Text: Deuteronomy 19:11-21 (KJV)
11 But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:
12 Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.
14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;
18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Key Verse: “But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.” – (Deuteronomy 19:11,12)
The twin sins of hatred and dishonesty constitute high percentage of evil befalling the world today. While hatred is responsible for huge death records, dishonesty account for collateral damage to individuals, organisations and states. Considering the destruction of lives and properties that hatred has caused in one of the countries in Africa, the parliament of that country in 2018, proposed a hate speech bill with death penalty for its offenders. This was done to reduce the menace of hatred in that country. Hatred is dangerous!
In our text, God reveals murder as a product of hatred and prescribes death as penalty. Although God instructed Israel to separate some cities for refuge into which slayers were permitted to flee, wilful murderers were precluded from that privilege. Also, removal of another person’s landmark in order to make fraudulent gain was forbidden. Such an act was a product of dishonesty. Bearing false witness was also forbidden.
To this extent, God required that every accusation be thoroughly investigated before an accused person could be condemned. Where an accusation was found to be baseless and malicious, however, God demanded that the false accuser be punished. In fact, He demanded that the punishment that should have been meted to the accused would be passed on to the false witness.
Murder from God’s perspective is not restricted to physical killings: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). We should endeavour to have genuine love for others. We must not allow the pains of offence to drag on in us as that will lead to hatred. We are instructed to love our enemies, bless those that curse us and pray for them that despitefully use and persecute us (Matthew 5:44).
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Beware! Hatred is a forerunner to murder.
THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: Jeremiah 31-32
DCLM Daily Manna was written by Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi; is the founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church situated at KM 42 on the busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Nigeria.
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