“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner. If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. Do the same if you find your neighbor’s donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don’t ignore your responsibility.
“If you see that your neighbor’s donkey or ox has collapsed on the road, do not look the other way. Go and help your neighbor get it back on its feet!
“A woman must not put on men’s clothing, and a man must not wear women’s clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the Lord your God.
“If you happen to find a bird’s nest in a tree or on the ground, and there are young ones or eggs in it with the mother sitting in the nest, do not take the mother with the young. You may take the young, but let the mother go, so that you may prosper and enjoy a long life.
“When you build a new house, you must build a railing around the edge of its flat roof. That way you will not be considered guilty of murder if someone falls from the roof.
“You must not plant any other crop between the rows of your vineyard. If you do, you are forbidden to use either the grapes from the vineyard or the other crop.
“You must not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together.
“You must not wear clothing made of wool and linen woven together.
“You must put four tassels on the hem of the cloak with which you cover yourself—on the front, back, and sides.”
Many of these practical laws helped establish good habits for everyday living. They helped people to live at peace with one another and with creation.
The Hebrews were to care for and return lost animals or possessions to their rightful owners. The way of the world, by contrast, is “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” To protect and return the property of others keeps us from being envious and greedy.
Deuteronomy 22:5 is not primarily a statement about clothing styles. It commands men and women not to reverse their sexual roles. Today role rejections are common—some men want to become women, and women want to become men. The clothing style is not what offends God but using the style to act out a different sexual role. God had a purpose in making us uniquely male and female.
Verses 9 and 10 were simply wise farming: If you plant two different crops side by side, one of them will not survive, since the stronger, taller one will block the sunlight and take most of the vital nutrients from the soil. And a donkey and an ox, due to differences in strength and size, cannot pull a plow evenly. Verse 11 was a practical command: Two different kinds of thread wear unevenly and wash differently. Combining them reduces the life of the garment.
God’s laws aren’t arbitrary restrictions. Look for the reasons behind the laws. They are not made just to teach or restrict, but also to protect. Thank God for his daily guidance, through his word and the prompting of the Spirit.