Fear & Blessing

Deuteronomy 14:22 “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. 23 And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. 24 And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, 25 then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses 26 and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. 27 And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.

Tithing does not mean the giving of the surplus. Tithing would teach Israel to trust God that the remaining 90 percent was sufficient and that God would provide each year. Israel should have learned this fear through the provision of manna in the wilderness (Deut.8:3)…when the Lord your God blesses you. Underlining this whole legislation is a clear expectation of blessing. –ESVB

As I was reading Bible verses on fear this morning, I was intrigued by Deuteronomy 14:23. To insure I was reading it correctly and in context I read the verses surrounding it (above). I’m glad I did, it made vs. 23 even clearer. Three things stuck out to me:

1. This tithe was not burnt or given away to the priests. The family ate it! They left their farms, traveled to Jerusalem, and partied. God was requiring their trust, but blessing them in the process. Yes, they had to trust, but this requirement was for their good. It was to bless them and to give them enjoyment.

2. It is assumed that God would bless the Israelites…”when the LORD your God blesses you”.

3. Trust/Fear. Leaving their livestock and crops required much trust in God. Would they be there when they got home? It wasn’t just the husband that traveled to Jerusalem, but the entire family. They had to leave everything behind, trusting God to provide and protect their livelihood. He provided the food to tithe on. He commanded them to go to Jerusalem. So they must obey in faith. Trusting that everything on the home front would be ok and that the 90 percent left would be enough for the year.

I guess I was struck by the direct correlation between trust/fear in God, obedience, and blessing. I often think that trials/affliction are what produce trust/fear (which they do!). But, it seems like blessing does too.

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