February 17, 2023 - Deuteronomy 22-26
These middle chapters in Deuteronomy present quite a lengthy presentation of the law. Many matters have already been covered, and from chapter 20 onward: warfare, unsolved murders, captives, inheritance rights, rebellious children, judicial sentences, and many other matters.
Chapter 26, pretty much, puts the capstone on all this. The Lord God is giving to Israel a land and all that is in it; therefore, she is obligated to obey him. Israel is to give back to God a portion of what he gives her and say, “Now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me” (26:10). Furthermore, Moses instructed Israel, “Set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you” (26:10,11).
And so, Israel is to obey God, but not merely with a begrudging observance; rather, with hearts filled with gratefulness. That is, they should be happy and eager to do all that God asks them to do. After all, God has done so much for them! And so it must be for us, also.
We thank you, then, Creator,
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time, and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
for all your love imparts,
and what you most would welcome:
our humble, thankful hearts.
All good gifts around us are sent from heav’n above.
We thank you, God, we thank you, God, for all your love. -- Matthias Claudius (1782)