Morning Meditation: How to Enjoy God’s Blessings (Deuteronomy 12:15-19)
- Righteousness Before Relationships (Deuteronomy 13:6-11)
- Morning Meditation: Listen to Words not Wonders (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
- Morning Meditation: Inquiring After Their Gods (Deuteronomy 12:28-32)
- Morning Meditation: Obedience is Always an Option (Deuteronomy 12:20-27)
- Morning Meditation: How to Enjoy God’s Blessings (Deuteronomy 12:15-19)
- Morning Meditation: One Pattern, One Name, One Place (Deuteronomy 12:8-14)
- Morning Meditation: Shrine or Sanctuary? (Deuteronomy 12:1-7)
- Morning Meditation: A Blessing and a Curse (Deuteronomy 11:26-32)
- Morning Meditation: A People of the Book (Deuteronomy 11:18-25)
- Morning Meditation: The Primacy of Obedience (Deuteronomy 11:13-17)
- Morning Meditation: Characteristics of the Land (Deuteronomy 11:8-12)
- Morning Meditation: A Heritage of Obedience (Deuteronomy 11:1-7)
Today’s Reading: Deuteronomy 12:15-19
Lest Israel should extend the Lord’s command beyond its intent, the Lord gives a qualifier to the previous verses. He specifies that animals slaughtered are not intrinsically consecrated to the sanctuary. Israel was free to eat their grain and animals for normal sustenance, and this would not take away from the solemnity of the sanctuary. This was so as long as the people remembered to bring to the sanctuary what belonged there, such as tithes and freewill offerings. Thus, the Lord sanctified every aspect of Hebrew life, whether personal, domestic, or cultic (that is, relating to organized worship). So he does with us. This passage not only qualifies Israel’s view of the sanctuary, but it contains lessons for us on what we must do with God’s good gifts in every aspect of life.
Principle #1: Enjoy All God Has Given You (v. 15).
It was specifically burnt offerings that the Lord restricted to the sanctuary, not slaughter in general. So, He freely commends the Israelite who eats the food due to him from his work and God’s blessing. Even the unclean persons of the household had the right to eat what God had provided for them, for by the act of blessing itself God bestows a welcome to enjoy that blessing. Of course, God’s blessing was still delineated by what His Law allowed (compare the mention of gazelle and deer to Deuteronomy 14:4-5).
We often forget to enjoy the regular things of life as if only intrinsically spiritual realities were proper objects of joy. Yet the Christian life is entirely sanctified, from what we eat and what we wear to what we say and what we think. We are to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, yes, but let us not forget to give thanks unto God by Him, which is the other half of the verse (Colossians 3:17). Everything good comes from God; therefore, we may enjoy everything that He gives us, however great or small it may be. He gives us freely all things to enjoy.
Principle #2: Refuse What God Has Forbidden for You (v. 16).
No matter how much God blessed an Israelite, He would not provide blood for them to consume. Just as in Eden there had to be a forbidden tree among the wealth of blessing God had provided, so Israel’s freedom was in the context of obedience to God’s Law. Though the meat was theirs, the blood was not. They were to pour it on the ground, a place where it could not be retrieved again. But it was not a pointless restriction. It was necessary for their physical and spiritual health. They could not drink it lest they become sick or die, also lest they forget the uniqueness of blood to propitiate God. So, God does not restrict things from us that would do us ultimate good. He restricts things from us so we may shun what will do us harm and focus on our attention on lasting good. Disobedience is never a path to true blessing.
Principle #3: Give the Lord His Portion (v. 17-18).
With all the freedom the Israelite had to eat in his own camp, one still had to acknowledge the supremacy of the sanctuary in the midst. Nowhere did worship ascend higher and never was the name of God more magnified than in His holy temple. So, there were offerings that belonged only to the Lord’s house; therefore, no obedience would be complete until it was connected to the place of God’s name. Personal worship was not a substitute for corporate worship, and it never could be. Even when Daniel could not pray in the temple, he at least prayed facing it.
The Lord must always have His portion, whether in service or in materials. Though we may enjoy God in every aspect of life, this is not to exclude the intrinsically spiritual aspects of life which God has set aside for Himself. While we can eat to God’s glory, we cannot eat at the expense of our prayer life. While we can drink to God’s glory, we cannot glorify Him by doing that instead of indulging in Scripture. While we can be employed to God’s glory, we cannot do that at the cost of commitment to the assembly. When God’s presence and purposes come first, only then can we do all to His glory. The normal things of life are sanctified only when they are in the context of the intrinsically spiritual things.
Principle #4: Remember the Lord’s Workers (v. 19).
In all their enjoyment, God’s people could not forget the joy and provision of others. The Levites who were committed to God’s sanctuary had no land of their own nor physical inheritance, for God Himself was their inheritance. Yes, theirs was ultimately the greater part, but this did not detract from the practical needs they faced. It was the duty of those with a physical inheritance to provide for those who had none. They had no right to enjoy their wealth as long as the poor were still within reach of their help.
The way to enjoy what God has given us is to give it to others. We are filled to the measure that we become channels of God’s grace. The Christian is meant to be a flowing stream, not a stagnate sea–a distribution center, not a storehouse. The Dead Sea only receives water but does not have an outlet; therefore, it is full of minerals yet unfit for drinking. The person who accumulates God’s blessings but cannot give them will be so full of “blessing” that he cannot bless others. But the person who gives as he receives will receive as he gives, and he will have a constant supply of divine grace in fresh, flowing streams of living water. The proverb says, “He that watereth shall be watered also himself.” The Lord says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” Let us be streams of joy, not seas of stagnation. Let us be others-minded for God’s sake. Only then do we bask in the fullness of His blessing.