“A Tithy Over Tithing” – One Year Bible Reading – March 30

Old Testament:  Deuteronomy 13: 1-15:23

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Dt.  13: 1 -18  Mr. Big Shot

If a Mr. Big Shot starts getting up and prophesying and doing a few miracles and then says, “Hey, let’s go follow other gods.”  You are to off him.  It is evil.  Stay with the Lord and what Moses has commanded.

If your closest family members try to seduce you to other gods, you are to off them, too.  Have no mercy.  He is to be stoned . . .  with real stones (Dt. 13: 10).

If you hear of a city in the midst of Israel that is following a false prophet, the whole city is to be thoroughly judged.  If it is found guilty, it is to be burned and the inhabitants and cows offed.  All the booty is to be piled in the middle of town and burnt as an offering to God.  No one is to keep any of it for themself.  The city is never to be rebuilt.  It will be a heap that will remind everyone of the idolatry of the town (cf. Josh. 7:24-26 and the story of Achan who tried to give some stuff for himself in a similar situation).

Dt.  14: 1 -21  No Roadkill

It has become somewhat popular for kids in this day and age to “cut” themselves.  Not good.  We need to help our children today.  They are so hopeless.  They need the Lord!  Cutting was prohibited in the OT because pagans did such.

The Israelites were also to separate themselves in the area of diet.  There were animals they could eat and others they couldn’t.  They could eat anything that 1) had hoof that was split AND 2) chewed the cud (chewed their food and then spit it up and and chewed it some more – yeah, I know that’s gross, I don’t make the rules!).  The split hoof could very well symbolize being separated from the nations.  The chewing of the cud is similar to the word for meditate in Hebrew.  So in the very first Psalm, we are told to meditate on the Word, it is similar to eating and spitting it up and chewing again.  In other Words, “mulling” on the Word.

The Israelites were NOT to eat any animals that did not BOTH chew the cud and have split hooves.  Shapans, camels, and pigs are out!  Don’t have me over for those!  I also believe that the animals that were forbidden to Israel were not healthy for them.  I will occasionally eat pork but given a choice I will generally shun it.  Pigs are scavengers.  Who knows what they put in their mouths.  And have you ever seen the way they live?  But, yes, we are told we can eat anything in the New Testament (Mk. 7: 14-23; Acts 10: 9-23).  On the other hand, the Israelites had their dietary laws and didn’t get sick like the Egyptians did (Dt. 7: 15).  Maybe it’s best to go for the Israelite diet.

In regards to fish, anything that had fins AND scales could be eaten.  Otherwise, no.  By the same token, there were birds listed as clean that could be eaten and those that were unclean and could not be eaten.  Anyone for roast buzzard?  Me neither.  Good thing they’re not on the list.

Only animals that were killed could be eaten and we’re not talking roadkill.  The buzzards could have that.  Perhaps part of the reason was that the blood would not be drained properly and another reason might be that they had a communicable disease that did them in.  Yet still, another reason might be that killed animals are symbolic of Christ who was the supreme sacrifice who was killed for us.

Again, the kid in the mother’s milk thing (Ex. 23:19; 34: 26).  Why?  Because God said so.  Perhaps, also, because the pagans ate baby goats in mother’s milk.

Dt.  14: 22 -29  A Tithy Over Tithing

The Israelites were to tithe, that is, give one tenth of all they produced at the Temple or Tabernacle.  If the place was too far to bring their goods, they could trade their stuff for money and then buy what they wanted to offer when they got to their destination.  Thus, the moneychangers were performing a good service.  They were just setting up business in the wrong place, in the area provided for Gentiles to pray rather in town.  They were probably also taking advantage of the travelers and cheating them in the exchange.  When the offerings were given, they were to remember the Levites who depended on them for their sustenance.

People who know anything about tithing usually know nothing about tithing.  There were three tithes given by the Israelites.  If you were to make a chart, you would see that they gave different things to different people at different times (see Ryrie Study Bible, on Mal. 3:8, “Two tithes were required: an annual tithe for the maintenance of the Levites – Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21 – and a second tithe brought to Jerusalem for the Lord’s feast -Deut. 14:22. Every third year, however, the second tithe was kept at home and used for the poor (Deut. 14:28). One’s use of money is often a barometer of his spirituality – cf. 1 John 3:17.”  Contra Ryrie, it is possible the third tithe was in addition to the second tithe yielding an annual average of 23.33 % giving to the Temple.   J. Vernon McGee thinks the total was 30%! Offerings (Mal. 3:8, “AND offerings” NIV or “contributions” NASB) could be over and above the giving of the tithes.

Dt.  15: 1 -23  Capitalism Or Socialism?

How about both?  The sin nature cannot always be neutralized but Yahweh’s laws certainly do the most of any system to put greed in check.  Every seventh year loans had to be forgiven.  This kept the poor from spiraling into debt.  Every fiftieth year all debt had to be forgiven.  This system would ensure that Israel would be a rich nation who would loan to others but not have to borrow.  The seventh year of forgiveness was not to be taken in consideration when a poor person needed assistance.  The Israelites were to be generous just as God had been generous to them.  The foreigners did not have these privileges (Dt. 15:3).  There will always be poor that would need assistance (Dt. 15:11; Mt. 26: 11).

People could voluntarily “enslave” themselves to erase their debt but they had to be freed after six years.  They could choose to stay with a family to whom they had grown close  or perhaps married another slave serving them.  They had to make a public statement by having an awl driven through their ear to show their commitment.  If a slave decided to take his freedom, the “owner” was to make sure he was provided for while he re-established himself.  Yahweh will bless the “owner” for being generous.  The “owner” benefits since the slave usually has produced for him at half the cost of a normal laborer (Dt. 15: 18).

The firstborn of the flocks and herds cannot be used for profit.  They could be eaten as part of the sacrifices made at the Temple or Tabernacle.  If the firstborn is defective, it can not be used as a sacrifice.  That would ruin the symbolism of Christ being a sacrifice without defect.  It could be eaten, however, at home but the blood, as always, had to be poured out.

Notice the rules above enable a person to provide for him or herself while ensuring they will not continue to spiral in debt.  Work and thus a healthy view of self is encouraged.

New Testament:  Luke 8: 40-9:6

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Luke 8: 40-56  Not A Laughing Matter

The story of Jairus is recounted again (cf. Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43).  Jairus was an official at the synagogue.  He sought out Jesus to heal his only daughter, about twelve years old.  She was dying.  A crowd was pressing against Jesus and in the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years.  She touched the hem of Jesus’ robe and her bleeding stopped.  Jesus could tell that “power had gone out of” him (Lk. 8:45).  The disciples didn’t believe anyone had touched Jesus but the woman confessed that she had.  Jesus told her that her faith had made her well.  It is by touching Jesus by faith that we are made whole spiritually.

Meanwhile, a messenger came from Jairus house to say that Jairus’ daughter had died and there was no need to bother Jesus about it.  Jesus told Jairus to believe and that his daughter would be healed.  Jesus went into Jairus house with only Peter, John, and James along with the girl’s mother and father.  Everyone was crying but Jesus said to stop crying because the girl was only asleep and not dead.  The people in the house “laughed” at Jesus because they knew she had expired.  Jesus had the last laugh.  He pulled her up by the hand telling her to get up.  She got up as He was pulling on her and He commanded that food be brought for her.  The parents were bedazzled but Jesus told them to be quiet about it all.

Luke 9: 1-6  Road Trip!

Jesus sent the twelve disciples out with special powers to validate their message.  They could heal and cast out demons.  They were to proclaim the kingdom.  They were not allowed to take accoutrements like a staff, bag, food or money.  They were to stay in people’s houses.  If a city did not receive them, they were to shake the dust off their feet as a testimony against them.  They went on the move through various villages, preaching and healing.

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