Deuteronomy 12:15-32

Key Verse(s):

Deuteronomy 12:32 (CSB)

32 Be careful to do everything I command you; do not add anything to it or take anything away from it.

Reflection/Application:

The previous pericope may have brought up a question about how all the sacrifices of animals was to be handled with a single place for them to take place at. This pericope addresses the issue of slaughtering animals. The requirement is not that all animals must be slaughtered at the appointed place of worship, but those that are presented as offerings are. This applies to both the clean and unclean, the animals slaughtered normally, not as offerings, are eligible for consumption.

Although the slaughter and consumption of animals is not restrictive to being done solely at the place God appoints, other rules remain intact: specifically the command not to consume blood. This should not surprise us, since consumption of blood is consumption of “life”, which should be reserved solely for God. Unlike the consumption of meat, which is a provision of God for man to be sustained by.

I especially like how this passage ends: “Be careful to do everything I command you; do not add anything to it or take anything away from it.” (Deut. 12:32) Although this command has been given previously in Deuteronomy, here it comes on the heels of what may seem like a change. But it reinforces the need for us to be careful not to assume the role of God by modifying his law. God keeps the requirements of the offerings, and where they are to take place. He also warns about adopting the practices of the pagans. Could it be these are related, and together are addressed by this warning in Deut. 12:32? In other words, God allows freedom, He gives room for man to exercise freedom, yet keeps the requirement to keep “in touch” with Him via the offerings, possibly being the piece that keeps the Israelites from sliding into the same pagan rituals of the Canaanites.

Prayer:

Lord, thank You for being a God of freedom! We are free to do as we wish, even choosing whether to surrender to You, or reject You. I am guilty of modifying Your commands, for following my own law rather than Yours. I pray for forgiveness for my disobedience, and guidance to place reminders and safeguards all around me so that You remain my focus. Amen.

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