Thursday after the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Deuteronomy 14:1-2, 22-23, 28—15:15 (NKJV)
14:1 “You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. 2 For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
28 “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
15:1 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts. 2 And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the LORD’s release. 3 Of a foreigner you may require it; but you shall give up your claim to what is owed by your brother, 4 except when there may be no poor among you; for the LORD will greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance—5 only if you carefully obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe with care all these commandments which I command you today. 6 For the LORD your God will bless you just as He promised you; you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.
7 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. 9 Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the LORD against you, and it become sin among you. 10 You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. 11 For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’
12 “If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13 And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; 14 you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the LORD has blessed you with, you shall give to him. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.”
Again we hear that we are blessed of God: “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” Believers in Christ, being the spiritual Israel, have this same promise; we are a chosen people. God chose from before the foundations of the world to redeem mankind from sin, death, and the devil. Those who believe in this promise, having been gifted with faith by the Holy Ghost through the means of grace, God has elected to be His chosen people.
A chosen people show their thanks to God. We give of what He has given us to support the work of the Church, but we also give of what our Lord gave to us to help our neighbors: the ministers, the orphans, the widows, the poor, and the people we do not know. All this is done to give thanks to God for our redemption from sin, death, and devil. “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you.” We were in bondage to sin, death, and the devil, but our Lord God redeemed us. He bought us with His innocent suffering and death that we may be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.