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Bible Pathways 03/06/05

March 6

Read Deuteronomy 14 - 16

In Today's Reading:

Clean and unclean food; the Law of the tithe; dedication of the firstborn; three feasts to be observed; judges and justice

The prosperity of Israel in the promised land did not depend on advanced agricultural techniques but on obedience to the Word of God (see Deuteronomy 11:10-15). The Israelites were taught: You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed (produce from what you sow) . . . year by year. . . that you may learn to fear (revere) the LORD your God always (14:22-23).

Tithing reminded the Israelites that they, as well as the land, belonged to the Lord. Since all they possessed was the result of His loving provision, before all other considerations, their tithes to the Lord were to be 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.

The command was clear: They shall not appear before the LORD empty (empty-handed): 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; see I Corinthians 16:2).

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. Tithes and offerings carried the promise that the LORD your God may bless you (Deuteronomy 14:29).

Five hundred years before the Law was given to Moses, Abraham, father of the faithful (see Romans 4:11), paid a tenth (tithe) to Melchizedek . . . priest of the Most High God as an acceptable offering to the Lord (Genesis 14:18-20. That principle continued throughout the Bible, and includes all believers today who are called the children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). Today, the Lord's ministries, missionaries, churches, Bible schools, translators, and other agencies are being sustained through the tithes and offerings of His people. 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 (give) therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's (Matthew 22:21).

Word Studies:

14:1 make any baldness = shave heads as the pagans to; 14:2 a peculiar people unto Himself = dedicated people not conformed to worldly standards but living to please God; 14:21 seethe = boil; 16:19 wrest judgment = pervert justice.

Christ Revealed:

Through the year of release (remission of debts), which typifies Christ's forgiveness of our sins (Deuteronomy 15:1). This should teach us to forgive others, even as He has forgiven us (see Matthew 6:14-15). Be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Government Official: Sen. Christopher Bond (MO) · Country: Niger (10 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: French and Hausa · Christian evangelism is limited · 89% Muslim; 10% animist; .4% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to help you teach His Word to your children; it will give guidance and instruction as they go through life (Proverbs 6:20-23).

Optional Reading: Luke 21

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:19

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