Deuteronomy 26 It’s Not Us
Posted by adventbiblestudy on December 9, 2014
Deuteronomy 26:1-19 NLTse (1) “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, (2) put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship–the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored. (3) Go to the priest in charge at that time and say to him, ‘With this gift I acknowledge to the LORD your God that I have entered the land he swore to our ancestors he would give us.’ (4) The priest will then take the basket from your hand and set it before the altar of the LORD your God. (5) “You must then say in the presence of the LORD your God, ‘My ancestor Jacob was a wandering Aramean who went to live as a foreigner in Egypt. His family arrived few in number, but in Egypt they became a large and mighty nation. (6) When the Egyptians oppressed and humiliated us by making us their slaves, (7) we cried out to the LORD, the God of our ancestors. He heard our cries and saw our hardship, toil, and oppression. (8) So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and powerful arm, with overwhelming terror, and with miraculous signs and wonders. (9) He brought us to this place and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey! (10) And now, O LORD, I have brought you the first portion of the harvest you have given me from the ground.’ Then place the produce before the LORD your God, and bow to the ground in worship before him. (11) Afterward you may go and celebrate because of all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household. Remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration. (12) “Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops. In this year of the special tithe you must give your tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, so that they will have enough to eat in your towns. (13) Then you must declare in the presence of the LORD your God, ‘I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, just as you commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten any of your commands. (14) I have not eaten any of it while in mourning; I have not handled it while I was ceremonially unclean; and I have not offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the LORD my God and have done everything you commanded me. (15) Now look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you swore to our ancestors to give us–a land flowing with milk and honey.’ (16) “Today the LORD your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly. (17) You have declared today that the LORD is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. (18) The LORD has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. (19) And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the LORD your God, just as he promised.”
When I look at the key words in this chapter, it is impossible to miss the message. Look how God introduced the land as a special possession and and summed up this chapter with; “The LORD has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands.”
Notice how the summary contains key words declared, promised, and commands. Also notice how the key word obey is included. It is not just knowing God’s commands. It’s not just telling other people to observe them. The truth and blessings lie in obeying God’s commands.
God formed a distinct movement in this chapter. The beginning of this chapter introduced a special offering. Knowing what that offering pointed to is the entire theme of this chapter. “With this gift I acknowledge to the LORD your God that I have entered the land he swore to our ancestors he would give us.”
God promised that land to their ancestors. Pay attention here, this is the main point of the whole chapter. God promised the land to His people long before Israel approached the borders of the promised land. Look at the trials and lessons those people had to go through. Generations had to suffer as slaves in Egypt for over 400 years for that generation to get to where they were, standing on the border of the promised land.
We can ask, “what did those people do to deserve that promised land?” They should have asked that question. We have to ask that question today. We’re all sitting around waiting for Jesus to return. Few people have any idea how much time, effort, and sacrifice previous generations put into getting us to this point in time. And few people seem to care.
God saw that coming. So He instituted an offering and a celebration so we wouldn’t forget. Seems people forgot about that also. I see too many people taking credit for their achievements and taking steps that are out of the established order God set, and those people who followed to the best of their ability.
God pointed out one example. When the Egyptians oppressed and humiliated us by making us their slaves, we cried out to the LORD, the God of our ancestors. He heard our cries and saw our hardship, toil, and oppression. Look at those key words God used to emphasis His point. All those people standing on the border of the promised land did was wonder around their whole lives while all those generations between them and Jacob suffered like no one can imagine.
Is that our fate? Are we going to wonder around until Jesus returns? Is that all we need to do? For one thing, God is telling us, we’re supposed to remember what previous generations did. We’re actually supposed to celebrate what they did. As a matter of fact, our message has so many more lessons added to it, we shouldn’t run out of information to celebrate and share.
God brought them out of Egypt with a strong hand and powerful arm, with overwhelming terror, and with miraculous signs and wonders. Did God stop working out? Did God grow weak? Did He stop caring and fighting for His people? Get real. God is still the same God who led those people to the promised land. If this generation is not hearing God’s voice, something is wrong on our end.
How many times did those people try to take the leadership role away from Moses? Each time God had to show them a sample of His miraculous signs and wonders. They wanted to change the way things were done as if they had the power to change God’s course and plans.
I see the same thing happening today. God gave His people a simple message. Jesus sent out seventy disciples and told them to tell people about God’s Kingdom. That message hasn’t changed in the Bible. But like those people who tried to take over for Moses, religious leaders today are taking over and inserting their own messages. They have no interest in what past generations have done, what they had to suffer, learn, and the lessons those trials are supposed to teach us. They make those ancient lessons look more like a funeral procession than a celebration.
Look at the key words God used to show what He’s done for us. Brought us out, enter, and another series, gave, and given. There is no question, God brought them out of Egypt and led them to the promised land, in His own time. God gave them the promised land. Those people standing on the border didn’t do anything to earn it. Kind of reminds you about salvation. But people still insist it takes more. More than what?
Look at the context. God freed them and God led them. How can salvation ever be more than Jesus freeing us and leading us? Why are people insisting they have a better plan. A better way to the promised land then Jesus’ directions.
The following should show you what to set your thoughts on. Remember to include the Levites and the foreigners living among you in the celebration. You must give your tithes to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. Isn’t this a list of people Jesus ministered to? Look at it. The list included the Levites. Those were the people who put Jesus on that cross. Those were the people who followed Jesus around trying to trip Him up. Those were the people who did everything they could to put an end to Jesus’ ministry. Notice how God grouped them together with all those foreigners, orphans, and widows, Jesus ministered to? Then why aren’t all churches doing the same today? Sure there are some. But to a great extent, Christian churches have replaced Jesus’ ministry and the example He died to establish with a new doctrine of mistrust and separation.
How many churches out there are misinterpreting the Bible by saying they’re some sort of private club you have to belong to and follow all of their rules, regulations, and bylaws to be saved? Where do they get that garbage from? I know. They get that trash from hunting around for a few verses from here and there they take out of context to establish their own idea of a new world order.
We’re supposed to share those stories and lessons about our ancestors with people. Like Moses repeated time after time in this chapter. “You have declared today that the LORD is your God.” Then let God led. The LORD has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands.
Notice how the word today is repeated. Moses interjected a sense of urgency. Before you get to the promised land, you better understand what you need to do today. There is no holding off or holding back. God opened the water in Jordan to let people through. He didn’t wait a few days for people to make up their minds. God didn’t come back a week, month, or years later to see if anyone changed their minds. God opened the waters and expected people to follow.
All God is asking is a small part of the harvest to share with people who need it. The trials those people face is supposed to remind us about how God was there for them. God fed Israel, Elijah, John, and others in the wilderness. Once we get out of that wilderness in life into whatever promised land God gave us, we’re supposed to share, and remember.
God gave land, homes, fields, vineyards, and His law. There is a balance between the key word give between land and God’s law. Look at the key word give throughout Deuteronomy. That balance is there for a reason.
Look at the key words. They’re highlighted for you and not every difficult to follow. Then think about those people getting ready to cross into the promised land. Think of what they did to get to the promised land and compare that to the ancestors this chapter points us back to. Think of how all of this points to your life, your path to the promised land.
I remember teaching a class where I taught other people how to give classes in church. I taught them how to be teachers. We always began by telling what Jesus did for us during the week. One day a lady said, “It doesn’t matter how much I do for Jesus, it never seems to be enough.” That took the class by surprise. If only more Christians had an attitude like that. I think that summed up the theme of this chapter. We can never do enough. But we have to learn to listen to make sure we’re doing the right thing.