Deuteronomy 12:1-16:17 – Ceremonial Consecration
Thoughts about serving others
This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.
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One Reply to “The One Place of Worship”
God commands them, through Moses, to honor their commitments by providing their offering, their tithes, at the place he will choose. They’re allowed to eat their own animals, “eat as much of the meat as you want” is repeated four times (Deuteronomy 12:15, 12:20, 12:21 & 12:27), but NOT what they have promised as their offering.
“You must not worship the Lord your God in their way” (Deuteronomy 12:4) and “be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods” (12:30). Moses reminds them that they are destroying these people, their idols and places for idol worship, everything about them. What they do is so offensive to God that the Lord wants to clean the slate, completely eliminate them.
Chapter 13 warns the people about worshiping other gods, the penalty for which is death. “Do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death” (13:8-9).
The first part of chapter 14 summarizes clean and unclean animals, birds and sea creatures. The second part reminds them to “set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year” (14:22). Moses provides options for those living far away from the temple (yet to be defined) and reminds them not to neglect the Levites, “for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own” (14:27). Every three years the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows receive the tithe so they may “be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” (14:29).
“At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts” (15:1). This would be an amazing rule! But it’s only for the “own people,” foreigners still have to pay! The result is prosperity for all: “there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you” (15:4). The community is very concerned about the welfare of its people, “freely lend them whatever they need” (15:8), “they” being the poor. “Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart” (15:10).
I love the idea of the festivals and God’s command to “be joyful at your festival, you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns” (16:14-15). Celebrate the goodness of our Lord! “Three times a year…no one should appear before the Lord empty-handed” (16:16), celebrate! It seems like we could learn something from these ancient times. Too often we see Sunday “celebration” services become “obligatory” services. Lord remind me of these traditions and help me to help churches celebrate joyfully, even three times a year!