Purging out evil!
Scripture reading for February 28th: Deuteronomy 21-26
One of the most difficult things to do is to change. We are by nature procrastinators and easily get comfortable with sin. We blame others for our bad habits and use the victim mentality to justify our own rebellion. We easily judge others who are “worse than us”. In today’s reading we can gain insight about the radical methods needed to remove sin and guilt from our lives and community.
“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, then his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death. You must purge evil from among you. All Israel will hear it and be afraid.” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
What is evil? According to this passage, one form is dishonoring your God-given authority. This is a breaking of God’s law, the only true source of knowing good and evil. A son who refuses to listen and be corrected by his parents is exhibiting evil. Evil cannot be negotiated with or excused. Discipline is to be used to remove it or drive it out of one’s home or life. Evil affects communities and spreads if not dealt with. Sin’s final consequence is death and that can spread to a whole community.
Now, don’t jump to the conclusion that we should stone our children today. This law was for God’s family under the old covenant. It is teaching us principles of parenting and community involvement in setting standards for evil and its removal. A swift and severe punishment instills a holy fear of God’s Word and reinforces the seriousness of evil as a source of death. Notice the elders were involved here. Those with wisdom and maturity helped the family with the rebellious child. Their goal was removing evil from the midst of the community, not just placating the child or parents. They cared about all the children and the future. Contemplate these truths and ask God how to apply them personally and in the community we belong to!