“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD you God is giving you… And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 26: 1-4 ESV
Deuteronomy is filled with laws from God for the people of Israel to follow. One of these laws was tithing. The LORD told the Israelites to tithe on their firstfruits as a way of offering thanks to Him. After offering their tithes to God, the people where to give their firstfruits to the Levite, the fatherless, the widows, and the sojourners in their land, in order to care and provide for them. However, many years later, the Pharisees would completely miss the point of tithing.
“And the Lord said to him [a Pharisee]… “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Luke 11: 42 ESV
Even though the Pharisees carefully follow the laws from God, they didn’t care about justice or the people. By neglecting justice, the Pharisees’ showed that they only cared about making themselves look good and telling others how they were to act, instead of caring for God’s people like they were suppose to do.
“And he said, Woe to you lawyers also! For you lead people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.” Luke 11: 46 ESV
Jesus next addressed the lawyers, who added extra laws for the people to follow and did nothing to help them follow it. Instead of following the Word of God and guiding the people to do so as well, the lawyers and Pharisees just placed burdens on the people’s backs and refused to show compassion. Sometimes, like the Pharisees and lawyers, I get too caught up in following rules and instruction that I forget to care for others or show grace. It is easy to judge others and point out their sin, but it is a lot hard to look at yourself and see that you are just as bad. God has called us to show compassion to others and to help them with their burdens, not stand by and neglect them.
Dear God, please help me give grace to those who let me down or fail me. Please help me help them with their burdens. Help me show them justice and kindness, just as you have shown me justice and kindness by sending Jesus to died for my sins. In Your Holy Name, Amen.