Highlights In Today's Reading:
Nutritionists say: We are what we eat. God makes a clear distinction between what is clean and unclean food. And what is this about charging interest on a loan to another Israelite? We see again in the month of Abib (March/April) the blessed Passover celebrated, foreshadowing Christ's redemptive work on the cross as the ultimate Sacrifical Lamb.
The principle of tithing was made known through Abraham (Gen. 14:18-20), the Father of the Faithful, over six hundred years before the laws of giving were revealed to Moses (Lev. 27:30-31). Jacob also tithed to acknowledge his gratitude to God, the Provider of all his blessings (Gen. 28:20-22). In the time of Moses, this principle was finally put into writing: Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year (Deut. 14:22).
The Law commanded the Israelites to present their tithes to God, but no legal penalty was stated for those who failed to do so. The giving of the tithe was a testimony of love for God and an acknowledgment that He is truly the owner of all things. This offering was to be a voluntary expression of love. But the blessings of God would be withheld from all who selfishly withheld their tithes, whether rich or the poor.
God asks the question: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me. . . . Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse (Mal. 3:8-10). To Israel, their only place to bring their tithes and offerings was the Temple. For the Church, Christ's Body on earth, tithes should be given to support the ministry of the Word and where one receives spiritual nurturing through the Word of God.
However, the Israelites were warned that by failing to tithe, they would not only be robbing God, but it would result in financial losses, through crop failure (3:11).
Surely, the principle of love should cause Christians to give offerings even more than was required under the Old Law. Our gifts to the Lord are a means of expressing our love and faith to Him. At the same time, a giving spirit is a safeguard against covetousness, which is idolatry (Col. 3:5). Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for every Christian to have a part in the ministry of the Word of God throughout the world.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful (prompt, willing) giver (II Cor. 9:7).
Thought for Today:
Giving to God should not be done just to receive a blessing, but it certainly is a blessing to be able to give to the Ministry of God.
Through the year of release, which typifies Christ's forgiveness of our sins (Deut. 15:1). This should cause us to realize how important it is to forgive others, even as He has forgiven us (Matthew 6:14-15). Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Eph. 4:32).
14:1 cut =disfigure; make any baldness =shave; 14:2 holy . . . peculiar people =treasured possession, dedicated; 14:7 cloven =split; 14:8 swine =pig; 14:23 fear =give reverential, heartfelt submission to; 14:25 turn =exchange; 14:26 bestow =spend for whatever you desire; 15:1 release =forgiveness of debts; 15:4 Save =except; 15:5 hearken =listen and obey; 15:9 be evil =hold grudge, be hostile; 15:10 not be grieved =have no regrets; 15:11 open thine hand wide =give freely; 15:14 floor =threshing floor; 15:15 bondman =slave; 16:3 leavened bread =bread that contains yeast; affliction =humiliation, distress; 16:13 corn =grain; 16:19 gift =bribe; 16:20 that which is just =that is right.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Linda Kennon • Staff: Jennifer Cunningham • Government Official: Sen. Christopher Bond (MO) • Country: China, Mainland (1.242 billion) in eastern Asia • Major languages: Standard Chinese (Putonghua) or Mandarin (based on the Beijing dialect) • Renewed persecution of the Church • 16% Asian (including Fulun Gong); 8% Buddhist; 3% Muslim; number of Christians unknown but growing; 10% Atheist • Prayer Suggestion: Pray with great faith and the Lord will answer (Matt. 21:22).
Optional Reading: Luke 21
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11