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Chinese7/10/2005English
經文:申命記廿五至廿六章
鑰節:「……要因耶和華你上帝所賜你和你家的一切福分歡樂。」(26:11)
提要

        人是按著上帝的形像造的,所以即使犯罪受罰,也不可剝奪他個人的尊嚴。摩西所定的體罰規則就相當尊重個人的尊嚴。施行任何懲罰之前,都要先由審判官主持公平、合法的審訊,才作出適當的判決。行刑時也要有審判官在一旁監督。笞責之限視犯罪輕重而定,但摩西規定責打不得超過四十下(四十代表審判),司法不只要講理也要講情(因為上帝是慈愛、有憐憫的),犯罪者受罰是應當的,但不可輕賤他(25:3)。後來我們看見猶太人拘守這條律法的字義,卻沒有表現出律法的精神(林後11:23~24)。

        摩西頒佈的下一條律法是,牛在場上工作時不可籠住牠的嘴。我們的確應該憐恤動物,不過,使徒保羅對這條律法的用意提出一個問題:「難道上帝所掛念的是牛嗎﹖」(林前9:9)。這條律法要照字面來遵守,但也不可忽略它更寬廣的意義:「工人得工價是應當的」(提前5:18)。保羅是指上帝的工人和教導上帝話語的人都應當得享信徒對上帝的物質奉獻。

        摩西進一步解釋贖主的角色,他不只要贖回兄弟的產業,若他的弟兄死前沒有兒子,他還要娶他寡嫂,給他的哥哥留後。這樣做就是順服上帝,保持家庭和社會的和諧,並且,最重要的是,使他兄長的名字和產業在以色列中不致斷絕。這是對逝世的兄長仁慈、尊崇的表現,但並非強制性的律法(25:7)。如果作親戚的拒絕為他的兄弟如此行,死者的寡婦就有權公開羞辱他,脫去他的鞋,見證他規避責任的行為(參得4:7),他在以色列社會中也像是個被逐的人一樣。這條律法的重要含意在路得記的故事堿搊o很清楚。守寡的摩押女子路得嫁給他丈夫的近親波阿斯延續了彌賽亞的譜系(得4:17;太1:5)。

        摩西要確保以色列人在商業上的誠實、正直,他警告生意人不可用不公平的法碼。貪婪的奸商常會在他的袋子堜顐漅M法碼:大的法碼用來購入,小的法碼用來賣出(參摩8:5)。這種邪惡的行為是上帝所憎惡的;它一點也不是愛鄰舍之舉,純粹是自私自利的行為。誠實、可敬的商人用公平、標準的法碼,必在地上享長壽。

        在廿六章,摩西將百姓的注意力轉到與敬拜有關的重要層面上。一旦他們在應許之地安頓下來,他們就要來到上帝的會幕,獻上初熟的土產(供祭司之用;民18:12~13)。他們要存感恩的心,公開對上帝作信心的宣告,追溯他們卑微的出身、上帝大能的拯救、表明他們對上帝的倚靠、並感謝上帝賜他們這塊土地。在對上帝奉獻時,敬拜者也要「歡樂」(26:11,即今天的鑰節),永遠記得,一切美善之物,包括他們自己的生命,都來自上帝。

        另一個敬拜上帝的表現是要每三年忠心的奉獻十分之一幫助利未人、寄居者、和孤兒寡婦(26:12)。作這個奉獻時也要伴隨信心的告白,並祈求上帝繼續施恩祝福他們。慷慨資助上帝的工作就是承認祂為一切美善之物的源頭,並感激對祂的祝福。

        摩西在演說的末了,再次提到以色列人與上帝所立的約(26:16~19)。以色列人應允順服他們的上帝,上帝也仁慈的認以色列為祂特別的聖民,應許祝福忠心遵守此約的人:「又使你得稱讚、美名、尊榮、超乎祂所造的萬民之上……」(26:19)。今天,新約耶穌的信徒也從上帝得著相同的恩典和祝福:「但你們是聖潔的國度,是屬上帝的子民,要叫你們宣揚那召你們出黑暗,入奇妙光明者的美德。」(彼前2:9)

禱告

        主上帝,我們讚美您,因為一切美善之事都是從您而來。謝謝您藉著耶穌的寶血為我們立了新約。願我們接受並信守這永恆的約定。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Deuteronomy 25 & 26
Key Verse:“So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house…”(Deuteronomy 26:11)
Overview

        Since mankind was made in the image of God, he is never to be deprived of his individual human dignity, even when being punished for crime. Moses regulated corporal punishment with this thought in mind; the sanctity of the individual. Any punishment was to be preceded by a legal and fair trial presided over by a judge, resulting in a just and deserving sentence. The punishment was to be personally supervised by the judge himself. The severity of the beating depended upon the offense, but Moses ruled that it was never to exceed 40 lashes (the number representing judgment). Justice was not only to be based upon the law but upon mercy as well (for God is loving and merciful), that the offender, while being punished, might not be humiliated (25:3). Later we see that the Jews kept the letter of this law, but not the same spirit (2 Cor.11:23-24).

        The next law Moses propounded was that Israel was not to muzzle an ox while it was working. It is true we are to be compassionate to animals, yet, as the Apostle Paul asked concerning the intent of this law, “is it oxen God is concerned about? (1 Cor.9:9). As well as taking this literally, we see it is a proverbial expression meaning: “the laborer is worthy of his wages” (1 Tim. 5:18). Paul was referring to the minister and teacher of the Word who deserves to partake of the offerings to God.

        Moses expounded upon the role of the kinsman-redeemer who was not only to redeem a brother’s lost inheritance, but also to provide for him an heir by taking his window as a wife if he died before having a child. In such a way, the kinsman would be obeying God, keeping harmony in the family and the community and, most importantly, perpetuating the brother’s name and inheritance within Israel. This was the honorable and loving thing to do for a deceased brother, yet it was not compulsory (25:7). If the kinsman refused, the widowed wife had the right to publicly shame him. Removing his sands attested to his shirked responsibility (see Ruth 4:7) and he would be like an outcast in the community. An important implication of this law is clearly seen in the story of Ruth, the widowed Moabites who married her deceased husband’s kinsman, Boaz, perpetuating the line of the Messiah (Ruth 4:17; Matt.1:5).

        Moses sought to ensure the integrity of business affairs within Israel by warning against the use of unjust measures. A deceitful and covetous man would often carry two sets of weights in his bag: a large weight (literally “stone”) for buying and a lighter one for selling (cf. Amos 8:5). This wicked practice was an abomination to the Lord. It did not show love for one’s neighbor… only love for self. However, the honest and honorable businessman, having perfect and just weights, was promised a long life in the land.

        In chapter 26, Moses turned the people’s attention to an important area of worship once they were settled in the Promised Land. They were to come to God’s central sanctuary and offer Him their first-fruits (thus providing for the priesthood, Num.18:12-13). With thankful hearts they were to make a public confession of faith in God and attest to their humble origin, to God’s mighty deliverance, to their dependence upon Him, and to God’s goodness in giving them the land. Along with their presentation of the offering to the Lord, the worshippers were too rejoice (key verse, 26:11), always remembering that all good things come from the Lord, including themselves.

        Another act of worship was in faithfully giving a special tithe every third year to help provide for the Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows (26:12). It too was accompanied by a confession of faith and a petition for God’s continued favor and blessing. Giving generously to the work of God acknowledges that He is the Source and Giver of all good things and expresses thankfulness for His blessings.

        Moses ended this discourse by a ratification of the covenant in which Israel promised to obey their God (26:16-19). God then graciously and mercifully acknowledged Israel as His own special and holy people and promised the blessings of the covenant to the faithful: “He will set you high above all nations… in praise, in name, and in honor…” (26:19). The New Covenant followers of Jesus today have been granted the same mercies and blessings from God: “But you are… a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet.2:9).

Prayer

        Lord God, we praise You today, knowing that all good things come from You. Thank You for the New Covenant You’ve given us through the blood of Jesus. May we accept and be faithful to this eternal agreement.


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