Thursday, April 16 2020
You will remember what you give to support. God wants His people to give and remember the source of blessings. Moses commanded Israelites to give their first fruits from the ground to God, because they harvested it from the land that God gave them (Deut 26:1–2). The Israelites were to take a basket of their first fruits to a priest in the place bearing God’s name — the altar — and declared to God that they have come to the land that God promised (26:2–4). Furthermore, the Israelite was to declare briefly the history of Israel from Abraham through Egypt to entering the land (26:5–9).
Furthermore, by giving their first fruits, faithful Israelites remembered to worship God. Moses instructed, “And you shall set it [offering of first fruits] down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. And 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” (Deut 26:10b–11). The tithe, one tenth, for giving went to help those teaching the Law, the traveler, the orphan, and the needy widow. The tenth was a “sacred portion” that one had to remove from one’s house (26:14). Knowing the curses on those who did not obey God’s commands, the faithful Israelite is very wise to remove the tenth that was to be given in remembrance and worship of God’s blessings.
Giving in worship to God declares that Yahweh is your God and that you are obedient to God’s voice with all your heart and soul (26:16–17). God treasures His people who are those who keep His commands to be a people holy to the Lord (26:18–19). Today, giving a tenth is not commanded in the New Testament but a tenth is a precedent in the New Testament of giving by faith as Abraham gave to Melchizedek before Moses delivered the Law (Heb 7:1–10).
Giving is an act of faith as the faithful believe God will give back to more in this life and the next. Jesus taught, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38). Those who give will receive. The apostle Paul wrote, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. […] And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Cor 9:6, 8). Do you believe that God will give you more?
When believers remember what God has done, then we remind ourselves of why we worship God. The writer of Hebrews expressed, “We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat” (Heb 13:10). When Christians partake of the communion supper, we remember what God has given to us through Jesus Christ. Jesus commanded, “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:23–26).
God gives over those who do not honor and thank Him to sin and its consequences (Rom 1:18–34). Remembering God and Christ is essential. How else can someone take the cross daily (Luke 9:23–24)? Giving reminds us of the Creator and the Christ. Jesus taught, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35b).
The Book of Deuteronomy is rich in wisdom and only the fool would ignore God’s words to the nation of Israel. No follower of Jesus should neglect to give and keep back what belongs in offering to God. Give to spread the gospel, to encourage teaching, and relieve the Christians who are in distress. When you do it, thank God for His blessings. “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Heb 13:16).