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Chinese7/8/2005English
經文:申命記廿一至廿二章
鑰節:「人若犯該死的罪……你將他掛在木頭上……被掛的人是在上帝面前受咒詛的。」(21:22~23)
提要

        這兩章再次提醒我們,以色列的民法和刑法不論看起來多麼瑣碎,仍然是上帝的命令,必須受到尊敬。其中許多條例都帶有憐憫和人道的精神(22:6~7),例如:愛惜和關心鄰舍的福利,尊重他的產業(22:1~4);防護孩童和他人的安全,就如在平房頂上圍欄杆,免得有人不慎跌落,就陷主人於罪,因為以色列人經常在屋頂上的平台(今天在中東仍然可見)款待客人、晾曬衣服、種植菜蔬。凡此種種都顯明上帝關切他人的福祉,我們也應如此。

        律法的原則是要確保作上帝選民之以色列國的安定、秩序、和潔淨。他們不隨從異邦的風俗以及對上帝的順服,甚至反映在他們的衣著上,例如在外衣四圍加上繸子(22:12),男女在外觀上必須有所區別(22:5)。上帝還吩咐他們要分別某些特定的事(例如不可使牛與不潔淨的驢一起耕地,22:10),這可能是象徵以色列人要遠離任何不潔淨的事。

        第六條誡命教導我們生命的尊嚴:「不可殺人」(出20:13)。在這堙A摩西指示以色列人如何處理兇手不明的凶殺案,將代罪的母牛犢處死是為了表明謀殺之行的嚴重性及罪過。在被殺的母牛犢以上洗手表示該城居民的無辜。這個儀式能帶來和平,因為這樣做防止了報血仇的人對城堛漲囥m施加報復。這個儀式也預表耶穌為祂百姓的罪污代受流血的刑罰。

        摩西繼續強調以色列民必須維護婚姻關係的聖潔。如果一個以色列男子想娶被擄的女子(迦南地以外的國民)為妻,那女子在結婚之前要先經過三十天的潔淨禮(21:12;參利14:8)。這表示她俘擄的地位已消除,得到作以色列人的權利。這個女子要受到尊重,並且,若她的丈夫不再要她,她也有自由可隨意離開。

        以色列的男子和女子都要保守自己的貞潔,擁護第七條誡命──禁止姦淫。上帝用嚴格的律法和嚴厲的刑罰防止破壞貞潔的事,因為上帝聖潔的國民要比他們周圍的國家有更高的道德。摩西使以色列人重溫這些規定,好使他們在迦南地展開新生活時能牢記不忘。

        摩西也處理了家庭關係的問題,例如作父親的不得隨自己的喜好混淆繼承雙份產業的長子權。當時重婚是被容許的(就像離婚,摩西是因男人的心硬才容許他們離婚),所以摩西所描述的例子可能是很平常的情形。在這件事上,上帝用祂的最高權柄維護兒子的權利,而限制父親的權柄,不使任何人受傷害,或被剝奪上帝所賜的地位和尊嚴。不過,上帝也授以父母親權柄,作祂的代表。第五誡(出20:12)像其他所有的誡命一樣,必須認真的順服。不孝順父母和咒詛父母就等於是褻瀆上帝。父母親的權柄是穩固社會的基礎。頑梗悖逆的兒子會使他的家庭,甚至整個上帝的國,蒙羞受辱。因此,在當時來說,對付一個不聽從管教、邪惡的悖逆之子,唯有將他用石頭打死:「這樣就把那惡從你們中間除掉」(21:21)。

        摩西描寫一種非常嚴重的罪刑──處死後被掛在樹上公開受辱,用來警惕他犯罪的代價。這個方法表示受刑者是受上帝的刑罰,被上帝審判和棄絕。摩西帶著上帝的預知說這話,因為這是一幅預言性的圖畫,表明彌賽亞也要如此死,甘願承擔我們的罪,為我們成了咒詛(加3:13;約19:38~40)。

禱告

        上帝啊,您已經在聖經堭狴亃z自己是完全聖潔的上帝。您告訴我們您恨惡罪。聖經也告訴我們您的獨生子被掛在木頭上承受羞辱,擔當了罪的刑罰,就是死。幫助我們從此能靠著基督過聖潔的生活。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Deuteronomy 21 & 22
Key Verse:“If a man has committed a sin… and you hang him on a tree, … he who is hanged is accursed of God.”(Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
Overview

        In these chapters, we are reminded that the civil and criminal laws of Israel, no matter how trivial they seem, are still the commands of God and therefore must be respected. Many laws have to do with being compassionate and humane to God’s creatures (22:6-7); having love and concern for the welfare of one’s neighbor, including respect for his property (22:1-4); and using caution to ensure the safety of children and others, such as making a small wall around the flat-roofed homes that none might fall off while upon it, bringing guilt upon the home-owner. The roofs were always in use (as they are still today in the Middle East) for entertaining guests, drying clothes, growing herbs and vegetables, etc. Just as God is concerned for the well being of others, so must we.

        The principle behind the laws was to ensure the stability, orderliness, and purity of Israel as the chosen and holy nation of the Lord. Their separation and submission to God was even reflected in their dress, such as the tassels around their outer garments (22:12) and the important distinction between the appearance of men and women (22:5). Then there was the command to keep certain things separated (e.g., an ox was not to be harnessed with an unclean donkey, 22:10); this possibly symbolized the separation Israel was to have with anything unclean.

        The sixth commandment teaches the sanctity of life; “You shall not murder” (Ex.20:13). Here Moses gave Israel the regulations concerning an unknown murderer. To show the seriousness and sinfulness of such an offense, a ceremonial execution was performed upon a substitionary heifer. The washing of hands over the slain heifer signified that the inhabitants of the town were innocent. This ritual would then result in keeping the peace, for it would prevent the blood-avenger from seeking vengeance upon the town’s people. This ritual prefigured the vicarious execution of Jesus for the blood-guiltiness and defilement of His people.

        Moses continued his discourse to stress the necessity of purity and the sanctity of marital relationships. If an Israelite man desired a captive woman (from outside of Canaan) for wife, she was to undergo a thirty-day period of ceremonial purification before the marriage (21:12; cf. Lev.14:8). This signified the removal of her captive status and her receiving the rights of an Israelite. She was to be treated honorable and, if not desired, she was to be set free.

        Both men and women of Israel were to be chaste and pure. The seventh commandment, forbidding adultery, was to be upheld. There were strict laws and severe penalties for any breach of chastity, for the distinctive and holy people of God were to have higher morals than the surrounding nations. Moses reviewed some of these regulations so Israel would remember them when they began their new life in Canaan.

        Moses also dealt with family relationships, such as the law concerning the right of the first-born son to receive the double portion of the inheritance, regardless of the father’s preference. Polygamy was tolerated (like divorce, this was allowed because of the hardness of men’s hearts); therefore, a situation such as Moses described was probably common. In this matter, god’s supreme authority upheld the son’s rights and limited the father’s authority, that none would suffer and be deprived of their God-given position and dignity. However, God ordained parental authority as representative of His own. The fifth commandment (Ex.20:12) was to be obeyed and taken just as seriously as all the others. To dishonor and curse one’s parents was equal to blasphemy. Parental authority was the foundation of a solid society. A disobedient, rebellious, and incorrigible son brought great shame and dishonor to his family and even to the whole covenant family of God. For persistent rebellion and wicked defiance there was no other choice but to stone him: “so you shall put away the evil person from among you” (21:21).

        Moses described a very serious penalty for sin against God – to be sentenced to death and hung upon a tree as a form of public disgrace and shame, serving as an example for others of the wages of sin. This method signified that the accused was accursed of God and was suffering divine judgment and rejection. Moses spoke these words with the foreknowledge of God, for this prophetically pictured the type of death the Messiah was to endure willingly in bearing our sins and becoming a curse for us (see Gal.3:13; see also John 19:28-40).

Prayer

        O God, You have revealed Yourself in the Bible and we know You are an intensely Holy God. Your word tells us that you hate sin. Your word also tells us that Your only begotten Son was hung on a tree suffering terrible shame, taking upon Himself the wages of sin which is death. Help us to live accordingly. Amen!


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