to him by the Levitical priests. 19 It must be with him constantly, and he must read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and observe all the words of this law and these statutes and carry them out. 20 Then he will not exalt himself above his fellow citizens or turn from the commandments to the right or left, and he and his descendants will enjoy many years ruling over his kingdom in Israel.