New International Reader's Version

Deuteronomy 26

Give the Lord His Share

1You will enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as your own. You will take it over. You will make your homes in the land. When you do, get some of the first share of everything your soil produces. Put it in a basket. It’s from the land the Lord your God is giving you. Take your gifts and go to the special place he will choose. He will put his Name there. Speak to the priest in office at that time. Tell him, “I announce today to the Lord your God that I have come to this land. It’s the land he promised to give us. He promised it to our people of long ago.” The priest will receive the basket from you. He’ll set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. Then you will speak while the Lord is listening. You will say, “My father Jacob was a wanderer from the land of Aram. He went down into Egypt with a few people. He lived there and became the father of a great nation. It had huge numbers of people. But the people of Egypt treated us badly. They made us suffer. They made us work very hard. Then we cried out to the Lord. He is the God of our people who lived long ago. He heard our voice. He saw how much we were suffering. The Egyptians were treating us badly. They were making us work very hard. So the Lord used his mighty hand and powerful arm to bring us out of Egypt. He did great and terrifying things. He did signs and amazing things. He brought us to this place. He gave us this land. It’s a land that has plenty of milk and honey. 10 Now, Lord, I’m bringing you the first share of crops from the soil. After all, you have given them to me.” Place the basket in front of the Lord your God. Bow down to him. 11 Then you and the Levites and the outsiders among you will be full of joy. You will enjoy all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your family.

12 You will set apart a tenth of everything you produce in the third year. That’s the year for giving the tenth to people who have greater needs. You will give it to the Levites, outsiders and widows. You will also give it to children whose fathers have died. Then all of them will have plenty to eat in your towns. 13 Speak to the Lord your God. Say to him, “I have taken your sacred share from my house. I have given it to the Levites, outsiders and widows. I have also given it to children whose fathers have died. I’ve done everything you commanded me to do. I haven’t stopped obeying your commands. I haven’t forgotten any of them. 14 I haven’t eaten any part of your sacred share while I mourned over someone who had died. I haven’t taken any of it from my house while I was ‘unclean.’ And I haven’t offered any of it to the dead. Lord my God, I’ve obeyed you. I’ve done everything you commanded me to do. 15 Look down from the holy place where you live in heaven. Bless your people Israel. Bless the land you have given us. It’s the land you promised to give to our people of long ago. It’s a land that has plenty of milk and honey.”

Obey the Lord’s Commands

16 This day the Lord your God commands you to obey all these rules and laws. Be careful to obey them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 Today you have announced that the Lord is your God. You have said you would live exactly as he wants you to live. You have agreed to keep his rules, commands and laws. And you have said you would listen to him. 18 Today the Lord has announced that you are his people. He has said that you are his special treasure. He promised that you would be. He has told you to keep all his commands. 19 He has announced that he will make you famous. He’ll give you more praise and honor than all the other nations he has made. And he has said that you will be a holy nation. The Lord your God has set you apart for himself. That’s exactly what he promised to do.

The Message

Deuteronomy 26

11-5 Once you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance and take it over and settle down, you are to take some of all the firstfruits of what you grow in the land that God, your God, is giving you, put them in a basket and go to the place God, your God, sets apart for you to worship him. At that time, go to the priest who is there and say, “I announce to God, your God, today that I have entered the land that God promised our ancestors that he’d give to us.” The priest will take the basket from you and place it on the Altar of God, your God. And there in the Presence of God, your God, you will recite:

5-10 A wandering Aramean was my father,
he went down to Egypt and sojourned there,
he and just a handful of his brothers at first, but soon
they became a great nation, mighty and many.
The Egyptians abused and battered us,
in a cruel and savage slavery.
We cried out to God, the God-of-Our-Fathers:
He listened to our voice, he saw
our destitution, our trouble, our cruel plight.
And God took us out of Egypt
with his strong hand and long arm, terrible and great,
with signs and miracle-wonders.
And he brought us to this place,
gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.
So here I am. I’ve brought the firstfruits
of what I’ve grown on this ground you gave me, O God.

10-11 Then place it in the Presence of God, your God. Prostrate yourselves in the Presence of God, your God. And rejoice! Celebrate all the good things that God, your God, has given you and your family; you and the Levite and the foreigner who lives with you.

12-14 Every third year, the year of the tithe, give a tenth of your produce to the Levite, the foreigner, the orphan, and the widow so that they may eat their fill in your cities. And then, in the Presence of God, your God, say this:

I have brought the sacred share,
I’ve given it to the Levite, foreigner, orphan, and widow.
What you commanded, I’ve done.
I haven’t detoured around your commands,
I haven’t forgotten a single one.
I haven’t eaten from the sacred share while mourning,
I haven’t removed any of it while ritually unclean,
I haven’t used it in funeral feasts.
I have listened obediently to the Voice of God, my God,
I have lived the way you commanded me.

15 Look down from your holy house in Heaven!
Bless your people Israel and the ground you gave us,
just as you promised our ancestors you would,
this land flowing with milk and honey.

16-17 This very day God, your God, commands you to follow these rules and regulations, to live them out with everything you have in you. You’ve renewed your vows today that God is your God, that you’ll live the way he shows you; do what he tells you in the rules, regulations, and commandments; and listen obediently to him.

18-19 And today God has reaffirmed that you are dearly held treasure just as he promised, a people entrusted with keeping his commandments, a people set high above all other nations that he’s made, high in praise, fame, and honor: you’re a people holy to God, your God. That’s what he has promised.