Tithe and recite your story
“This land is my land”1 There’s something you need to do after you settle in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 2 Whenever you start harvesting your crops, put some of your first crops in a basket and take it to the worship center, wherever the LORD your God decides it will be. 3 Go to the officiating priest and repeat these words: “Today I’m formally declaring that the LORD my God has fulfilled his promise to our ancestors. This land is my land.” 4 The priest will take your basket and set it down in front of the sacrificial altar of the LORD your God.
Recite your story5 Then recite these words: “My father was a nomad from Aram. He migrated to Egypt with a small family and lived there for a time. But during that stay, his family grew into a large and powerful nation. 6 Egyptians treated us miserably. They exploited us as slaves and sentenced each of us to a lifetime of hard labor, working for them. 7 We prayed to the LORD, the God of our ancestors. He heard us and he saw the miserable conditions we suffered, and the trouble it caused. 8 The LORD got us out of there. He used his power to create wonderful and terrifying miracles to free us from Egypt. 9 He brought us all the way here, to this land where milk and honey flow like rivers.
Celebrate your harvest10 So, here I stand with the very first harvest the LORD has given me.” After you’ve said this, leave the basket and bow to the LORD your God. 11 Celebrate with the Levite priests, with strangers, and anyone else around. Thank God for what he has done for you and your family.
Tithe every third year12 Every third year is the year of the tithe. That’s when you bring to the priests at the worship center a full tenth of everything you harvest. This becomes an offering to feed Levite priests, immigrants, orphans, and widows. 13 When you deliver your tithe, recite these words: “I collected all the harvest devoted to God, the full tenth. I gave it to the Levite priests, immigrants, orphans, and widows, just as the law says. I remembered the LORD’s commandments, and I kept them all. 14 I didn’t eat any of the harvest tithe when I was in mourning. I didn’t touch it when I was ritually unclean. I didn’t use any of it to make an offering for the dead. I did exactly what God said. 15 So I’m asking you LORD to look at us from your holy home in heaven. Bless your people with kindness. And bless the land you’ve given us, as you promised our ancestors. It’s a rich land where milk and honey flow like rivers.”
God declares you his property16 Today, the LORD is ordering you to follow these laws. Carefully obey each one. And do it with all you’ve got in you, heart and soul. 17 And today, you’re declaring to the LORD your God that you will follow the law, obey all the rules, and do exactly what he says. 18 So, today the LORD declares that you, indeed, are his people. You belong to him, just as he promised you would. And you agree to follow the law. 19 For this, the LORD will make your nation the best of all. You’re going to be famous. People around the world will respect you and compliment you with high praise. And you’ll be holy because you’re devoted to God. He said so.
Abraham was a herder who moved from what is now southern Iraq to a region of Turkey then called Aram. His grandson Jacob later moved his entire extended family to Egypt, to escape a drought. Then ended up enslaved and staying for more than 400 years. It’s unknown how much of that time they spent in slavery.
A person ritually unclean was not supposed to touch another person or go to the worship center because they ritually defiled whatever they touched. Israelites were able to get ritually clean again by following a set of procedures that included bathing, washing their clothes, getting sprinkled with “water of purification” (Numbers 19), and waiting for a stretch of time, often seven days.
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