Deuteronomy 26:11 And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household.
It seems clear to me that “rejoice” here might be better interpreted as “enjoy.” In the overall context, the command was given repeatedly to share the bounty of the land with the Levites and the resident aliens, and that is what this seems to be talking about. From verse one of this chapter it is a very clear, explicit statement that all the good stuff comes from God. Here, God is saying to be happy about it all! From the next verse it talks more about the tithe being given away in the third year, and it also calls the tithe “the sacred portion,” whether it is consumed by the producer or given away. I think we’re back to the point of the tithe being a reminder that everything we have comes from God. When we lose sight of that, tithing becomes nothing more than a tax, and not an action of worship. God is our supply on every level whether we realize it or not, and the better we do realize it, the better we will enjoy and rejoice in it all. Pride of accomplishment isn’t a bad thing, but only if we realize that it is God who has enabled us to accomplish it. That makes it be more gratitude than pride per se. There are plenty of wealthy people who don’t genuinely enjoy what they have, because they don’t give God any credit and their pride and selfishness poisons it all. The way to enjoy blessings is to recognize where they came from! I really like a refrigerator magnet we had at one point that said, “Happiness is seeing a beautiful sunset and knowing Whom to thank.” Very true!
I really think this is a major key to my life. A psychology professor with whom I teach has commented repeatedly that I’m a very happy person. I would tend to agree! God has been incredibly gracious to me, in spite of my inadequate response to Him. That’s something to be glad and grateful for! I desire to respond to Him more and more accurately and fully, because I know that is the path of greatest blessing for me and glory for Him. I desire that each person in this church likewise recognize how good God has been to them, so that they too may respond in gratitude and obedience, and great joy. We have some who seem always to be anticipating negative things. That’s no way to be happy! Negative things come, just as Jesus said, (John 16:33) but when our focus is on Him, we can rejoice regardless.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I feel like I’ve got another message for the church! Help me know what to do with and about all the good stuff You show me, so that as many people as possible may be blessed, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!