Do it for God

Deuteronomy 23

Jerry A Collins




v        To what lengths should we go to maintain holiness?

v        What can make us incompatible with God?

v        How can we participate in God’s holiness?


When we mention incompatibility we mean ‘unable to live together in harmony’. That is an excuse many use to end a marriage or to dismiss a colleague or to fire a coach. Incompatibility can also exist between people and God. For people associated with the blasphemy challenge they can post a video on denying the existence of God. Over a 100 people have so far. They are unable to live together in harmony with God so they just deny God. At least the God of the Bible. Of course, this is nothing new. People have been denying the existence of God for generations. But what about from God’s vantage point? God says there are ways He is unable to live in harmony with us. How does that happen? When does it happen? Can we do anything to remain compatible with God? The nature of God is so different from our human condition that the two conflict. Deuteronomy 23 teaches us the necessity of maintaining holiness in our lives to live in harmony with God. We learn about this from the stipulations of holiness God places upon His people in the when they enter into the land.


The context here is the people gathering together for religious purposes. There were two classes of people who could not participate in this assembly and time of worship.

First, those who were castrated, or emasculated, an eunuch. This was a type of physical defect as were other physical defects that made one incompatible with the worship of God in the assembly. Second, were those of illegitimate birth vs 2. The parameters included a child of an incestuous relationship, the child of a cult prostitute or a child of a mixed marriage—an Israelite married to an Ammonite, Moabite, Philistine, Canaanite. In both cases a mutilated person and an illegitimate child spring from a connection opposed to the divine order of creation. Both of these were defects—one physical the other relational—that excluded one from public assemblies of worship in Israel. Within the congregation of the faithful there could be no physical or relational defects that would offend God’s holiness. Today, we must not come to God in prayer or in worship if we have un-confessed sin in our lives. That un-confessed sin is a defect that must be removed to maintain our intimacy with God. Un-confessed sin excludes us from fellowship with God. It can hinder our prayers from being heard and answered, bring death-dealing consequences into our lives, place us under God’s discipline, endanger our lives, and make God our enemy. You cannot manage your relationship with God in your sin. God demands that you remove it to have intimacy with Him


Again the context is with the people gathering for religious purposes. In this case no Ammonite or Moabite can come into the assembly to the 10th generation. They did not give the Israelites water and food when they passed through their lands. They also hired Balaam curse them. These groups were also descended from the incestuous unions of Lot and his daughters (Gen 19:30-38). God does not forget anything! In spite of the harm these peoples tried to inflict upon the Israelites, God intervened and orchestrated a blessing instead for Israel. Sounds like what Joseph said to his brothers when they were confronted, ‘you meant it for evil but God meant it for good’. Or Rom 8:28 which teaches us that ‘all things work together for good to hose who love God and are called according to His purpose.’ God adds that His motivation for doing so was because ‘the Lord your God loves you.’ Because of these nations animosity toward Israel, Israel was never to make these groups an object of their care vs 6. However, Edomites and Egyptians were to be treated differently even though they too were hostile toward Israel. Edom came against them when they desired to march peacefully through the land and Egyptian Pharaoh’s had oppressed them as slaves 7-8. Edom was a brother and Israel was not to forget the benefits derived from their sojourn in Egypt. So the great-grandchilren of Edom and Egypt could come into the congregation no longer strangers but incorporated into this nation. There is no such thing as sin without consequences. There is no free sin. God sees it all knows it all and judges it all.


Here the context is being clean when you are in the army of Israel. Intimacy  with  God  must become a focus of the devote wherever they go. The ‘evil thing’ in vs 10 is the uncleanness personally, physically and morally. One way was by nocturnal emissions and the other by bodily excrements. One required a ritual bathing at the end of the day and the other a shovel to cover the bodily waste. The reason is because God is in the camp with them so He does not see anything indecent and remove Himself from them vs 14. A holy God was with them observing everything about them. So wherever we are, whatever we do, do all to the glory of God by practicing moral, personal spiritual and physical cleanliness. We have an obligation to maintain intimacy with God & there are conditions we must fulfill to do that.


There are a series of issues that require a response consistent with holy conduct in the nation.

Slaves 15-16 Do not turn over an escaped slave possibly a Canaanite slave who escaped to you because he was being mistreated in some way. This would be especially sensitive since it was reminder of Israel’s former status as badly treated slaves while in Egypt. So if someone comes to you out of a bad situation, where they are suffering, don not turn them away or back into that situation—like the slave of a cruel master.     

Cultic Prostitution 17-18 Neither the sons or daughters of Israel shall be cult prostitutes. Do not bring the wages of prostitutes into the house of God for they are an abomination to God. Hebrews used the word ‘dog’ for a sodomite—male prostitute—or homosexual. Both heterosexual and homosexual prostitution are an abomination to the Lord and so is any of the money they make.

Usury 19-20 Do not charge interest to an Israelite but you can charge it to a foreigner. God’s blessing attendant to this. The difference is between a brother and a stranger. It is legitimate to use your money to make money but not to capitalize on the needs of a fellow believer.

Vows 21-23 Make sure you pay what you vow to God. It is okay not to vow. In fact, Jesus said it was better to not vow (Matthew 5:34). So do not make vows because you cannot control the future circumstances affecting the outcome of your vows.

No take-home 24-25 You can eat grain or fruit trees in the field but do not put some in the basket and take it with you. So if you need to use something that belongs to your neighbor, do not use any more than you need at the moment.

1. Do not think any sin is insignificant with God. God concerned about everything, every area, every moment. Live holy.

2. You are responsible to pursue the holy life and maintain intimacy with God.