April 13: The Curious Thing about God’s Work
Deuteronomy 26:1–27:26; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Psalm 40:1–17
Doing God’s work is a curious thing. It requires both mad rushes and patiently waiting.
Christ followers are meant to think like the psalmist did: “I waited patiently for Yahweh, And he inclined to me and heard my cry for help” (Psa 40:1). Yet Jesus’ followers are also meant to do His work at breakneck speed, as described in Deut 26:1, where the Israelites are told to take possession of the promised land and settle it.
We’re meant to recognize where the answers and timeframe come from: God. Giving the first of what we make to God’s work indicates this understanding: “You shall take from the firstfruit of all the fruit of the ground that you harvest from your land that Yahweh your God is giving to you … and you shall go to the priest who is in office in those days, and you shall say, ‘I declare today to Yahweh your God that I have come into the land that Yahweh swore to our ancestors to give to us.’ Then the priest takes the basket from your hand and places it before the altar of Yahweh your God” (Deut 26:2–4).
In ancient Israel, the firstfruits wouldn’t be wasted. This sacrifice would provide the priest with a livelihood so that he could serve Yahweh by serving others.
God has asked His followers to listen and to act, but to leave the timeframe of doing both up to Him. Giving after we complete both tasks shows that we realize that God has given us all we have, and it requires us to understand the purpose of sacrifice.
Just as the Israelites were a wandering people (Deut 26:5), we were also once wandering sinners. It’s for this reason, and many others, that we must trust our God in our patience, in our speed, and with our giving.
What is God asking you to be patient about, and where should you make haste? How are you currently neglecting to give?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Also when thou shalt come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for inheritance, and shalt possess it, and dwell therein, Then shalt thou take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, and bring it out of the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and put it in a basket, and go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, to place his name there. And thou shalt come unto the Priest, that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I acknowledge 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. Then the Priest shall take the basket out of thine hand, and set it down before the altar of the Lord thy God. And thou shalt answer and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian was my father, who being ready to perish for hunger, went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a small company and grew there unto a nation great, mighty and full of people. And the Egyptians vexed us, and troubled us, and laded us with cruel bondage. But when we cried unto the Lord thy God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our adversity, and on our labor, and on our oppression: And the Lord brought us out of Egypt in a mighty hand, and stretched out arm, with great terribleness, both in signs and wonders. And he hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, even a land that floweth with milk and honey. And now, lo, 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. And thou shalt rejoice in all good things which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and to thine household, thou and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase, and third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite and to the strangers, to the fatherless and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have transgressed none of the commandments, nor forgotten them, I haven not eaten thereof in my mourning, nor suffered ought to perish through uncleanness, nor given ought thereof for the dead, but have hearkened unto the voice of the Lord my God: I have done after all that thou hast commanded me. Looke down from thine holy habitation, even from heaven, and bless thy people Israel, and the land which thou hast given us (as thou swarest unto our fathers) the land that floweth with milk and honey. This day the Lord thy God doth command thee to do thse ordinances and laws: keep them therefore, and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. Thou hast set up the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his ordinances, and his commandments, and his laws, and to hearken unto his voice. And the Lord hath set thee up this day, to be a precious people unto him (as he hath promised thee) and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments. And to make thee high above all nations (which he hath made) in praise, and in name, and in glory, and that thou shouldest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath said. then Moses with the Elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments, which I command you this day. And when ye shall pass over Jordan unto teh land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster, And shalt write upon them all the words of this Law, when thou shalt come over, that thou mayest go into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster, And shalt write upon them all the words of this Law, when thou shalt come over, that thou mayest go into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee: a land that floweth with milk and honey, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee. Therefore when ye shall pass over Jordan, ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster. And there shalt thou build unto the Lord thy God an altar, even an altar of stones: thou shalt lift none iron instrument upon them. Thou shalt make the altar of the Lord thy God of whole stones, and offer burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord thy God. And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there and rejoice before the Lord thy God: And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this Law, well and plainly. And Moses and the Priest of the Levites, spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed and hear, O Israel: this day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt hearken therefore unto the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments and his ordinances, which I command thee this day. And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, These shall stand upon mount Gerizim, to bless the people when ye shall pass over Jordan: Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin. And these shall stand upon mount Ebal, to curse: Reuben, Gad, and Asher,a nd Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. And the Levites shall answer and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice. Cursed be the man that shall make any carved or molten image, which is an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place: And all the people shall answer and say: So be it. Cursed be he that curseth his father and his mother: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s mark: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that maketh the blind go out of the way: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that hindereth the right of the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife: for he hath uncovered his father’s skirt: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that lieth with any beast: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that lieth with his mother-in-law: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that smitteth his neighbor secretly: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that taketh a reward to put to death innocent blood: And all the people shall say: So be it. Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this Law, to do them: And all the people shall say: So be it. Deuteronomy 26:1–27:26
- Be not unequally yoked with the infidels: for what fellowship with righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath the beliver with the infidel? And what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols? for ye are the Temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell among them, and walk there: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and separate yourselves, saith the Lord, and touch none unclean thing, and I will receive you. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters, saihh the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1
- I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He borught me also out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the rock, and ordered my goings. And he hath put in my mouth a new song of praise unto our God: many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and regardeth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. O Lord my God, thou hast made thy wonderful works so many, that none can count in order to thee thy thoughts toward us: I would declare and speak of them, but they are more than I am able to express. Sacrifice and offerin gthou didst not desire: (for mine ears hast thou prepared) burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: for in the roll of the book it is written of me. I desired to do thy good will, O my God: yea, thy Law is within mine heart. I have declared thy righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I will not refrain my lips: O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within mine heart, but I have declared thy truth and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy mercy, and thy truth from the great Congregation. Withdraw not thou thy tender mercy from me, O Lord, let thy mercy and thy truth always preserve me. For innumerable troubles have compassed me: my sins have taken such hold upon me, that I am not able to look up: yea, they are more in number than the hairs of mine head: therefore mine heart hath failed me. Let it please thee, O Lord, to delive me: make hast, O Lord, to help me. Let them be confounded and put ot shame together, that seek my soul to destroy it: let them be driven backward and put to rebuke that desire mine hurt. Let them be destroyed for a reward of their shame, which say unto me, Ah, ah. Let all them that seek thee, rejoice and be glad in thee, and let them that love thy salvation, say always, The Lord be praised. Though I be poor and needy, the Lord thinketh on me: thou art mine helper and my deliverer: my God, make no tarrying. Psalm 40:1–17