Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 24, 2009

Deuteronomy 14

• Idolatry Not to Be Tolerated | Deuteronomy 12:29–14:2

14:1-2 | God’s people were a holy people and were expected to act accordingly. They were to live their lives distinctively different from their heathen neighbors. As a holy people they were not to participate in any of the practices of their heathen neighbors. Moses cited as an example a superstitious heathen practice that involved shaving away a portion of hair as a symbol of mourning a death.

• Laws about Food | Deuteronomy 14:3-21

14:3-21 | These verses contain a specific list of clean and unclean animals. The Israelites were prohibited from eating any of the unclean animals. Some believe that health was the underlying reason behind the prohibition. However, the problem with the health or hygiene argument is that God still permitted the Israelites to give or sell unclean food to aliens (see 14:21). In addition, the Old Testament does not state that the Israelites considered the unclean animals dangerous to their health. Some argue that because God’s people were to be distinctive in every area of life, the dietary laws helped fulfill this purpose. What was permissible for others to eat was not permissible for the Israelites to eat. The dietary laws served to remind the Israelites of their status before God. The food laws also provided the Israelites with the opportunity to exercise faith and obedience.

• Laws about Tithes and Release | Deuteronomy 14:22–15:18

14:22-29 | These verses contain seven truths about tithing that are still valid today.

First, tithing is to be a regular exercise (14:22). Tithing would serve as a reminder to the people that their prosperity was the result of God’s provision.

Second, tithing is a spiritual exercise (14:23). The Israelites were to take the tithe and “eat in the presence of the Lord.” By placing our tithes before the Lord we are humbly reminded of His blessings. An unwillingness to tithe is the result of a deeper problem: God does not have us.

Third, tithing is a learning exercise (14:23). By bringing their tithes the people would “learn to fear the Lord your God always.”

Fourth, tithing is a flexible exercise (14:24-26). God made provision for how those who lived too great a distance from the place of worship were to bring their tithes.

Fifth, tithing is to be a joyful exercise (14:26).

Sixth, tithing is a beneficent exercise (14:27-29a).

Seventh, tithing is a blessed exercise (14:29b).

Giving to God should remind us of what He has given to us. | God gave the Israelites specific instructions concerning the giving of their tithes. These instructions were designed to remind the Israelites of the gracious provision of God. Every time we give to God it should serve as a reminder that He has first given to us. Tithing should remind us of both the presence and provision of God for our needs. God is not unreasonable in what He asks of us.

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