Deuteronomy 14* The Israelites to distinguish themselves from other nations.(1-21) Respecting the application of tithes. (22-29)1-21 Moses tells the people of Israel how God had given themthree distinguishing privileges, which were their honour, andfigures of those spiritual blessings in heavenly things, withwhich God has in Christ blessed us. Here is election; "The Lordhath chosen thee." He did not choose them because they were bytheir own acts a peculiar people to him above other nations, buthe chose them that they might be so by his grace; and thus werebelievers chosen, #Eph 1:4|. Here is adoption; "Ye are thechildren of the Lord your God;" not because God needed children,but because they were orphans, and needed a father. Everyspiritual Israelite is indeed a child of God, a partaker of hisnature and favour. Here is sanctification; "Thou art a holypeople." God's people are required to be holy, and if they areholy, they are indebted to the grace God which makes them so.Those whom God chooses to be his children, he will form to be aholy people, and zealous of good works. They must be careful toavoid every thing which might disgrace their profession, in thesight of those who watch for their halting. Our heavenly Fatherforbids nothing but for our welfare. Do thyself no harm; do notruin thy health, thy reputation, thy domestic comforts, thypeace of mind. Especially do not murder thy soul. Do not be thevile slave of thy appetites and passions. Do not render allaround thee miserable, and thyself wretched; but aim at thatwhich is most excellent and useful. The laws which regarded manysorts of flesh as unclean, were to keep them from mingling withtheir idolatrous neighbours. It is plain in the gospel, thatthese laws are now done away. But let us ask our own hearts, Arewe of the children of the Lord our God? Are we separate from theungodly world, in being set apart to God's glory, the purchaseof Christ's blood? Are we subjects of the work of the HolyGhost? Lord, teach us from these precepts how pure and holy allthy people ought to live! 22-29 A second portion from the produce of their land wasrequired. The whole appointment evidently was against thecovetousness, distrust, and selfishness of the human heart. Itpromoted friendliness, liberality, and cheerfulness, and raiseda fund for the relief of the poor. They were taught that theirworldly portion was most comfortably enjoyed, when shared withtheir brethren who were in want. If we thus serve God, and dogood with what we have, it is promised that the Lord our Godwill bless us in all the works of our land. The blessing of Godis all to our outward prosperity; and without that blessing, thework of our hands will bring nothing to pass. The blessingdescends upon the working hand. Expect not that God should blessthee in thy idleness and love of ease. And it descends upon thegiving hand. He who thus scatters, certainly increases; and tobe free and generous in the support of religion, and any goodwork, is the surest and safest way of thriving.
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