Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 14/Chapter 14

Chapter 14 observations
This next section of Deuteronomy is an interesting one. It falls into the additional requirements for the people of Israel. First and foremost they were to be God’s people and obey Him. I believe you could sum up the first section of Deuteronomy (chapters 4-11) with Jesus’ words in the Gospels. “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” That is the essence and message of God’s main requirement in Deuteronomy. This next section moves into the extra things to help the people love Him and their neighbors.

If I were to give a sermon over this section it would cover things like:
- Reasons to avoid copying pagan practices (i.e., what to think about the dead, how to memorialize them without idolizing them, what to eat, what not to eat).

- How to give and tithe to God. They were to give a tenth to the LORD and eat this tenth in His presence (the Tabernacle/Temple). Every three years they were to store up their tithes in a storehouse for the Levites (Priests), the alien, fatherless, and widows. So, you see a sense of helping and taking responsibility while giving. Giving was God’s way to teach His people to rely on Him and be thankful.
I guess you could argue that they were not tithing money and so I do not need to tithe money, but their culture and context was different than ours. Money for them would have been what their fields produced, the grain, the wine, the oil, along with the herding type animals they raised (i.e., sheep, goats, cows, etc.). If you don’t believe me that these things were just as good as money look at verse 25. It says they can exchange their tithe (their grains, cattle, oil) for silver (that’s money!). To give a tenth of these was to tithe their income. God wanted them doing this. He says in verse 23 that this will help them, “revere the LORD your God always.”

- I think I would then explore how we give and why. What is our purpose in giving? Why do we do it? Do we think of it as a learning experience? Do we think that tithing can teach us to trust God?

Think that would work as a sermon?

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