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Purpose: Deuteronomy 26:16-19 - Do we believe God's blessing is the best thing for our lives? If so, do we pursue His blessing or something else? This is the last of four Living Commentary messages on Deuteronomy 26 that show how much God wants to bless us.
If we believe His blessing is most important, then we will give as appropriate for His blessing is contingent upon our giving. God wants us to have a whole new attitude and this is reflected in this last section of Deuteronomy 26.
"This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. "You have today declared the LORD to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. "And the LORD has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; and that He shall set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the LORD your God, as He has spoken" (Deuteronomy 26:16-19).
The wonderful blessings are for those who fulfill the covenant. It is contingent upon obedience. In our immediate context we will think of this in terms of our spirit of giving. Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than receive." God's blessing is greater than anything earned on earth. He will give His blessing in a multitude of unexpected ways. If we think it will mean this or that, we might be disappointed but one will not be disappointed in the end. These words go beyond speaking about what is said earlier in chapter 26, however.
"It is more blessed to give
These words form the closing words of the third and longest section of Deuteronomy, chapters 12-26. Many laws were listed within this section. This second covenant called Deuteronomy, however, was specifically given to those who were to cross the Jordan river and occupy the land that the Lord would give them. The promises would follow on down to their descendants.
And perhaps, we should even think a bit broader even yet. In verse 16, Moses is not just speaking of the rules regarding tithes but all of them in this book and perhaps, because Deuteronomy really is the last of the five books of Moses, which are really one book, then Moses is here summarizing up the whole Pentateuch, commonly known as The Law. "All these statutes and ordinances" refers to those in Deuteronomy as well as in Exodus and Leviticus. God was and is making a people of God. If they would obey Him, He would be sure to bless them.
Can we be a generation that dares to obey Him? We will need to observe three things seen from the verses here.
When we are careful to do all the commands with all our heart and with all our soul, then and only then will we be considered obedient people. Otherwise we are rebellious. God's people have not traditionally been careful to obey the Lord. Rarely do we see His blessings as we could.
I challenge you to be one of these individuals, families and churches that dare to obey the Lord. We must remember that for us in the New Covenant, these commands have changed but their values have not. Jesus' command to love God and to love others usher us into the presence of God. As we obey His commands with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, God builds His image in our lives.
Moses is writing this and reading it before the people much as someone might slide a person's will in front of a person and ask him to sign. This was the day that verse 17 speaks of, the day that the covenant was presented and adopted (more of this in the fourth section of Deuteronomy).
They chose to obey Yahweh as God. They would follow His laws and ways and listen to His voice. This kind of commitment speaks of long-lasting impact on their lives and nation.
Lastly, in verses 18-19, we find that what God has promised to the Israelite people is far beyond anything that we could comprehend. The Creator of the universe puts His special revelation and favor upon a people and causes them to receive a blessing and to be blessed. Let's look at five special aspects of that blessing that are stated here.
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
There are two questions that often come from this special blessing on the Israelite people.
They are in a sense the same question. People see this good thing and want to be part of it. There are many with claims to help you with this or that. They do not have any intention to help you. They are out to sell, sell, sell. The Lord, however, will make sure to bless His Word.
God wanted to make this offer open and had plans to do so. We can see a hint of this through the way He commands the Israelites to care for and protect the immigrants. The plan would not be easy, however.
God needed to send His Son, Christ Jesus, into the world to open this plan to all. This is what He did with the New Covenant through Jesus. This is commonly called Christianity, but for many the word 'Christianity' blurs God's offer rather than clarifies it. Originally, they called the first followers of Jesus as the The Way. Nowadays, Christianity conveys, for many, a notion of political conservatism or hostile and aggressive imperialism or sensual materialism. Each is incorrect but there are those who misunderstand God's goodness.
The playing field for God's people starts here on earth and extends into eternity in a new heaven and earth. God has totally gone out of His way in His extraordinary grace to bring many into His kingdom. Everything is offered to us. And so like a tennis ball that is hit back onto our court, God asks us a question. "Will you love me with all your heart, soul and mind?" "Will you love your neighbor as yourself?"
God has not held back anything from us, but why is it that we want to make the Lord only a side part of our lives? If we are going to live for Him and see these extreme blessings in our lives, we will need to start training ourselves to look rightly to the Lord.
This can be done only if we think He is the key to all blessing. This is what Deuteronomy 26 is all about. God has given the Israelites the land. He has delivered them from Egypt. He has all these great plans and set how obedience is the key to reaching them. Even tithing is the means by which they can reach out in faith and see God's blessing in their lives.
We have heard too few stories of God's great ways of blessing us. They are all around us though. I recently heard of one sister who was committed to serve on a short term team but not having the finances. God arranged that through a conference at the end of the trip she could fly for free to this ministry!
I have used my personal laptop for ministry. I took it into dusty African safaris and hot humid plains of India. Praise God how he recently provided a way for me to upgrade my computer to the newest model. The company gave me a brand new computer to replace the dysfunctional one and with a little money I upgraded it to the new one that just came out. These are a few signs of His blessing, but those blessings are always super special because the way God answers.
Do not look on these challenges to give ten, twenty or thirty percent of your income to God's concerns as threats to your security. The evil one will want you to think of it that way. It is not. It is the opposite.
The Lord wants to give you more so that you can sit down in His presence with others and share His goodness. It works like this. As we give, we reflect the nature of God's goodness. This is what He desires ever so much, "'Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).
We will need to be deliberate about this process. ￼No one is going to check up on us now like the Old Testament priests did. No one will ask us to make a statement about how we used our money. But the Lord, through these verses, will one day check up on us. He will ask us, "How much did you love and believe me?" His blessing in the long run is always much greater (incomparable) than money.
Let us be that generation that puts our heart and trust in God. We want what He has more than all the things that the world boasts of. Now is the time for God's people to repent, turn back from serving themselves and begin to recognize their high and lofty calling in Christ Jesus. In obedience we can impact the world and even better reflect the glorious honor and love of God.
So let's summarize our thoughts on Deuteronomy 26.
Remember your humble roots so that you can be touched by God's grace.
Evaluate your giving patterns and improve them through faith.
Seek after God's greatest good.
This concludes our study on Deuteronomy 26.
Check out the podcast on Deuteronomy 26.
BFF Articles to Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy Introduction: Outline, index, Overview
Deuteronomy 2-3 Gaining Perpspective
Deuteronomy 5:1-23 Knowing God
Deuteronomy 5:1-5 Our Gracious Calling
Deuteronomy 5:6-21 Our Loving Standard
Deuteronomy 5:22-23 Our Special Relationship
Deuteronomy 8:1-20 Developing Strong Christian Lives 1 2 3 Podcast
Deuteronomy 22:5 Gender Culture Sins
Deuteronomy26:1-19 Reaching into our Hearts and Pockets | Podcast
Check for more resources on the OT & NT BFF Biblical Training Library!