September 19, 2019

I Promise to be Good!

Deuteronomy 26

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Offerings of Firstfruits and Tithes

“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.

“And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror,1 with signs and wonders. And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. 11 And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you.

12 “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, 13 then you shall say before the LORD your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. 14 I have not eaten of the tithe while I was mourning, or removed any of it while I was unclean, or offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God. I have done according to all that you have commanded me. 15 Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the ground that you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.’

16 “This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have declared today that the LORD is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice. 18 And the LORD has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, 19 and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.”

Footnotes

[1] 26:8 Hebrew with great terror

I Promise to be Good!



Key Verse | Deuteronomy 26:11

"And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you."

Bio | Natalie Fournet

Hi, my name is Natalie Fournet. My husband Beau and I have six children ranging from a senior in high school down to a three year old (three boys and three girls, three adopted children and three biological children). We love how God arranged our family so beautifully! We most love how "[i]n love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." (Ephesians 1:4b-5)

Central Truth

No more trying to earn God's favor by promising to do more and be more to please Him! Let us rightly respond to His goodness and rejoice in all the Lord has given us!

Devotional | Deuteronomy 26

As a child, I had a tree outside my bedroom window that made frightening noises and shadows during storms at night. I can remember praying for the Lord to calm the storms, and in those prayers I often made a deal...

As a child, I had a tree outside my bedroom window that made frightening noises and shadows during storms at night. I can remember praying for the Lord to calm the storms, and in those prayers I often made a deal with God. "God I promise to be good, if only you will make the storm go away." There have also been times in my adult life that I have tried to make similar deals with the Lord in my prayers. When I faced four miscarriages, I wanted to promise God anything in exchange for Him to give life to my child. I have not always been confident in my relationship with God, believing at times that I had to offer something to earn His favor. As the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and prepared to battle the Canaanites, they perhaps felt similar anxieties and misguided motives that I have felt.

In Deuteronomy 26:1-15, God is instructing His people to offer their first fruits, not so that they may earn His favor, but so they may be rightly reminded of whom to trust for all provision. In Deuteronomy 26:11, God is instructing the Israelites to remember and declare that God is good. There is great joy in knowing that we can personally approach the Lord our God. And we do not need to make futile promises and weak deals with God, nor do we need to fear an uncertain future. Instead of trying to do more, be more, or make more promises, we can trust Him with every aspect of our lives. "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Scripture reminds us to trust in God's goodness. There will be storms in our lives, but we have hope because God is faithful. Spending time daily in His Word and living in community encourages me to focus on the Lord's faithfulness. "But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation." (Psalm 13:5, NASB)

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Discussion Questions

1. How are you investing time to know more of the goodness of God?

2. Who in your life is helping you to better know and live in a right response to all the Lord has given you?

3. What motivates your good deeds? Is it to earn God's favor or rightly respond to His goodness?

4. Deuteronomy 26:11 reminds us to "rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house." Are you a glass-half-empty or a glass-half-full type of person? Do you focus on pain and unmet desires, or do you focus on God's goodness and promises?

8 Comments available

Michael Scaman about 11 hours ago

“And the LORD has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession”

In fact later God will say they are a diadem to Him (Isaiah 62:3) and He is a diadem to them (Isaiah 28:5).

Scott Jones about 11 hours ago

Hope, so grateful for how you and others bless us daily with your comments.

greg jones about 11 hours ago

Great devotional this morning.

There seems to be something in our DNA about making deals.

Verses 12-14 verse 12 starts with “when you have”. Followed by “then you shall say before the LORD your GOD” in verse 13. This leads to two “I have, two “I have not, then again two more I have, 13b-14.

15 Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the ground that you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.’

Look down and bless us as you swore seems focus on an inheritance of milk and honey. Heirs through Christ, taking up a cross narrative seem to point to a refocus. A focus on the fatherless, sojourner, being priestly.

Great job of pointing us in the right direction this morning.

Lindsey Driscoll about 14 hours ago

Thank you momma Natalie for your devo today! I see today how we are to share with others by giving what the Lord has provided to first the Lord and then others as he directs in verses 1-15. The outflow of that is in verse 26:11 rejoicing with fellow believers and with aliens. We know our giving is never to be done in a prideful way as Matthew 6:3 shows us, but we should rejoice as we give. Acknowledging that God has provided all we need.

Sue Bohlin about 15 hours ago

Thank you, Natalie! I wonder how many of those negotiating-type prayers God hears a day?

My husband Ray was explaining to his homeschool science classes about his policy concerning work turned in late. At one point he said, “With such-and-such, I will give grace.” One of the students asked, “What is grace?”

He and I were both dumbstruck. A high school student didn’t know what grace was. Bless her heart.

Today’s reading is a great example of grace: God promised to a people not even seeking Him, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, and He was about to move them into homes and fields and vineyards they didn’t build or plant. Undeserved favor and blessing–that’s grace. No wonder He wanted them to return thanks to Him with the firstfruits of this unworked-for possession!

Hope Harris about 16 hours ago

GM JTJ family,

Today I am reminded that gratitude changes how I view life. It also allows me to freely give of my time, money and resources.

I am grateful today for the major blessing of JTJ it has forever changed my life.

Hugh Stephenson about 17 hours ago

The totality of my required commitment is part of the incredible blessing.

So many friends make Jesus their Savior but not the Lord of the daily life. They miss the blessing of total surrender.

James reminds me about being “double minded”. I can be focused on my will or His will not both.

I am thankful for the 100% clarity of a 100% commitment. As I have heard said, “99% is a burden but 100% is a breeze”.

Hugh Stephenson about 17 hours ago

GM Natalie. Great devo and great reminders.

2 Timothy 3:16 – God is summarizing what I should do, why I should do it and what an incredible blessing I will receive as His “treasured possession”.

I am centered on verse 16 which summarizes the last 21 chapters, (Constable). I note this summary is in the form of a command as God has declared that He has chosen me and proscribed my response to His grace.

I also note that God cites HOW I will make my response – carefully and “with all your heart and with all your soul.”

I am to be all in or all out. There is no partial commitment. Or partial obedience. He offers me a straight path with the clear command that partial obedience is disobedience and partial loyalty is disloyalty.

His incredible blessing will be His praise, fame and honor as His “treasured possession”.

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