Year 2 Day 203
Read - Deuteronomy 26:1-4
Message - Alan Burke
Today less and less people are dependant on the land for their livelihoods, for most of us though if we go back one of two generations we find that things were very different for our families. Many of our forefathers were totally reliant on the land, their lives were linked indelibly to it. At the same time we know others to a greater or lesser degree are dependant on the land and you may be one of them as you read this. This coming Lord’s day as every Lord’s day give thanks in Lissara to God for all that he has done, but as we do, we remember his provision to us in providing a harvest. So we take a break from 1 Samuel this week and look to the book of Deuteronomy.
At this stage the people of God were not an agricultural people, they had been enslaved in Egypt and when Moses spoke these words to them they were living a nomadic life in the wilderness. They did not need to work the ground, harvesting the crops for the Lord provided for their daily needs and many of them wouldn’t have known anything but manna and quail (Ex 16:2-26). They were a people who had lost any real concept of the harvest.
The section that we look at today forms only part of the teaching of how God’s people were to live. It began at the beginning of chapter twelve but in all of it, the Lord through Moses was teaching his people who they were and how to live in response to what he the LORD had done for them. In this passage, Deuteronomy 26, it deals with the first harvest after they had settling in the land and made it their home, when they had got to grips with the plow, stickle and the pitchfork.
First the LORD though Moses reminds them as they look expectantly to that future hope of entering the promised land, that all of it was in God’s gracious purposes. It wasn’t their military prowess, their skill with the sword that would bring this about, No it was God. This is the truth that should be the foundation of their lives as they live as His people in the promised land that He was giving them, living under His rule and blessing. This truth above all else should be the foundation for how they were to live and their motivation underpinning how they were to live. Indeed their lives were to be lived as response for what God had done for it was by grace alone they were there (2-4).
After settling in the land, after making it their home, when they had got to grips farming they were to bring the first-fruits of the ground, the wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates to the LORD. Because it was the Lord who had provided all they had according to his grace, it was the Lord who did provide, it was the Lord who brought forth each new day, who gave them the sun and the rain who made their crops grow and this bringing of the first fruits was an acknowledgement of the graciousness of God. For it was the LORD God in his grace that they would inherit this land and they were given the harvest and the knowledge of his grace and his provision should lead them to respond with the first fruits giving them to God.
I know we are more use to getting milk from a carton than a cow, we have lost any concept of what seasonal fruit and vegetables are, after all we live in a global village. But we still should thank God every day for his provision to us, for giving us our daily bread but most of all for his provision of a saviour, Jesus Christ.
Q83 Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others. (Ezek. 8:6,13,15, 1 John 5:16, Ps. 78:17,32,56)