February 22 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Accept [the offerings I command from each tribe], that they may be used in the work at the tent of meeting. Give them to the Levites as each man’s work requires.’” ~Numbers 7:4-5

The repetition in Numbers 7 is intentional. Envision the equivalent of a twelve-day parade as a representative of each tribal family brings lavish gifts to the place of worship. Everyone participates. Everyone watches. Every tribe offers something as an act of worship, for the tabernacle is finished, and the time to dedicate it has come! The pomp and ceremony reflects once again that this is the place where Israel will worship the God who saved her, the God who will lead her to even greater blessing. While every day is devoted to the Lord, to loving Him and others, to thinking of Him in the ordinary acts of eating and cleaning, the tabernacle is set aside for community celebration and for hearing the Word of the Lord (see verse 89).

Our modern acts of giving find their roots in the ancient worshipping community. Historically, gifts to the Lord have been channeled through the church in four directions. 1) The care, upkeep, and adornment of the place of worship, 2) the care of people who lead in worship, 3) the provision for the poor and needy, and 4) the proclamation of the gospel. (This fourth purpose becomes more evident in the New Testament period.) Giving is one of the ways that we show our love and devotion to our family, to our friends, and to our faith. However, what is most evident in this passage is the motivation for giving. It is first and foremost an act of worship. Returning to God a portion of income is a declaration of praise and a recognition that He is the giver of all things. For Israel, that meant freely offering gold, silver, flocks, herds, food, grain, wine, etc.

Do you see giving as a duty or a delight? Have you connected giving to worship? Pause and acknowledge God when you tithe or make an offering. Wondering how to do that? Perhaps a prayer like this, “God, I write this check as an act of worship to You. You have given me everything I enjoy, and the earth is Yours and the fullness therein (Ps. 24:1). Thank You for food, drink, and friends. Thank You for rest and love. May this gift be used for the place of worship, for the people who lead in worship, for the poor and needy, and for the proclamation of the good news to all nations.” May God’s kingdom grow through our gifts, and may His name be glorified!

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.