Thinking About Intermarriage – Deuteronomy 7-8

Read Deuteronomy 7-8

The Bible offers a negative view on intermarriage. Yet, the intermarriage in Scripture is not the intermarriage that Americans picture. Let me explain.

When Americans hear “intermarriage”, most incorrectly assume we are referencing “interracial” marriage. Until 1967, when the Supreme Court banned such laws, there were sixteen states within our nation that had laws prohibiting black-white interracial marriages. But the issue in today’s reading (7:3-4) is not about interracial marriage, but rather marriage between believers and unbelievers.

In Numbers 12:1-6, Moses’ siblings (Miriam and Aaron), opposed him for marrying a woman from Cush. Without question, this woman from Cush was a black woman; Cush was an area south of Egypt (see Jeremiah 13:23). When they married, Miriam and Aaron spoke against this because she was a black African woman. But God’s anger burned against these two (Numbers 12:9), and God changed Miriam’s skin to temporarily humble her. God made His will known that He is okay with interracial marriage. As we move into the New Testament, we learn that among those who are found in Christ, racial distinctions are insignificant because we have Christ in common (Colossians 3:9-11).

When we arrive in Deuteronomy, we have God’s word against intermarriage, marriage between believers and unbelievers. God commanded the Israelites to drive out and destroy the current inhabitants of the land. The Hebrew people were not to marry anyone who currently lived in the Promised Land, “for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.” (Deuteronomy 7:4)

Later, in 21:10-14, God permits the Hebrews to make peace and to marry people from outside the Promised Land. So, these limits on marriage only applied to the evil people in the land that Israel was about to own. The limit had nothing to do with race. God wanted His people to stay true to Him, and He knew that marrying a nonbeliever would change their loyalty.

Remembering His Grace – Numbers 33-36

Read Numbers 33-36

Why is Moses recounting all these places? God has Moses recount all these places in order for His people to consider God’s providential care for Him. As generations of people wandered in the wilderness, God wants the people to remember how He walked with them every step of the way – to know it was God was with them.

The older you are the harder it is to remember all the details of life. At times, we fail to remember how God has cared for us in times past. Moses’ travel log teaches us about the goodness and kindness of God. Moses’ trip down memory lane reminds us of God’s miraculous care for His people.

Take a few moments to for a time of private or family worship. Give thanks to God’s goodness and care for how He has guided your family and you. Recount specific ways He has provided for you. Be sure to praise His great Name for His love.

Joshua Succeeds Moses – Numbers 27-29

Read Numbers 27-29

There are two main characters in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy: the Lord and Moses. From the human side, Moses dominates the story for he is God’s appointed leader, the lawgiver, and the great mediator between Israel and their God. Only Abraham and David compare to Moses when you consider the Old Testament.

Earlier, during the wilderness wandering of the people of Israel, there was a time when they had no water. And the people grumbled against Moses. It was here that God tells Moses to speak to the rock. By simply speaking to the rock, God would bring forth much-needed water for the people. But Moses’ spirit is bitter, and he speaks rashly and strikes the rock twice with his rod. The water comes, but so does the stinging word of God to Moses: ” And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them” (20:12). Notice again the words: “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy…”. In essence, Moses failed to believe God. Instead of a peaceful confidence in the power of God to respond to a mere word, Moses was bitter and impulsive. God is not worshipped when we do not have a settled confidence in His word: “Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son” (1 John 5:10). When you make somebody a liar, you profane that person’s name. This is the opposite of treating the person as holy.

 While Moses’ time was fading away, God was faithful to raise new leaders for His people.