March 24, 2020
God knows how things are to operate. He has a plan for our lives and for His people and His kingdom. When we humbly follow His plan all is well. But when we violate His plan we miss what is best. And God is jealous for us to follow Him explicitly. He knows that if we miss this, we miss everything that matters and lasts.
THE AI LESSON
Joshua had led the people in a glorious victory over Jericho because they had done precisely as God had instructed. One of God’s clear instructions about Jericho was that no one should take any spoils from the conquered city. This city was the first they conquered in the Promised Land. Therefore, the firstfruits belonged to God. This did not just pertain to Jericho—this was a principle that God had given for everything that anyone ever receives. The tithe, the firstfruits are to be reserved for God alone.
They went on to the next city, Ai and suffered a terrible defeat. Joshua’s immediate response was to go to the Lord in prayer and find out what had happened … to appeal to their ultimate Leader.
God told Joshua to rise up and deal with Israel’s sin. Someone had stolen from God, taking some things from Jericho that belonged to God. They discovered that Achan had stolen some gold from Jericho. When this sin was discovered and resolved, the favor of God returned to the Israelites and they defeated their enemies with God’s help.
God can see everything. When we sin against Him, we cannot hide from His gaze, as Achan tried to do. We will be uncovered before God. And Achan’s sin? Robbing God of the tithe, the firstfruits of the land, that belonged to God. Malchi would later warn us of the same sin.
God is gracious and loving, but the commands He gives are for a purpose. He knows that we need to bring the firstfruits, the tithe (which means 10%), to Him and thus be reminded that everything comes from Him and belongs to Him. And this principle is still true. Jesus would remind us of this tithing principle in Matthew 23:23.
We may think this is harsh, but this command from God (bringing the tithe of all we receive into God’s storehouse) is designed as a constant reminder to keep our lives in a right posture before the One who made and has given everything to us. He is jealous for this and His jealousy is for our good.
Father, thank You for the perfection of Your jealousy. Thank You that You know what is best for me. Thank You for the privilege of bringing the firstfruits of all I have to You each week and for the reminder that You are the Creator and Giver of all and there is no other! Help me to relax my hands and give freely to You!
July 02, 2022
July 01, 2022
In each generation there are wicked rulers leading nations to do wicked things, oppressing those around them with senseless violence and evil. Hitler had his day and Stalin, and now Putin as he ravages Ukraine.
Where is God in all of this? The small, one-chapter book of Obadiah gives us the answer: God will always, ultimately judge wicked men nations. Justice wins the day. Notice God’s word through Obadiah to the wicked nation of Edom. No nation that ignores God will escape His judgment.
June 29, 2022