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.”
I don’t know about any of you, but reading those verses above out of context would leave me very confused. The chapter for verses 1-15 has a title in the NIV of Firstfruits and Tithes and for the final four verses Follow The Lord’s Commands. Well, I’m sorry, but it looks like all of it has to do with Following The Lord’s Commands, even the first section … and it does.
Part of it is very clear when we take a look at Hosea 9:4 which tells us
They will not pour out wine offerings to the LORD, nor will their sacrifices please Him. Such sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners; all who eat them will be unclean. This food will be for themselves; it will not come into the temple of the LORD.
From this we know eating the bread of mourners would make one unclean. Nor should such food ever be offered up to God and end up in the temple. Also it helps to know per the Benson Commentary about unclean use for
As some of the old idolaters were wont to do, who separated part of the first-fruits for magical, and sometimes impure uses; or for any common use; for any other use than that which Thou hast appointed; which would have been a pollution of them.
I am surprised to find some would surreptitiously set aside some of the first fruits for magical which would always be an impure use and think they could do it in such a way God would not know. Maybe it didn’t matter if God knew or not, but it was more important to keep it hidden from those who would see what was being done as wrong and ungodly. Frankly that seems to fit what many who profess to be Christians do.
They live and act one way in church and around fellow believers, but once alone or with others who do not care to put into practice God’s word, the behave quite differently. It is one thing to talk the talk, but quite another to walk the walk. It appears to me, the verses for today are an admonishment to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. For the new nation of Israel many blessings would come their way if they did so. If they did not, the nation felt the results of their sins as God let punishment come their way.
Is it so different for us? The more we walk with God, with our Savior Jesus the Christ the more we see blessings all around us no matter what difficulties we encounter. The reverse is also true, the less we walk with God, with our Savior Jesus the Christ the more we become blind to all the blessings around us given by God and no matter how much we have, all we can see is what we do not have.
What is your mindset? Do you see all the blessings you have or only see the what you do not have? The answer will tell you a great deal about your walk with God, with our Savior Jesus the Christ. Something to think on and pray about.