Our reading today starts with the reminder to give back to God the first fruits. This is done to show our thanks and obedience. Even today we have our own practices of giving. The idea of bringing actual food as an offering doesn’t happen, at least in the culture I grew up. Instead, we give our money, a portion of the wealth God has blessed us with, as an offering.
When we bring our gifts, we should remember and declare, as is shown here, what God has done for us. He has surely rescued us from harm, given us great blessing, and loved us when we weren’t the most lovable. We all have a story. I’m sure there are many stories we can think of where God has intervened. We may not have realized it at the time, but looking back we know it had to be God. We should never forget how God has moved in our lives, just like Moses is telling the people to never forget Egypt and God’s hand of deliverance.
Moses continues to put specific laws in place for God’s people. It may be helpful to review the verse from Romans 10:4 that I quoted in our last reflection. Remember Paul’s words, “For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.” That’s not to say what we read here doesn’t have wisdom. It does. It came from God, after all.
Did any of these particular laws resonate with you? I was struck by verse 23, “But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the Lord your God.” No where does it say we must make vows or promises to God. In fact, to the contrary. It is not a sin to not make a vow. But we do find ourselves at time making claims that may or may not be doable. Keep in mind, too, that the text is referring to vows to the Lord.
Disappointment. Nobody likes to be disappointed. If you can
avoid it, never disappoint someone else. Today’s verse (14) says, “A
person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that
bring no rain.” For a bit of context, think of how dry it is in Israel.
Yet there are farmers and people who live off the land. Imagine the joy when a
cloud appears in the sky. A cloud dark in appearance would seem to promise rain.
Imagine the let down when it passes over without a drop of rain having fallen. The
frustration is great.
I think we have all experienced disappointment in our life
at one time or another. We have relied on someone’s word, and they let us down.
I am taking the “gift” in this verse to mean any act of service or promise that
is made to benefit someone else. If I say I’ll arrive tomorrow to take you to
the store, I need to keep my word and show up at the appropriate time. If I don’t,
you will not only be upset you will not get the items you needed at the store.
How good is your word? When you say you are going to do something, do you get it done? Living in Mexico has really stretched us in this regard. The use of “mañana” means “tomorrow” or “sometime in the future.” David and I have always prided ourselves on being full of integrity. We want our word to mean something. If we are going to deviate from that spoken promise, we make every attempt to communicate the change. It is not necessarily the case here in the Mexican culture. Mañana is for sure sometime in the future, it’s just not a particular time you can rely on.
Did you know that Abraham waited 25 years from the time God promised to multiply his descendants until he had his first son? That was patience! That was obedience! That was God being true to his word. We can always be sure God will keep his promises.
There are many things in life we can not be sure of. You may have had a life experience when you were trusting in someone or something only to be hurt in some way. It’s not the same with God. I especially like the image of an anchor. “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” We can have confidence in this hope for God will not disappoint. We can be grounded in the truth that God loves us and has our best interest in mind. Continue reading “Hebrews 6:13-20 – God’s Promises”