Deuteronomy 12

1“These are the laws and rules that you must obey in your new land. You must carefully obey these laws as long as you live in this land. The Lord is the God of your ancestors. And the Lord is giving this land to you. 2You will take that land from the nations that live there now. You must completely destroy all the places where the people of these nations worship their gods. These places are on high mountains, on hills, and under green trees. 3You must smash their altars and break their stone memorials into pieces. You must burn their Asherah poles and cut down the statues of their gods. 4“You must not worship the Lord your God in the same way that those people worship their gods. 5The Lord your God will choose a special place among your family groups. The Lord will put his name there. That will be his special house. You must go to that place to worship him. 6There you must bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, one tenth of your crops and animals, your special gifts, any gifts you promised to the Lord, any special gift you want to give, and the first animals born in your herds and flocks. 7You and your families will eat together at that place, and the Lord your God will be there with you. At that place, you will enjoy sharing the things you worked for. You will remember that the Lord your God blessed you and gave you those good things. 8“You must not continue to worship the way we have been worshiping. Until now, each of us has been worshiping God any way we wanted. 9Why? Because we have not yet entered the peaceful land that the Lord your God is giving you. 10But you will go across the Jordan River and live in that land. The Lord is giving that land to you. And the Lord will give you rest from all your enemies. You will be safe. 11Then the Lord will choose a place to be his special house. The Lord will put his name there. And you must bring all the things I command you to that place. Bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, one tenth of your crops and animals, your special gifts, any gifts you promised to the Lord, and the first animals born in your herd and flock. 12Come to that place with all your people—your children, all your servants, and the Levites living in your towns. (These Levites will not have a share of the land for their own.) Enjoy yourselves together there with the Lord your God. 13Be sure you don’t offer your burnt offerings in just any place you see. 14The Lord will choose his special place among your family groups. Offer your burnt offerings and do all the other things I told you only in that place. 15“Wherever you live you may kill and eat any good animals, like gazelles and deer. You may eat as much of the meat as you want, as much as the Lord your God gives to you. Any person may eat this meat—people who are clean and people who are unclean. 16But you must not eat the blood. You must pour the blood on the ground like water. 17“There are some things you must not eat in the places where you live. These things are: the part of your grain that belongs to God, the part of your new wine and oil that belongs to God, the first animals born in your herd or flock, any gift that you promised to God, any special gifts you want to give or any other gifts for God. 18You must eat those offerings only at the place where the Lord your God will be together with you—the special place that the Lord your God will choose. You must go there and eat together with your sons, your daughters, all your servants, and the Levites living in your towns. Enjoy yourselves there with the Lord your God. Enjoy the things you have worked for. 19But be sure that you always share these meals with the Levites. Do this as long as you live in your land. 20- 21“The Lord your God promised to make your country larger. When the Lord does this, you might live too far from the place he chooses to be his special house. If it is too far, and you are hungry for meat, then you may eat any meat you have. You may kill any animal from the herd or flock that the Lord has given you. Do this the way I have commanded you. You may eat this meat there where you live any time you want. 22You may eat this meat the same as you would eat gazelle or deer meat. Any person can do this—people who are clean and people who are unclean. 23But be sure not to eat the blood. Why? Because the life is in the blood. And you must not eat meat that still has life in it. 24Don’t eat the blood. You must pour the blood onto the ground like water. 25So don’t eat blood. You must do everything that the Lord says is right. Then good things will happen to you and to your descendants. 26“If you decide to give something special to God, then you must go to the special place that the Lord your God will choose. And if you make a special promise, then you must go to that place to give that gift to God. 27You must offer your burnt offerings in that place. Offer the meat and the blood of your burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord your God. For your other sacrifices, you must pour the blood on the altar of the Lord your God. Then you may eat the meat. 28Be careful to obey all the commands that I give you. When you do the things that are good and right—the things that please the Lord your God—then everything will go well for you and for your descendants forever. 29“You are going to take your land from other people. The Lord your God will destroy those people for you. You will force those people out of that land, and you will live there. 30After that happens, be careful! You will destroy those people. So don’t fall into the trap of worshiping their false gods. Be careful! Don’t go to those false gods for help. Don’t say, 'Those people worshiped these gods, so I will worship that way too!’ 31Don’t do that to the Lord your God! ˻Don’t worship God like that! Why?˼ Because those people do all kinds of bad things that the Lord hates. They even burn their children as sacrifices to their gods! 32“You must be careful to do everything I command you. Don’t add anything to the things I tell you, and don’t take anything away.

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