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Bible Pathways 03/06/2004

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 (festivals) 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 (Deuteronomy 11:10-15). The Israelites were taught: You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed (the harvest 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 people that they, as well as the land, belonged to the Lord, and who should occupy first place in their lives. Since all they possessed was the result of His loving provision, their tithes to the Lord were to be given first, before all other considerations. Furthermore, no Israelite could come before the Lord without an offering commensurate with his income. To bring less would be unacceptable and 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).

The Israelites were also taught 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 (14:29).

More than 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 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, Bible publishers, 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, desiring to keep everything for self. However, all of 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; 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 (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:

Government Official: Sen. Christopher Bond (MO) · Country: Senegal (10 million) in western Africa · Major language: French · Religious freedom · 92% Muslim; 4% animism and ancestor worship; 3% Roman Catholic; .1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for understanding as you read the Word of God (Psalm 119:73).

Optional Reading: Luke 21

Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:14

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