This whole chapter really touched me this morning. That God wants there to be joy and belonging
The Firstfruits and Rejoicing
At the time of the harvest, the people were to take their tithe and bring it to the Lord. And there together with the priests, they were to remember the trials and tribulations in Egypt, how they were slaves and oppressed, and the Lord brought them out with a mighty hand. And now they were in the land of milk and honey, and here’s part of the harvest.
“You, the Levite and the foreign resident among you will rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given you and your household” (Lev 26:11).
The offering was a time of joy, shouting and celebration! Rejoice! For here is proof that the Lord keeps His promises. And He did a mighty deliverance. The abundance of food while often taken for granted, is a sign and call for great celebration.
The Year of the Tenth and an Odd Side Comment
“The Year of the Tenth” was the third year that they brought the extra tenth and it would go to the Levite, the foreigner, the widow and orphan. And then it said something that struck me as something very odd.
“I have take then consecrated portion out of my house; I have also given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherland and the widow, according to all the commands You gave me. I have not violated or forgotten Your commands. I have not eaten any of it while in mourning, or removed any of it while unclean, or offered any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God…” (26:13-14)
Perhaps it didn’t stand out to you, but because of my situation in life, I really was struck by the phrase, “I have not eaten any of it while in mourning.” We read in Scripture not to eat the sacrifice while unclean, or to do a dastardly deed and offer it for the dead. But to not eat it while in mourning? I believe this is the first place in Scripture that it says that.
And I pondered on why this is the case. Why not to bring an offering and participate in eating it while in a state of mourning. And that is because the offering and gifts were to come with celebration. There’s a time to mourn and a time to celebrate, and giving and making offerings is a time of celebration. To come with mourning would be like bringing sadness to a party. That’s fascinating.
You are My Treasure
And there’s the Scripture that speaks for itself. God’s holy and tender love for Israel in 26:18-19:
“And today the LORD has affirmed that you are His special people as He promised you, that you are to keep all His commands, that He will elevate you to praise, fame, and glory above all the nations He has made, and that you will be a holy people to the LORD your God as He promised.”