Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
It is not now necessary to trace the historical connection of this fragment of a verse. It forms an appropriate motto and admonition for the close of the year.
I. The close of a year is a most significant time for the taking of spiritual stock. It is well to have a clearing out, even if one is afraid he may be suffocated with the lifted dust Many a Christian man is hindered in growth by reason of his proud trying to retain an old experience, of which he can make nothing valuable, but which he thinks he is bound to defend for consistency's sake.
II. This, again, is a good time for us to give over lackadaisical complainings about short chances in the past. You will not have to take the same chances again. "Ye shall henceforth return no more by that way" of youth. But does anybody really want to do that? Victor Hugo confessed to a friend that the most disagreeable advance in age to him had been from thirty-nine to forty. "But," said his companion, "I should think it a great deal brighter to be forty than fifty." "Not at all," replied Hugo; "forty years is the old age of youth, while fifty is the youth of old age."
III. It is well to keep a clear look-out for what is still ahead. The glory of every true life is in the time to come. God has not yet exhausted Himself in apocalypses of splendid radiance to His waiting people. There is that in the distance "which eye hath not seen nor ear heard." And wise men may well think of readiness to make the great journey and meet the revelations.
IV. We ought to learn to estimate results and forget processes. It is not necessary to talk continually about faded flowers, and departed joys, and thwarted hopes. It is wiser to let the dead past bury its dead.
V. The close of the year is the time in which to inquire after unfinished work. We should bring our unfulfilled resolutions to God, and ask Him to grant us time to complete them.
C. S. Robinson, Sermons on Neglected Texts, p. 215.
References: Deuteronomy 17:16.—H. Batchelor, The Incarnation of God, p. 173; W. M. Taylor, Contrary Winds, p. 93; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 374. Deut 17—Parker, vol. iv., p. 264. Deuteronomy 18:9-19.—E. White, Congregationalist, vol. i., p. 161. Deuteronomy 18:13.—J. Van Oosterzee, Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 403.
If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,
And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.
If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;
And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment:
And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:
According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.
And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.
When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;
Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.