Instructions for Being Blessed
Scripture reading for February 25th: Deuteronomy 12-16
Everyone loves to be blessed! Blessings are good things or special favor that come to a person who puts himself in a position to receive them. God is generous and He loves to bless His children who are obedient. In His desire to help them be ready to receive, He laid down instructions for receiving the blessings. Faith is required because some of the instructions go against our feelings and we struggle to see how blessing can come from giving away what we already have.
In the reading today, God instructs His people to only worship Him at the place He chose for them. (Deuteronomy 12:4-7) They were not to use the pagan places of worship used by the Canaanites, nor were they to just worship wherever they chose. God had a specific place where His presence would dwell in their midst. It was His presence that brought blessing, not just the act of sacrifice or worship.
The Israelites were to set aside a tenth (tithe) of all their produce and eat some of this in the presence of the Lord. There in God’s presence, they could rejoice and find rest and acceptance. They were to bring their tithes and offerings to help care for the Levites, who had no inheritance. (Deuteronomy 14:22-27) Their tithes in the third year would also be used to feed the aliens, the fatherless and the widows in their towns so they would not go hungry. God promises blessing for giving this away to help the Levites and the hurting.
After 7 years, all debts were to be canceled. God did not want His people becoming poor and slaves to another. He designed a year to release debts to help those who had had trouble managing their money. If the Israelites would do this as an act of obedience to God and love for their brothers, God would bless them!
If there was a poor person, God’s people were to be generous. (Deuteronomy 15:7-11) They were to give without a grudging heart and God promised blessing. He who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord and He will repay. (Proverbs 19:17)
To the natural mind, it looks like God’s people were always giving away to God or to those in need. This was God’s plan for blessing. God’s presence is near when we obey and He is the ultimate giver!