I kind of love Deuteronomy.
Although it contains a lot of laws and instructions that were specific to the Israelites, I find that many of the themes of God’s instruction to them can apply to us as well. The ‘why’ behind many laws and rituals is at the heart of God’s best for all of us.
Our section today offers a couple of those that we’re going to peek at.
In chapter 14, God instructs the Israelites about tithing, saying,
“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the LORD your God always.”
Do you see that little nugget at the end?
Little phrases like that often lead to big insights. Here, it leads us to the ‘why’ behind God’s instruction on tithing. We all know that God needs nothing from us. Everything already belongs to him. The purpose of giving to God from the top (instead of the leftovers) is for us to learn to revere God. To honor him. To trust him.
Saying we honor and revere and trust God means nothing if we don’t show it. And when we do show it by putting him first in this way, it can provide a lens that shapes every other area of our lives.
What am I offering God?
We see another giving principle pop up in chapter 16.
“No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed. Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.”
This instruction was given specifically regarding three of the appointed feasts that the Israelites celebrated. But I believe that the principle applies to us as well. We see the proportion principle repeated in Jesus’ illustration of the widow’s offering and in Paul’s teaching on sowing/reaping generously (Luke 21, 2 Corinthians 9).
But beyond that, how would it change our church-going experience, our daily Spiritual life even, if we kept that first sentence in mind: No one should appear before the LORD empty-handed.
Am I coming to God, offering him my monetary giving, but also my time…my talents?
What are you bringing today?
Susan lives in balmy Minnesota with her favorite person, Greg, and (except for this year) their two sons. She teaches, tutors and writes. You can find her blog, The Sparrow’s Home, online at thesparrowshome.com Some of Susan’s favorite words include grace, kindness, and authenticity. Also snuggling.
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+14-16&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be Deuteronomy 17-20 as we continue the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan