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 them

three distinguishing privileges, which were their honour, and

figures of those spiritual blessings in heavenly things, with

which God has in Christ blessed us. Here is election; "The Lord

hath chosen thee." He did not choose them because they were by

their own acts a peculiar people to him above other nations, but

he chose them that they might be so by his grace; and thus were

believers chosen, #Eph 1:4|. Here is adoption; "Ye are the

children of the Lord your God;" not because God needed children,

but because they were orphans, and needed a father. Every

spiritual Israelite is indeed a child of God, a partaker of his

nature and favour. Here is sanctification; "Thou art a holy

people." God's people are required to be holy, and if they are

holy, they are indebted to the grace God which makes them so.

Those whom God chooses to be his children, he will form to be a

holy people, and zealous of good works. They must be careful to

avoid every thing which might disgrace their profession, in the

sight of those who watch for their halting. Our heavenly Father

forbids nothing but for our welfare. Do thyself no harm; do not

ruin thy health, thy reputation, thy domestic comforts, thy

peace of mind. Especially do not murder thy soul. Do not be the

vile slave of thy appetites and passions. Do not render all

around thee miserable, and thyself wretched; but aim at that

which is most excellent and useful. The laws which regarded many

sorts of flesh as unclean, were to keep them from mingling with

their idolatrous neighbours. It is plain in the gospel, that

these laws are now done away. But let us ask our own hearts, Are

we of the children of the Lord our God? Are we separate from the

ungodly world, in being set apart to God's glory, the purchase

of Christ's blood? Are we subjects of the work of the Holy

Ghost? Lord, teach us from these precepts how pure and holy all

thy people ought to live!
22-29 A second portion from the produce of their land was

required. The whole appointment evidently was against the

covetousness, distrust, and selfishness of the human heart. It

promoted friendliness, liberality, and cheerfulness, and raised

a fund for the relief of the poor. They were taught that their

worldly portion was most comfortably enjoyed, when shared with

their brethren who were in want. If we thus serve God, and do

good with what we have, it is promised that the Lord our God

will bless us in all the works of our land. The blessing of God

is all to our outward prosperity; and without that blessing, the

work of our hands will bring nothing to pass. The blessing

descends upon the working hand. Expect not that God should bless

thee in thy idleness and love of ease. And it descends upon the

giving hand. He who thus scatters, certainly increases; and to

be free and generous in the support of religion, and any good

work, is the surest and safest way of thriving.
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