Today I believe Holy Spirit was teaching me the following lessons from Deuteronomy 17:1-13:
Deuteronomy 17:1 (NIV)
1 Do not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him.
On verse 1: God alone is perfect and worthy of the perfect offering. Praise God that when we were unable to give God the perfect sacrifice because of our sinful flaws and defects, God sent His Son -- without flaw or defect -- to be the perfect sacrifice for us.
Now that God has given us His best in Jesus Christ, let's give Him our best as well. Whenever you serve or offer God anything, don't give God the scraps or the leftovers. Give Him your best. God made you and saved you so that you could give your best to Him.
Deuteronomy 17:4 (NIV)
4 [if]...this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel,
On verses 2-7: Moses tells the Israelites that when anyone is accused of worshiping an idol, they are to investigate the matter thoroughly and not stone the person except on the testimony of at least two or three reliable witnesses. To discourage people from acting as false witnesses, it is the witnesses who are to throw the first stone.
What can we learn from this? Two lessons:
(1) It shows that God looks very seriously at idolatry. When we worship anything other than God, the penalty we deserve for our idolatry is death. All of heaven can bear witness to our idolatry, but praise God that Jesus Christ came and died in our place. The cross is proof that while God's wrath against idolatry is great, His love for us is even greater.
(2) Don't be quick to throw stones at others. When you think someone has wronged you or wronged others, investigate the matter thoroughly and make sure you understand the situation before you try to accuse others or condemn them with your words.
Deuteronomy 17:9 (NIV)
9 Go to the priests, who are Levites, and to the judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of them and they will give you the verdict.
On verses 8-13: Here Moses tells the Israelites what to do if they have problems or disputes that are too complicated for them to resolve on their own: they are to bring those disputes to the priests and to the judge of that town. They are to respect the advice and decisions that the priests and judges give.
What can we learn from this? When I have problems that I can't solve on my own, I should bring them to my church leaders and have a teachable attitude toward the advice and directions that they give. As verse 10 says, "Be careful to do everything they direct you to do" (v10). It takes humility, trust in God and a teachable attitude to obey your church leaders, but like Naaman in 2 Kings 5:9-15, you will be blessed if you do. God will honour the faith and humility with which you took the advice of your God-given leaders and bless you as a result.