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You Have Declared that the Lord is Your God
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The legislative rules that Moses provides in our text may appear to be hopelessly outdated by modern standards, yet they contain significant insight regarding the inherent worth and dignity of all women. In instances where men have power over women, the unique situation of the woman must be respected; the economic status of the woman may not be disregarded; and the shared partnership in childrearing must be acknowledged. In cases where women have been falsely accused of immorality, their names are to be cleared; in cases where women have been violated, the perpetrator must be punished; and in cases where women are willing participants in sexual sin, they bear equal responsibility. In cases where women are particularly vulnerable, participation in prostitution is prohibited; dissolution of marriages is curtailed; cries for justice are heard; and ongoing sustenance is provided. Cultural norms may have changed over time, but our love and care for women made in the image of God knows no end.
01. Men, live in an understanding way in your relationships with women; show honor to them as weaker vessels and treat them as equal heirs of the grace of life.
02. Women, embrace your identity as defined by God; be pure in your conduct and let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. What is your first impression as you read through the laws of Deuteronomy 21-26? How might our modern era critique these laws? How might this section of Scripture critique our modern era?
2. What is the underlying basis in the Bible for claiming that women are of inherent dignity and worth? See Genesis 1:26-28 and Galatians 3:28 for further insight. How does the prohibition of female and male prostitution underscore that fact that humans are more, but not less, than their bodies? How does our use of our bodies reflect our value of our souls?
3. How does the prohibition against a woman wearing a man’s clothing in Deuteronomy 22:5-6 address the issue of personal identity rather than fashion trends? How can the church remain compassionate toward those with gender dysphoria while remaining faithful to biblical standards of gender distinction?
4. Cite examples from the text where men bear responsibility for guarding the reputation, safety, and economic well-being of women. Do these stipulations prohibit women from defending or providing for themselves? What does it suggest about a society when women are demeaned, ignored, or treated as second-class citizens?
5. This text covers a number of subjects that affect women in unique ways—from unhappy marriages to divorce; from sexual accusations to sexual violations; from unfulfilled motherhood to difficulties in widowhood. What examples can you find in the Bible to confirm God’s love and provision for women in such situations? Pray for women who are hurting, that they will know God’s love in a special way, and that they will find support from godly women and men in the church.
For Further Reading: David Lamb, Prostitutes and Polygamists: A Look at Love, Old Testament Style (Zondervan, 2015)