Dave Burnette's Commentary

Deuteronomy Chapter 12

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses 
Date Penned: (1407 BC)
Overview: To Remind and Rededicate Israel to the Lord (c 1-34)
Theme: Principles for Godly Living (c 5-28)
Message: Laws for Proper Worship (v 1-32)

Deuteronomy 12 Commentary

(12:2-3) Destroying Idols - When taking over a nation, the Israelites were supposed to destroy every pagan altar and idol in the land. God knew that the people would be tempted to change their beliefs if they started using those altars, so nothing was to remain that might tempt them to worship false gods. We, too, should ruthlessly find and remove any centers of false worship in our lives. This includes activities, attitudes, possessions, relationships, places, and habits--anything that tempts us to turn our hearts from God and do wrong. We should never flatter ourselves by thinking we're too strong to be tempted. Israel learned that lesson the hard way.

(12:12,18) A Pattern of Worship - The Israelites placed great emphasis on family worship. Whether offering a sacrifice or attending a great feast, families were often together. This gave children a healthy attitude toward worship, and it put extra meaning into it for adults. Watching a family member confess sin was just as important as celebrating a great holiday together. Although there are appropriate times to separate people by age, some of the most meaningful worship can be experienced only when shared by old and young

(12:13-14) Purity of Worship - The pagans offered sacrifices to their gods in many different locations. In contrast, the Israelites were only to offer sacrifices in the prescribed manner and in the prescribed places. This restriction was meant to ensure purity of worship for the nation of Israel. Later, they would neglect this injunction and offer sacrifices at the high places where pagan deities were worshiped. (See, for example, 2 Kings 23, where Josiah ended up destroying the other altars.) We should take steps to safeguard the purity of worship in our congregations.

(12:16) The Eating of Blood - Eating blood was forbidden for several reasons: (1) It was an integral part of the pagan practices of the land the Israelites were about to enter; (2) it represented life, which is sacred to God; (3) it reminded the people that life and strength come from God, not from drinking or eating blood; and (4) it was symbolic of the sacrifice that had to be made for sin. (For more on why eating blood was prohibited, see the note on Leviticus 17:14.)

(12:30-31) Avoiding Temptation - God did not want the Israelites even to ask about the pagan religions surrounding them. Idolatry completely permeated the land of Canaan. It was far too easy to get drawn into the subtle temptations of seemingly harmless practices. Sometimes curiosity can cause us to stumble. Knowledge of evil is harmful if the evil becomes too tempting to resist. To resist curiosity about harmful practices shows discretion and obedience.
(12:32) Adding or Subtracting From God's Word - Diminishing from God's commands is looking for an easy way around them. Adding to them sounds religious, but it can crush people with unnecessary requirements. Strangely enough, when we add one command, we often wind up subtracting another. For example, the Pharisees in Jesus' day added many restrictions to the Sabbath commandment. But by trying to keep Jesus from healing on the Sabbath (see John 9), they were breaking God's commandment to "love thy neighbour as thyself" (Leviticus 19:18). God gave his laws to point people to him. Making them simpler or more difficult than they really are gets in the way of God's purpose and makes it harder for people to see him clearly.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Beware of Idols

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Deuteronomy with Chapter 12 and we see Moses continues giving Principles to teach Israel. Today, He gives laws for proper worship, in particular, that there is only one altar for sacrifice. Moses saw first hand the affects of idol worship with the former generation of Israel and warns this new generation of the consequences of other gods and other worship. In making application I am reminded of when I entered into the workforce. The company I worked for wanted you to worship and make sacrifice to them. Working on Sundays, holidays, with many hours and many rewards creating a "work family" that I learned when I advance to upper management. The company would relocate you when you advanced to lower management to "break ties" with your surrounding family creating a more dedicated worker. I fell for their "strategy" and it was only till I made it to assistant to the vice president did I see what they were doing and what I had done. I had "fallen" for the same thing Israel did. Worshiping another god making sacrifice on their alter. Today false gods come in the form of careers, finances, leisure, relationships, the list goes on and on ...but the simple fact is anything that comes between you and God will become an idol to you. How about you? Is there anything that comes between you and Him. Let us learn from today's text and Only Worship the God of the Bible.


Deuteronomy 12

Deuteronomy 12

 1These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.

 2Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:

 3And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

 4Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.

 5But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:

 6And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:

 7And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.

 8Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

 9For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.

 10But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;

 11Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD:

 12And ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates; forasmuch as he hath no part nor inheritance with you.

 13Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest:

 14But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.

 15Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.

 16Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.

 17Thou mayest not eat within thy gates the tithe of thy corn, or of thy wine, or of thy oil, or the firstlings of thy herds or of thy flock, nor any of thy vows which thou vowest, nor thy freewill offerings, or heave offering of thine hand:

 18But thou must eat them before the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates: and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God in all that thou puttest thine hands unto.

 19Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon the earth.

 20When the LORD thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.

 21If the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the LORD hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.

 22Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike.

 23Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.

 24Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water.

 25Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.

 26Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose:

 27And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh.

 28Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.

 29When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land;

 30Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

 31Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.

 32What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.