I used to be one of those people that was convinced they were “not like other girls”. I thought I was “different”. I thought I was “quirky”. I didn’t think anyone was really on my level. I thought everyone else conformed to some kind of mold, but I was one of the rare ones who “broke free”.
I was extremely conceited and completely wrong. But (to younger Denee’s dismay), I wasn’t the first or last person to feel at least a little bit like this. We all know what it’s like to feel lonely. We all know what it’s like to feel like no one understands us.
When you’re feeling lonely, your first thought probably isn’t to read Deuteronomy 21. But maybe it should be.
The chapter seems to be just like all the other chapters in Deuteronomy. More of Moses’ sermon. More of God’s law for His beloved people, the Israelites. But when I read Deuteronomy 21 today, it felt a little different. A little quirky, even.
Am I the only one?
One God, billions of children
The essence of the “quirk” of this chapter is in its laws. There’s a law for what happens when you find a dead body. A law for parents with disobedient children. A law for when you want to marry a captive of war. A law to make sure a father doesn’t overlook a son from his “unloved” wife. Finally, there’s a law about how to bury someone who has received capital punishment for a crime.
This is quite the hodgepodge of laws. They’re all over the place. They’re unique. Some of them are downright weird.
And they all came straight from the mouth of God. That means He was thinking about these situations. He knew they would happen. He knew how to handle them.
Have you ever felt ashamed to bring something to God? Have you ever felt that your particular problem, your sin, your mess, was too bizarre, too disturbing, too much for God? That He would recoil in shock and horror? That He would shake His head in utter astonishment? That He would never want to speak to you again?
That’s loneliness. But this chapter of Deuteronomy hints to us that we don’t need to feel that way.
God gets us. He knows we’re all over the place. He knows each and every one of us is unique. He knows about our weird tendencies, our embarrassing mistakes, our shameful sins.
He knows and He understands. More than that, He knows what to do with us. He is not surprised or stumped or disturbed by anything we can bring to Him. He has a message for every person. He has guidance for every situation. He has a powerful arm to pull us out of any sin.
It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t even matter what you’re planning on doing tomorrow. Just like a random law in Deuteronomy chapter 21, God knows how to help you. He is here for you.
“I know you. I understand you.”
We’re all searching for a safe place. We all want a refuge. We all want strong arms to fall into when the world is falling apart. We all want a reliable support to hold us up when we face difficult times. We all yearn for unconditional love.
We all have a deep, innate, undeniable need for Jesus. No one can fully know us, support us, love us, or satisfy us the way He can, because He is God. He made us. Who knows the created better than the Creator?
So this is a message of hope. This is the answer to loneliness. These are the welcoming arms. This is the place of security, of safety, of unconditional love.
What do you think? What needs or longings are you feeling now? Will you allow Jesus to fill them?