Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXV: Discipling Others To Focus On Their Need For God In Times Of Abundance
(Deuteronomy 26:1-19)
  1. Introduction
    1. Where times of poverty and oppression make trusting God relatively easy due to our sense of need, times of abundance can spoil our faith as we no longer immediately sense our need of the Lord.
    2. Moses instructed the people of Israel to focus on their need for God even in times of abundance, and that to offset a lapse of trusting the Lord as follows:
  2. Discipling Others To Focus On Their Need For God In Times Of Abundance, Deuteronomy 26:1-19.
    1. Just before his death, Moses addressed Israel on her need to heed God's Law for blessing, Deut. 1:1-5.
    2. A part of that address mentioned a ritual the people were to practice while enjoying their abundance in the land so as to keep in focus their great need to TRUST and OBEY God for continued material blessings:
      1. Moses instructed the people of God to take the firstfruits of their harvest and deliver it to the tabernacle priest as an offering unto the Lord, Deuteronomy 26:1-2.
      2. In turning the firstfruits over to the priest, the donors were to recite a saying that would influence them to recall their complete indebtedness and dependence upon God for the firstfruits provision, 26:3-10a:
        1. The recitation would remind the donor of the humble and needy origins of their forefather, Jacob whose needy family moved to Egypt for relief from their current land's famine, Deut. 26:5a.
        2. Then, the recitation would remind the donor of their nation's growth in foreign Egypt where they suffered oppression by the Egyptians until the Lord delivered them with great miracles, 26:5b-9.
        3. Accordingly, the recitation would lead the donor to realize his indebtedness to God and his great need for God's continued agricultural blessing in the very land from which Jacob's family had left due to the ancient famine, Deuteronomy 26:10a.
      3. With this recitation completed, the donor being reminded of his great indebtedness and dependence upon the Lord, the one bringing the firstfruits offering was to worship the Lord, thanking Him for the firstfruits and exhibiting peititions in faith for the rest of the harvest, Deuteronomy 26:10b.
      4. In the process, the donor was to rejoice in God's grace and provision to him, Deuteronomy 26:11.
    3. Then, every third year when the firstfruits were not taken to the temple, but shared with the local levites, foreigners, widows and orphans (Deut. 14:28), the donor was to offer another recitation recalling his need to depend upon the Lord as well as to share of God's bounty with the needy, Deuteronomy 26:12-15:
      1. Every third year when the firstfruits were to be given to the local needy around them, the donors were to recite a saying that caused them to recall God's bounty and their need to share it with the needy around them instead of misusing it for selfish gain, Deuteronomy 26:13-14.
      2. Accordingly, the recitation would close with a request for the Lord to continue his material blessing on the donor for his proper attitude and stewardship of God's material provisions, Deuteronomy 26:15.
    4. Moses closed this section by reminding the people of Israel of their unique relationship with God, one that demanded they trust God to remain separate from selfish greed and unbelief for blessing, Deut. 26:16-19.
Lesson: In having the people of Israel recite specific sayings during the offering of their firstfruits, Moses insured they would (1) be INFLUENCED to BE REMINDED of (a) their UTTER DEPENDENCE on God, not to mention (b) their GREAT OBLIGATION to stay true to Him and His ways. (2) This was designed to lead the donor (a) to praise God for his loyal love, and (b) to thank Him for His bounty (c) as well as to continue to trust God for current and future material supplies. (3) As a realization that all he had came from God, the DONOR would then be influenced SHARE of God's bounty with the needy, for he would realize that, not the POSSESSIONS THEMSELVES, but GOD was the One Who GAVE him his possessions, cf. 1 Timothy 6:17-19.

Application: We disciple others toward FAITHFUL DEPENDENCE upon God by CONSTANTLY REMINDING ourselves and THEM of our mutual CONSTANT NEED for God and His provisions, for, in so doing, we turn from an errant sense of self-sufficiency that promotes greed, selfishness and unconcern for the needy to a selfless, caring benevolence for others and humble faith in Almighty God.