1666.) Deuteronomy 26

“Give of your best to the Master”

Deuteronomy 26 (English Standard Version)

Offerings of Firstfruits and Tithes

Covenant Grace:
The land and the fruits of the land are gifts from God.

1“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, 2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. 3And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.4Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.

5“And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father.

“A reference to Jacob, who had wandered from southern Canaan to Haran and back (Genesis 27-35) and who later migrated to Egypt (Genesis 46:3-7). He also married two Aramean women.”

–notes from The NIV Study Bible

And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. 6And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. 7Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. 8And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. 9And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.‘ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. 11And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you.

.

James 1:17 (NASB)

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

.   .   .   .   .

Covenant Obedience:
The law is kept only when the poor are cared for.

12“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, 13then you shall say before the LORD your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. 14 I have not eaten of the tithe while I was mourning, or removed any of it while I was unclean, or offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God. I have done according to all that you have commanded me. 15 Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the ground that you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.’

“Widows and Orphans” by Kathe Kollwetz, an early 20th-century German anti-war artist.

James 1:27 (CEV)

Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.

.   .   .   .   .

Covenant Blessing:
Israel is God’s treasured possession; Israel will walk in His ways.

16“This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared today that the LORD is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice.

James 2:14-18 (The Message)

Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

18And the LORD has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, 19and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.”

_________________________

Music:

“The chapter comes to a close with the reminder that obedience to the law was not an end in itself.  Nor was it merely the means of keeping Israel secure in the land. Ultimately there was a missionary purpose to the law.  Just as it had been founded upon the basis of God’s redeeming grace in the past, so it was motivated by the vision of God’s name being known and honored among the nations in the future.  Thus the law is framed between grace and glory — as Paul wrote:  ‘so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ!  Amen!’ (Romans 16:26-27).”

from New International Biblical Commentary:  Deuteronomy
by Christopher Wright

HERE  is “Go Ye into All the World”  sung by the SoundForth Singers.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
basket with fruits and vegetables.    http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TOH/Images/healthy/special-diet/FruitsVeggiesBasket.jpg
gift.    http://img.heartlight.org/cards/g/james1_17.jpg
Kollwitz.    http://www.voiceseducation.org/Portals/2/The%20Great%20War/Art%20of%20the%20Great%20War/widows%20and%20orphans.gif
Nolan Ryan, pitcher, Baseball Hall of Fame.     http://img.allposters.com/6/LRG/9/936/Y9TX000Z.jpg
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