Last week’s Parasha, Ki Tetze, contains 74 of the 613 commandments found in the Torah, including the laws of the beautiful captive, the rebellious son, and divorce.
This week, in Parasha Ki Tavo (When You Enter), God instructs Israel to bring the first-ripened fruits (bikkurim) to the Temple in Jerusalem once the Israelites have finally entered the Land He promised to them.
After they had settled in the Land and cultivated it, they were to present this offering to the Levites (Deuteronomy 26:2–4).
In giving this firstfruits offering, which included wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates, the Israelites were offering thanksgiving to God for all the amazing things He had done for them.
He had rescued them from great hardship in Egypt and from wandering in the wilderness. He had brought them into a good land that was rich and fertile to become a great nation, dwelling in comfort, safety, and security.
“The Lord heard our voice, and saw our misery, toil and oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.” (Deuteronomy 26:7–8)
Tithing with Thanksgiving
“He brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Deuteronomy 26:9)
The tithes given to the Levites and the poor were not given in silence, but with a confession of the awesome mercy and goodness of God!
Likewise, when we present our tithes and offerings to the Lord, we also should acknowledge the many ways in which we have seen the goodness and mercy of God in the land of the living.
As Israel did in ancient times, we should recall how He has healed us, delivered us, and provided for our needs.
Although many of us might not know the exact place to which God is bringing us, we can rest assured that He is leading us somewhere.
And if He is leading, it’s going to be a good land. Hallelujah!
When God brings us out of a difficult place, delivering us from a horrible pit, and setting our feet on solid rock, we need to thank Him and be willing to give back materially from His incredible bounty.
“Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.” (Deuteronomy 14:22)
When we do this, we demonstrate that He is the source of all our blessings.
Finding Strength in the Joy of His Presence
“Rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.” (Deuteronomy 26:11)
Once we have given our offering, there is only one thing left to do—rejoice!
All too often, the enemy seeks to steal and destroy our joy. Why does he want to do this? Because the joy of the Lord is our strength.
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
If we allow the enemy of our soul to steal our joy, we won’t have the strength to possess the good land that God is giving us.
Still, there are times when we just wake up feeling weary, discouraged, or defeated. Joy seems like it’s nowhere to be found.
Maybe we have pain in our body, or maybe we lack finances. Our family relationships might be going through a rough season. How do we recover our joy in these cases?
There is only one solution—enter (tavo) into the presence of Adonai where there is “fullness of joy.”
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
Joy and the Book of Life
Believers in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah have the responsibility and privilege of rejoicing continually in our God—not just when circumstances seem to be going their way, but always.
While in a prison cell, Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
Yeshua told His disciples not to rejoice just because spirits were subject to them, but to rejoice that their names were written in the Book of Life. (Luke 10:20)
We must rejoice that our names are in the Book of Life and not allow circumstances to dictate our level of joy.