And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God. — Deuteronomy 26:10
Some of the laws recorded in today’s text concern the subject of giving. I have seen firsthand how the Lord blesses those who help others. The oldest child in our family, my brother Lem, was handicapped from birth. When he was a teenager, the Lord saved him and put a love into his heart that shone out. Nobody had a question about whether or not Lem loved the Lord! When he sat in church, his was the loudest “amen” to be heard — it might not have been very plain, but it was clearly from the heart.
Several years ago, I moved to Woodlake, California, to become pastor of our church there. Lem came to live near us, and I began to understand why Lem had so much joy.
Lem never had much income. In his older years, he received a little check from Social Security and a little money from the government. When I became his pastor, I found out what he was doing with his money. For one thing, he was paying tithes — not just tithes, but double tithes. Then he would come to me and say, “Have you sent the check for Korea yet?” or, “Have you sent my offering for Africa?” An annual youth conference was started in our church in Brooklyn, New York, and Lem was there every time he could make it. After his first trip, he would ask, “Have you sent my contribution to the Brooklyn youth conference yet?” How did he do it on such a little income? I don’t know. Many of us have a hard time giving from our abundance, but Lem had a spirit of giving.
Some young people in our church congregation wanted to play an instrument in the church orchestra but their families could not afford music lessons. Lem came to me and said, “Do you think if I paid for it, they could have lessons?” He did not want them to know who was providing the lessons, but he made sure that those children got them. When one of those young people stood up in Sunday school and played “Jesus Loves Me” on his instrument, Lem was sitting in the back with the biggest smile you ever saw. Lem never played an instrument, but he could help somebody else do so. Why? Because he had a heart of giving; the by-product was joy. Lem was one of the happiest people I have ever known.
Lem was faithful in giving “unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow.” (26:13) How is our record in this respect?
Laws govern societies that strive to be upright — they are the means by which standards of right and wrong are established and adjudicated. Since laws are concepts and non-animate, there is no danger of bias or partiality in their entity. Though laws in and of themselves are not corrupt, the people who influence or enact them may be corrupt, thereby bringing about an unjust law.
In our text, God gave additional social laws to the people of Israel and showed what the true nature of law should be. It is only when law has satisfied the three essential concepts of truth, fact, and righteousness, that justice can be true. Society cannot function rightly without justice; neither can it please God.
Justice was at the heart of this new set of laws that God gave to the Children of Israel. Injustices, whether flagrant or concealed, were sinful before God. Here, God demonstrated to the people that He was interested in “just weight and measures.” He established laws that would eradicate partiality, unfairness, and abuse of power in economic and social life. By giving the laws, God showed the people that everyone was on a level plane before Him; everyone is subject to the same law of righteousness.
The laws recorded in today’s passage dealt specifically with economic and social injustice, and stewardship in giving. It is significant that God himself gave the laws. He did not give man the responsibility of determining the scope of it. In addition, the laws God gave were not developed as a result of lessons learned from past mistakes and infractions, but rather from His principle of holiness.
Oftentimes we refer to the “laws of nature,” which simply means the principle or the way in which the elements work. In a similar way, God has a way or principle. His principle is holiness. It is His holiness that necessitated the giving of His Law.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The second discourse: exposition of the Law
C. The exposition of the principle laws of Israel
3. Social legislation
g. Laws concerning economic and social injustice
(9) Concerning proper judicial punishment (25:1-3)
(10) Concerning the care of laboring beasts (25:4)
(11) Concerning Levitical marriage (25:5-10)
(12) Concerning indecent assault (25:11-12)
(13) Concerning just weights and measures (25:13-16)
(14) Concerning the extermination of the Amalekites (25:17-19)
h. Laws concerning stewardship (26:1-15)
(1) Concerning thanksgiving and firstfruits (26:1-11)
(2) Concerning prayer and special tithes (26:12-15)
4. Concluding exhortation and promise (26:16-19)
Throughout the Bible, people close to God have found that “his commandments are not grievous.” When we obey God’s law from the heart, we find His commandments to be “sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.”