of the church and the Word of God often bemoan the Mosaic covenant and all the teachings from the Old Testament. They say the Old Testament is outdated and isn’t applicable to the believer in the church age dispensation of grace. Each of the principles and commandments outlaid in the Old Testament is to be used as an example for the believer in today’s church. The law commanded obedience because it established an order and closeness to God.
Much of the liberty and freedom we are allowing in our lives are in fact worldly and fleshly liberty. Importantly, the Old Testament directs us to Christ and provides great hope as Paul wrote in Romans 15:4, “for whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
1. Gender and Modesty Order
In verse five of Deuteronomy 22, the Lord conveyed to the people through Moses that “the woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Our society and all its “wokeness” discredits any applicability of this verse today. However, consider how our pronouncement of liberty has progressed unto a desire for a “genderless” or “unisex” society.
Many denominations still adhere to the strictness of dress codes for both men and women. Critics consider these prohibitions and requirements to be legalistic and old-fashioned. The question remains solely whether these protocols promote holiness more so than churches not having any dress expectations. The black and white boundary lines for legalistic holiness and liberty can be debated until the return of Christ.
Legalism could be defined as making my opinion to be the obligation of others. We must concern ourselves, then, whether the prohibition is more than just the personal opinion of the church or denomination. We are to study the Word of God and know the difference between what we like to call “legalistic” and what is actually from the Heavenly Father who desires order and strives for the protection of His children. Those in opposition to legalistic dress requirements would argue that Christ fulfilled the law and thus, these draconian commandments are not applicable. We must ask ourselves while viewing inappropriate clothing inside the church house whether the increase of personal liberty and the forsaking of spiritual liberty hindered our holiness.
2. Order Between Us and Nature
The order contemplated by the law in verses six and seven prevents the disturbance and unnecessary separation of a bird, her young, or her eggs. John Gill, in his Bible commentary, wrote that “the intention of this law is to teach humanity, compassion, and pity in men to one another, and to forbid cruelty, covetousness, and such like devices.”
We often feel the need to be the Good Samaritan in every instance where peril is present even in the case of wildlife. Many of us have found an abandoned baby rabbit. Thinking we can be its savior, we take it home only for it to die soon thereafter. Similarly, many of our friends and family often turn to us for life advice or financial counseling. Instead of sending them to the Word of God or taking the matter to prayer, we use “when I was in that situation” advice or open our bank account for a “green” Band-Aid. These fixes are only temporary and the person usually returns with the same predicament needing the same advice or more money.
Jesus Christ is our sole provider and the means of our sustenance for personal change. Luke 12:6 asks, “are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” This may be a complex spiritual principle, but we must come to the realization that if God created it, He will provide for it. Imagine the national funding required if it were our responsibility to feed and water every wild animal upon the earth. No matter the vast riches of a country, it would go broke rather quickly or decide to eliminate the entire species because they are too burdensome or deemed unnecessary. Similarly, we cannot help everyone in every circumstance each time we feel the obligation. We run the risk of becoming enablers creating dependence upon us for finances while we go broke or gray-headed because the advice we give is never heeded.
Consider the powerful story when David and his men were transporting the ark back to Jerusalem. Instead of properly carrying it as advised by the Lord, they used the Philistine means of a new cart. As it was being pulled by oxen, the ark became wobbly and Uzza “put his hand to the ark” to keep it from falling. Instinct made it look like the proper action, but this was “illegal touching” which resulted in the death of Uzza. The lesson to us is one of complete obedience and the realization that sometimes we need to keep our hands off of situations and let things fall to the ground.
3. Order in His Eternal Love and Safety
Verse eight dictated, “when thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.” On its face, this verse seems rather benign, but it contains great hope and promise for the life of the believer. Most of the houses built during the time this verse was written had flat roofs. Therefore, consideration had to be given for a railing to be installed to prevent one from accidentally falling from the roof since much activity took place there.
Our Heavenly Father not only provided a means of salvation through and by His Son as the perfect sacrifice, but He “installed” the railment to prevent us from falling. The power and direction of the Holy Spirit gives the believer confidence that the Savior who was the means of deliverance also can keep us saved. Jude 1:24 tells us, “now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” Our God built the house, provided us a flat roof with great footing, and supplied us with the needed rails surrounding its perimeter to prevent us from losing residence because of His eternal abiding love.
4. Order in the Way We Live Outside of Church
Deuteronomy 22:9 commands “thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with diverse seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.” The people who know us best give us interesting looks after we shout “amen” to the preacher on a Sunday morning. This “look” is in contemplation of how we live our lives from Monday to Saturday inside the home. Sure, we are sowing good seeds for the fruit of the vineyard by taking our children to worship services and saying a blessing over the evening meal. This good seed, however, is contaminated by the “diverse seeds” sewn by other habits in our lives contrary to holiness and sanctification. There must be order and consistency in the messages we are living outside of the church walls. The line between legalism and liberty is fine and often gray as both have many common principles.
In Corinthians 8:9, Paul wrote, “but take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.” Deep consideration should be given to many circumstances; for example, the consumption of alcoholic beverages with our young children present. Paul explained that eating meat around those who do not believe in its consumption could be a spiritual hindrance even though completely legal. Similarly, engaging in a certain behavior around the young or weak may indeed be perfectly acceptable and legal, but we must consider whether it is sowing diverse seeds.
5. Order in Our Relationships
Deuteronomy 22:10 forbid plowing “with an ox and an donkey together.” It is doubtful that many Sunday sermons have used this verse as a focus. However, the spiritual principle that the saved and the lost “be ye not unequally yoked together” written by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:14 follows its application for today. The believer is a different species and “works” differently than the unbeliever, just as the ox and the donkey. The order of marriage as well as the order of a business arrangement is affected when a believer and a non-believer unite for a common purpose. The believer strives for the obedience of “what thus saith the Word of God.”
The saved individual has a desire for the communion with the Heavenly Father by and through the unction of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, the unbeliever sees morals and standards through a foggy worldly perspective. His or her viewpoints and direction change with the winds of the world and there is no consistency. The establishment of order desires consistency. Consider the small-town police force that has winked at the posted speed limits for decades. Then, because of either a change in the sheriff or town’s need for revenue, the police chief sets up radar through town and issues tickets for those traveling over the speed limit. The resulting “disorder” against the selective enforcement is based upon the “but you have never enforced the speed limit before” argument. The offender admits to violating the law, but justifies his or her behavior on past non-action. There is no foundation in an unequally yoked relationship. There is no uniform expectation of behavior with worldly obedience. What is right today, may be excusable tomorrow because of a change in circumstances. Thankfully, the order established by the Word of God is the reliable guide for the believer. When we allow ourselves to be placed in romantic or business relationships with non-believers, we are setting ourselves up for compromise of this established order.