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©John Yerkes

Chapter 26:12-19 (ESV)

Posted on April 05, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 26:12-19 (ESV) - “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, 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. 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. 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.’

“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. 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. 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, 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.”

Question to consider: If the first fruit offering was a measure of one’s faith, what did the tithe measure?

To refresh our memories, Israel had both an annual tithe and a triennial tithe (every three years). The annual tithe was brought to the place of the tabernacle (eventually Jerusalem) where the people shared in a giant feast, and the rest supplied the needs of the descendants of Aaron who served as priests in the tabernacle.

The triennial tithe mentioned in today’s passage was the one given locally to care for the Levites who ministered in the local town as well as widows, orphans, and resident aliens. While the first fruit offering was an act of faith, the tithe was an amount which was given from what was harvested. While it may still be considered an act of faith, it was more of a measure of the heart. Someone who joyfully gave to those in need exhibited compassion. Someone who joyfully gave to a sojourner exhibited a desire for them to know the love of the one true God. Jesus summarized our view of money in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The statement Moses had them say upon giving the tithe was a promise that the entire tithe was given and recognized that it was all provided by the LORD. Every participation in the covenant whether it be through obedience, giving, or celebration connected all generations to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt to be a people set apart (holy) to the LORD from the rest of the nations. Out of all of these generations, there was only one who was able to obey in full accord with the declaration in today’s passage, and that was Jesus. It is only through Him that the LORD could promise that Israel shall be holy in this way, for it is only His righteousness that is given through faith. The righteousness that comes from the Law is only given to those who have kept it perfectly.

It is through Christ that we are connected to all of God’s people through the generations, and no greater participation demonstrates this than our participation in the communion meal. When we gather together around this table, we are gathering with people from every tribe, nation and generation throughout time along with all of the hosts of heaven.


Dear heavenly Father, we thank You for providing all of our needs. Help us to trust in You instead of our government or in the abundance of things. Thank You for gathering us together around Christ’s table. We look forward to the feast to come in which we will fully realize and experience this celebration. Amen.