Deuteronomy 14 Tithing

We have just finished an awesome season as a family called Sukkot. Sukkot is the festival of Tabernacles, which is a day where adults build forts with their kids outside their house for seven days. And it was … it’s one of the most fun times we get to experience as a family. So we’ve been sharing a lot of pictures and we got a lot of reaction from a particular fixture that we put up the day before, or the day the Sukkot started, we do an annual tradition where we go to a grocery store. In this case, it was Costco and we call it our Deuteronomy 14, Costco run. And basically we buy whatever our appetite craves or our heart desires, depending what translation and people are like, “What, what is that?” Because there’s a verse, which is, a lot of people don’t know. One of the longest passages in the entire Bible tells us to spend our … some of our tithe money on things that our appetite craves in order to rejoice with our household. I’ll read this to you guys and if you’re really religious, this is going to offend you. But if you’re not, like this is such an interesting sort of part of understanding the heart of God. I really, this really has impacted our family, our kids, especially.

So Deuteronomy 14, I’ll read starting verse 24. It just says, he’s talking about when you’re going to Jerusalem as a family, during their pilgrimage festivals, which Sukkot is the biggest one, he says, “And if the way is too long for you so that you were not able to carry the tithe …” so he’s saying, take your tithe with you when you go on the pilgrimage festival, “When the Lord, your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which Lord your God chooses to set his name there …” Talking about Jerusalem, “Then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place, the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire, oxen, sheep, wine, or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves, and you shall eat there before the Lord, your God and rejoice you and your household.”

So one of the things that the people of Israel were commanded to do with their tithe, and this is again, not religious. We don’t think anybody needs to do this. We just got really excited about this verse and said, “Hey, let’s just take that one. Let’s apply it in principle.” Not … we’re not able to do it precisely, of course. We’re not in … we’re not living in Israel, making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but the principle here is amazing.

Once a year, take some of your tithe money and eat it. Like eat your tithe, figure out what your … ask your appetite, “What do you crave? What wine, strong drink, meat like?” And so, that’s what we did. So we just, we filled up a couple of carts with what we and our kids craved. And it was all part of really creating that atmosphere of festival joy. There’s a phrase in scripture, like festive joy, which is that if you really want to experience the peak of joy, then what you have to do is experience a festival. And what is a festival? We don’t know how to do festivals, but this is really sort of festival 101. How you create a festive atmosphere is you have to go and take some saved up cash and buy some awesome food, right. And drink. But yeah. Jeff, what are your thoughts on this?

Yeah, the only thing I was going to say to you is just, I think, you have to always ask yourself, which … how do I say this? Like, which parts of God and who he’s like that the scripture seems to reveal, are you hiding from? Or, ways in which specifically, butt up against our culture. And I think this is in religious culture specifically, this is one of them. Like it’s, you have to let those speak to you. So you don’t just make a God in your own image.

And there’s … and I would go so far to say that I do think God, revealed in scripture, revealed in Jesus, is one who seems more willing to just feast and eat and celebrate for its own sake in the sacredness of the relationship and the table and the people that are around in good community than we sometimes give credence to. You know what I mean? Like it’s more than we would say. Like it always has to have a bigger meaning, or a bigger thing, and it’s like and it does at some level, and that’s what festivals afford us to put a sacred meaning on like a party. But I just always find that interesting that yeah, he’s always … basically the short end of it is God’s more willing to party than we are. And so like, just let that be true and recognize that.

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