SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
18:1 The Levitical priests—indeed, the entire tribe of Levi—will have no allotment or inheritance with Israel; they may eat the burnt offerings of the Lord and of his inheritance. 2 They will have no inheritance in the midst of their fellow Israelites; the Lord alone is their inheritance, just as he had told them. 3 This shall be the priests’ fair allotment from the people who offer sacrifices, whether bull or sheep—they must give to the priest the shoulder, the jowls, and the stomach. 4 You must give them the best of your grain, new wine, and olive oil, as well as the best of your wool when you shear your flocks. 5 For the Lord your God has chosen them and their sons from all your tribes to stand and serve in his name permanently. 6 Suppose a Levite comes by his own free will from one of your villages, from any part of Israel where he is living, to the place the Lord chooses 7 and serves in the name of the Lord his God like his fellow Levites who stand there before the Lord. 8 He must eat the same share they do, despite any profits he may gain from the sale of his family’s inheritance.
9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. 10 There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, anyone who practices divination, an omen reader, a soothsayer, a sorcerer, 11 one who casts spells, one who conjures up spirits, a practitioner of the occult, or a necromancer. 12 Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord, and because of these detestable things the Lord your God is about to drive them out from before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 Those nations that you are about to dispossess listen to omen readers and diviners, but the Lord your God has not given you permission to do such things.
15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you—from your fellow Israelites; you must listen to him. 16 This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the Lord your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore or see this great fire anymore lest we die.” 17 The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. 18 I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. 19 I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name.
20 “But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in my name that I have not authorized him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 21 Now if you say to yourselves, ‘How can we tell that a message is not from the Lord?’— 22 whenever a prophet speaks in my name and the prediction is not fulfilled, then I have not spoken it; the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him.”
19:1 When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he is about to give you and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and houses, 2 you must set apart for yourselves three cities in the middle of your land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession. 3 You shall build a roadway and divide into thirds the whole extent of your land that the Lord your God is providing as your inheritance; anyone who kills another person should flee to the closest of these cities. 4 Now this is the law pertaining to one who flees there in order to live, if he has accidentally killed another without hating him at the time of the accident. 5 Suppose he goes with someone else to the forest to cut wood and when he raises the ax to cut the tree, the ax head flies loose from the handle and strikes his fellow worker so hard that he dies. The person responsible may then flee to one of these cities to save himself. 6 Otherwise the blood avenger will chase after the killer in the heat of his anger, eventually overtake him, and kill him, though this is not a capital case since he did not hate him at the time of the accident. 7 Therefore, I am commanding you to set apart for yourselves three cities. 8 If the Lord your God enlarges your borders as he promised your ancestors and gives you all the land he pledged to them, 9 and then you are careful to observe all these commandments I am giving you today (namely, to love the Lord your God and to always walk in his ways), then you must add three more cities to these three. 10 You must not shed innocent blood in your land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, for that would make you guilty. 11 However, suppose a person hates someone else and stalks him, attacks him, kills him, and then flees to one of these cities. 12 The elders of his own city must send for him and remove him from there to deliver him over to the blood avenger to die. 13 You must not pity him, but purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you.
14 You must not encroach on your neighbor’s property, which will have been defined in the inheritance you will obtain in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
15 A single witness may not testify against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legally established only on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 16 If a false witness testifies against another person and accuses him of a crime, 17 then both parties to the controversy must stand before the Lord, that is, before the priests and judges who will be in office in those days. 18 The judges will thoroughly investigate the matter, and if the witness should prove to be false and to have given false testimony against the accused, 19 you must do to him what he had intended to do to the accused. In this way you will purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear and become afraid to keep doing such evil among you. 21 You must not show pity; the principle will be a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot.
20:1 When you go to war against your enemies and see chariotry and troops who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you. 2 As you move forward for battle, the priest will approach and say to the soldiers, 3 “Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, 4 for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory.” 5 Moreover, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you has built a new house and not dedicated it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else dedicate it. 6 Or who among you has planted a vineyard and not benefited from it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else benefit from it. 7 Or who among you has become engaged to a woman but has not married her? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else marry her.” 8 In addition, the officers are to say to the troops, “Who among you is afraid and fainthearted? He may go home so that he will not make his fellow soldier’s heart as fearful as his own.” 9 Then, when the officers have finished speaking, they must appoint unit commanders to lead the troops.