The Scriptorium

God's Special People

Called to be holy. Deuteronomy 26.1-19

A Holy Nation (4): Deuteronomy 24-26 (6)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 128.1, 2
Blessed is every one who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways.
When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.

Psalm 128.1, 2

(Fountain: There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood)
How blessed are they who fear You, Lord, who walk within Your ways!
Rejoicing in Your bounteous Word, they prosper all their days!
They prosper all their days, they prosper all their days!
Rejoicing in Your bounteous Word, they prosper all their days!

Today’s Text: Deuteronomy 26.1-19

Preparation
1. What did God require accompanying the giving of tithes and offerings?

2. What would characterize Israel as a “special people”?

Meditation
We have previously addressed the issue of tithes and offerings, so we will not review the role of these in the worship God’s people offer Him, except to note again their obvious importance.

What is new in this context is the addition of confession or testimony to the worship of God. In verses 4-10 the testimony consists of a recitation of God’s historical work of salvation. By confessing this when giving their offering of first fruits, the people would remember why they were tithing – out of gratitude for God and His gracious salvation.

For the third-year tithe, a different confession was in order (vv. 12-15). This one was designed to acknowledge that the giving of tithes and offerings worked to strengthen the people of God by meeting various needs. Here again the why of tithing is recalled. Thus, giving of tithes and offerings is motivated by love – God’s love for us and our love for Him – and issues in love – for the needy among the people of God. In both cases, the people should expect God to bless them for their faithfulness in tithes and offerings (vv. 11, 15).

Moses concludes this portion of his address to the people by reminding them they are a special people unto the Lord. They are special because He has appointed them to be His people above all the nations of the earth. They must acknowledge that calling and keep the Law of God “with all your heart and all your soul” (vv. 16-19). Only as they observe those rules, statutes, precepts, testimonies, and judgments that mark out the practice of love for God and neighbor will they realize the blessing of God and fulfill their calling to a distinct people among all the nations of the earth. We whom Jesus has conveyed into His own glorious Kingdom may rise to greatness in that Kingdom by obeying and teaching the Law of God, and by serving God and one another in love (Matt. 5.17-19; Mk. 10.42-45).

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Isn’t it fun when you find just the perfect gift to give to someone you love? You’ve spent time thinking and praying about it, and listening for clues from that person about what might be a conveyance of love to them. And here God gives us a chance to give Him something He wants. Amazing that, because everything belongs to Him. And everything is made by Him. But in His graciousness, He has allowed us to give Him something. Something that will show our love for Him. Something that only we can give. He wants the firstfruits of our produce. He wants our hearts and souls. Tithing includes more than money. Like the woman who poured costly oil on Jesus’ head: “She has done a good work for Me. She has done what she could” (Mk. 14.6, 8). Or, like the carolers sing:
“What can we give Him?
What can you bring?
What can you offer
That’s fit for a King?
Bow before Jesus
That’s where you can start.
What can you give Him?
Just give Him your heart.”

Reflection

1. How does giving to the Lord help us to grow in love for Him?

2. How does giving to the Lord demonstrate love for our neighbors?

3. Tithing is just a part of what we give to the Lord. What else is He seeking from us?

He shews them from the consequence that nothing can be better or more desirable for them than to embrace God's Law; for nothing can be more honorable to ourselves than to give to God His due honor, and to exalt His glory to its due preeminence.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Deuteronomy 26.17

Thank You, Lord, for making me part of Your special people, so that I…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 128.3-6
Pray for God’s special people around the world, that He may revive and renew us in the Gospel, and send us to the world for a great awakening to Christ.

Psalm 128.3-6

(Fountain: There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood)
Their homes with happy children bloom who fear Your holy Name;
their tables and their every room declare Your glorious fame!
Declare Your glorious fame, declare Your glorious fame!
Their tables and their every room declare Your glorious fame!

O Lord, from Zion send Your peace, and prosp’rous make our ways;
thus may Your blessings e’er increase upon us all our days!
Upon us all our days, upon us all our days!
Thus may Your blessings e’er increase upon all us all our days!

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Deuteronomy by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy: Ancient Christian Commentary Series III, Joseph T. Lienhard, S. J. ed. in collaboration with Ronnie J. Rombs, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001). All quotations from John Calvin from John Calvin, Commentaries on The Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Order of A Harmony, Rev. Charles William Bingham M. A., tr. and ed. (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1863. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore