|We have condensed today’s reading, but encourage you to read the full chapter.|
We won’t give our daughters in marriage to the neighboring peoples, nor take their daughters in marriage for our sons.
If the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or any grain to sell on the Sabbath, we won’t buy it from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day.
Every seventh year we won’t plant crops, and we will return anything held in debt.
We pledge ourselves to keep the commandment and pay one-third of a shekel each year for the service of our God’s house, for the stacks of bread and the regular grain offering and the regular entirely burned offering, for the sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed festivals, for the holy offerings and the purification offerings to make reconciliation for Israel, and for all the work of our God’s house.
We have also cast lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people so that we bring the wood offering into our God’s house by families at the appointed times every year, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the Instruction.
We will also bring the early produce of our soil and the early fruit from all trees every year to the Lord’s house.
We will also bring the oldest offspring of our children and our cattle, as it is written in the Instruction, and the oldest males of our herds and flocks to our God’s house, to the priests who serve in our God’s house.
We will also bring the first of our dough, our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine, and the oil to the priests at the storerooms of our God’s house. We will also bring one-tenth of the produce of our soil to the Levites, for it is the Levites who collect the tenth-part gifts in all the towns where we work.
A priest from the family of Aaron must be with the Levites when they collect the tenth-part gifts. Then the Levites must bring up one-tenth of the tenth-part gifts to our God’s house, to the storerooms of the treasury. The Israelites and the Levites must bring the contribution of grain, wine, and oil to the storerooms where the sanctuary equipment is kept, and where the priests on duty, the gatekeepers, and the singers reside. We won’t neglect our God’s house!
At the end of yesterday’s reading, the Jews realized that God had always been there for them and saw the opportunity to recommit their lives and their country to him. Here, eighty-four leaders make a covenant with God, detailing all the ways they will put God first going forward.
This includes being faithful to God in romantic relationships by marrying within the Jewish faith, in doing business by keeping the Sabbath holy, and in supporting God’s work through provisions and financial commitment.
The nuances have changed, but we are still called to be faithful to God in these areas of our lives today. What are you willing to commit to so that others will see you living out your faith and be impacted by your choices?