March 6

Read Deuteronomy 14 -- 16

The prosperity of Israel in the Promised Land did not depend on advanced agricultural techniques, but on obedience to the Word of God (Deuteronomy 11:10-15). The Israelites were taught: You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed, that the field brings forth year by year. . . . that you may learn to fear (attitude of deep reverence) the Lord your God always. . . . The Levite . . . you shall not forsake (by withholding tithes). . . . And the Levite, (because he has no inheritance with you,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord your God may bless you (14:22-23,27-29).

By bringing the tithe of their corn . . . their oil, and the firstlings of their herds and of their flocks, the Israelites would learn to fear the Lord their God always. Tithing reminded the people that they, as well as the land, belonged to the Lord, who should occupy first place in their lives. Since all they possessed was the result of His loving provision, before all other considerations, their tithes to the Lord were given first. Furthermore, no Israelite could come before the Lord without an offering commensurate with his income. To merely bring leftovers or a small pittance of one's income would be an expression of disobedience and ingratitude to the promises of God.

The command was clear: They shall not appear before the Lord empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you (16:16-17).

The Israelites were not only taught to bring their tithes to the Lord as a spiritual and moral obligation, but they were to "rejoice" with a heartfelt appreciation for the privilege of honoring God with their tithes and offerings, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand (14:26,29).

The Israelites had but one place to bring their tithes -- the place where He (the Lord ) shall choose to place His Name (14:23). While the Israelites were in the wilderness, God dwelt in the Tabernacle and eventually in the Temple in Jerusalem. Centuries later, Jesus told the woman at the well that the time was coming when those who worship the Father would not do so in this mountain (Gerizim), nor at Jerusalem. . . . But . . . true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:21,23-24). What our Lord foretold was that His followers would soon become His Temple. Every Christian is the Temple of God. . . . and he that defiles the Temple of God, him shall God destroy (I Corinthians 3:16-17). Today, the Lord's ministries, missionaries, churches, Bible schools, Bible publishers, translators, and other agencies are being sustained through the tithes and offerings of His people.

Five hundred years before the Law was given to Moses, Abraham, father of the faithful (Romans 4:11), paid a tenth (tithe) as an acceptable offering to the Lord. That principle continued throughout the Old Testament, and includes all believers today who are called the children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Unexpected expenses test the sincerity of our faith. All of us were born selfish and self-centered, desiring to keep everything for self. However, all of what we call our possessions, even ourselves, belongs to God. Jesus said: Render therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21).

Christ Revealed: Through the year of release, which typifies Christ's forgiveness of our sins (Deuteronomy 15:1). This should teach us to forgive others, even as He has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32).

Word Studies: 14:1 baldness means shaving their head as a sign of sorrow; 14:2 a peculiar people unto Himself means dedicated people not conformed to worldly standards but living to please God; 14:21 seethe means boil; 16:19 wrest judgment means pervert justice.

Prayer:

Government Officials: Sen. Christopher Bond (MO) · BPM Staff: Mark Ketterer · Pray for Bible Pathway Prayer Partners · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by two of the Lord's Bible missionaries · Country: Andorra (66,000) in the eastern Pyrenees between France and Spain · Major languages: Catalan and French · Religious freedom · 94% Roman Catholic; .6% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord; our God is the Mighty God (Psalms 50:1).

Optional Reading: Luke 21

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:19