There is so much in the Old Testament, that called the people to remember how the Lord had delivered them and blessed them in abundance. At this point, the Israelites were still encamped on the east side of the River Jordan, receiving instruction from Moses, as to how the Lord would expect his people to live. They had been greatly blessed already and were about to enter a developed land of plenty. They did not have to start from scratch in a barren dessert, but were going to be blessed by the work of others before them. It was fitting that the Lord would expect the offerings, which begin this chapter.
1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein;
2 That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name there.
3 And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us.
4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God.
5 And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous:
6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:
7 And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:
8 And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:
9 And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey.
10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God:
11 And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.
The Israelites were commanded to give an offering at the house of the Lord, of the first fruits of the land. The harvest was there for them as a result of the protection and power of the Lord. As part of the ritual, they were to speak the remembrance of God’s blessings to their ancestors in Egypt. They were to remember their father Jacob, as he was stranger in the land, and how his family was blessed to become a mighty nation there. Then, they were to remember their deliverance from the bondage there. In a way, I think this would have been how they could consecrate their personal land of inheritance, to the Lord. Finally, they were to rejoice, and I would add give thanks, for all that they had been blessed with by the Lord.
12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
13 Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:
14 I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I taken away ought thereof for any unclean use, nor given ought thereof for the dead: but I have hearkened to the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that thou hast commanded me.
15 Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us, as thou swarest unto our fathers, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
The Israelites were commanded to keep the law of tithing. In this law, they could be perfect in life. As a result, they could ask that God continue to bless their land for them. The Lord would then fulfill the promise of prosperity in the land. The law of tithing exists still today. I am grateful that I can take an account of this in my own life, and know that I am perfect in this commandment. It gives me a greater hope of becoming perfect in all the commandments of God. I am also grateful for the trust I can place in the Lord, that as I am keeping this law, I will continue to be blessed as promised.
16 This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
17 Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:
18 And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.
The Israelite made or renewed their covenant with God, that He would be the God they worshipped, that they would keep his statutes, commandments and ordinances, and that they would listen to His voice. The Lord covenanted with them, that the Israelites would be His people as long as they kept His commandments, and that He would bless them above all nations. The Israelites were promised to be a holy people, continuing in the all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The footnote for peculiar in verse 18, says “or treasured”. I have often referred to myself as peculiar, for my devotions and commitment to study of the word of the Lord in particular. It seems like a negative term, because it’s not the popular way to be these days, but I think that I will think of this meaning of the word as I use it instead. Those who are peculiar for striving to follow the commandments and being a disciple of Jesus Christ, are treasured by the Lord.
Just as the Israelites were able to make covenants and give offerings to the Lord, we are able to make our own covenants and give our own offerings. The blessings that we can receive from these things are great and will help us to endure through this life. I believe also, that the blessings that will come in the eternities, will be the greatest there are to be received. I am grateful for the knowledge of covenants, and for the opportunity to strive each and every day to live worthy of them.