Tough Love

Michael Wittmer

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Baby Steps

Michael Wittmer

READ : Deuteronomy 21:10-14 Suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman whom you desire and want to marry . . . (v. 11) This is another difficult passage which seems offensive today. How are we to understand God allowing Israelite soldiers to take attractive captives for their wives? Isn’t this a barbaric way to find a spouse? It is by contemporary standards, where women often are granted full equality with men and Geneva Conventions limit the atrocities of …

No Mercy

Michael Wittmer

READ : Deuteronomy 7:1-6 You must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy. (v. 2) This is one of the most difficult passages in the whole Bible. How can we reconcile God’s command to exterminate entire nations with the God of love we find throughout Scripture? Can we imagine Jesus encouraging Israelite soldiers to slay helpless Hittite infants? One page cannot do justice to these hard questions, but here are three talking points. First, …

Reading Life

Michael Wittmer

READ : Deuteronomy 13:1-5 You must not heed the words of those prophets . . . for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. (v. 3) Beliefs interpret experience; experience cannot interpret itself. Consider the variety of responses to Jesus’ miracles. Those who believed that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy recognized from the works he did that he was the Messiah. The Pharisees, believing …

Rules for the Relationship

Michael Wittmer

READ : Deuteronomy 5:6-21 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (v. 6) In Victor Hugo’s epic novel Les Misérables, the legalistic policeman Javert relentlessly tracks the ex-con Jean Valjean. Despite Valjean’s valiant efforts to save the poor, most notably the orphan Cosette, Javert is obsessed with capturing Valjean for a minor violation of his parole. Javert misunderstands the role of rules, and what he regards …

The Second One

Michael Wittmer

READ : Deuteronomy 15:7-11 Do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. (vv. 7-8) When the bubonic plague came to Wittenberg in 1527, many people wondered whether they should flee for their lives or remain behind to care for the sick. Martin Luther encouraged everyone who could to leave, except doctors, pastors, public officials, and those upon whom the sick relied. …