Deuteronomy 26:1-15 – Living Life With An Attitude of Gratitude

Posted: April 15, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 26:1-15

Firstfruits and Tithes

An attitude of gratitude is one of the catch-phrases of Christian circles. We are to live with an attitude of thankfulness for what the Lord has done for us in our salvation. Why should we have an attitude of gratitude? Outside the faith, Jesus is just a nice guy that started a religious movement. He is a great philosopher. He was a rebel against the status quo. He was one of many great religious philosophers like Buddha, Mohammad, Confucius, and all the others. He was a philosopher rebel who had great faith in the higher power that runs the universe. He was one of those that had achieved oneness with the fabric of the universe. He is an option among many options that lead to heaven. He was just a man. The miracles and all that resurrection stuff was added by the church later.

 

So, if that is the case, then why do we, inside the faith, have to live a life that is characterized by an attitude of gratitude if Jesus was just a man and just another of the options of how to get to heaven. That fact is that we believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, God in the flesh, God with  us, Emmanuel. We believe that He is God and that He came to earth in all humility to live the perfect, sinless life as an example to us all. He came to walk among us so that we would know what God is like. He came to live among us so that we will know that He is familiar with our pains, joys, sorrows, and victories. He came to earth to teach us about the kingdom of God. He came to earth and lived the perfect, sinless life so that He could become the perfect Lamb for sacrifice to complete the Old Testament sacrificial system. He came to earth to be the Lamb that is sacrificed for our sins. He took on the cross to take on the wrath of God for the sins of all mankind, past, present and future. God poured out His wrath against sin upon Jesus. Jesus took on all that anger toward sin from a perfect, sinless, holy God.

 

That’s the gratitude part. We, as believers, know that we cannot make ourselves better. We cannot make ourselves perfect. We cannot ever be perfect. We know that we cannot be perfect, sinless, and holy like God. And, we know that it is that condition that we must have to enter into the presence of God in heaven. We know that we cannot obtain perfection. We know that we cannot enter having by simply doing more good than bad. Before God, we must be perfect not just more good than bad. We know that with our first sin committed in life, that it disqualifies us from perfection. Not to mention that we cannot go through a day without taking some sinful action and/or having some sinful thought. With sin in our life history, we are imperfect. We are flawed. There is no one that has the capability of going through a lifetime without having sinned or having had at least one sinful thought. The only one that can make that claim is God in the flesh, Jesus Christ.

 

As believers, we know that we are bound for hell even if we have only committed one sin in a lifetime. We know, in piling on to that, that we sin daily without fail. Thus, we are doomed to spend eternity separated from God in the fiery pit of hell, where there is the burning of flesh and gnashing of teeth and eternal suffering. We stand at the precipice of hell and as soon as we die, we will be judged and caste into that reality of eternity in hell. There is only one way out and that is believing that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the punishment of our sins. He took on the wrath for the sentence that we deserve as dreadful sinners. It is through this act of grace by Jesus that we are made right with God. All we have to do is believe that this is why Jesus died on the cross. And we must believe that He arose from the dead so that we will know that we have victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ. His resurrection gives us hope for not only this life but also knowing for real that there is an eternity in heaven waiting for those who believe that Jesus is more than just a man who died for a political reason but rather God in the flesh. There is an eternity waiting for us in heaven with Jesus before the Father because we believe in Him as the Son of God.

That is where our attitude of gratitude comes from. If you have forgotten the desperateness of your life before God in the absence of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, think about it this weekend. You cannot be anything but grateful. We should be the most joyous people on the planet because of what we know to be true in Jesus Christ. Never ever forget what our faith in Jesus Christ has saved us from. Live with an attitude of gratitude.

 

Living with an attitude of gratitude for what Jesus has done for us is what I thought about when reading today’s passage, Deuteronomy 26:1-15. Let us read it together now:

 

26 When you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, 2 take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the Lord your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name 3 and say to the priest in office at the time, “I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the land the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.” 4 The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. 5 Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous. 6 But the Egyptians mistreated us and made us suffer, subjecting us to harsh labor. 7 Then we cried out to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, toil and oppression. 8 So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. 9 He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; 10 and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. 11 Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.

 

12 When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 Then say to the Lord your God: “I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. 14 I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God; I have done everything you commanded me. 15 Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

 

This passage is about an attitude of gratitude. In vv.5-10, we see the thankfulness for God having chosen Israel as His people. He delivered them from bondage in Egypt and has brought them to the Promised Land. He has protected them throughout the journey and now they stand at the promised land. As a result they should live lives marked by gratitude toward God in everything. They know that without the mighty hand of God that they would be either still in bondage or dead and definitely without hope for a future. They were saved by God’s grace and love for them, His people. Thus, these offerings spring from an attitude of gratitude.

 

Should we not feel the same way about our offerings to the Lord? If someone saved your life, would you not be eternally grateful to them and would think about showering them with gifts. Should we not be the same with the Lord. Should we not shower Him with the gifts that come from our labors. Should we not be so grateful that we want to see His church succeed and carry the message that we have in our hearts to the nations. Should we not be so eternally grateful that we share the fruits of our labors to God so that the gospel can reach farther and deeper into a dying world. How grateful are you for what God has done? Are you a tither and more? It is easy to say I love Jesus but it is harder to say I love you Jesus and as a result I put you first in my finances. I want to show you that you get the first of everything thing from me including my money! How grateful are you for what He has done? If you are just giving 2% move to 3% and then to 4% and then to 5% and on up. Begin to live life in a way that you can live on 90% or less of what you earn so that you can lavish your firstfruits on the One to who we are eternally grateful – Jesus Christ. It is not about the money itself. It is about being obedient and thankful and grateful. It is about having an attitude of gratitude.

 

Amen and Amen.

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