FI Y4 WK 50: P. KI-TAVO (When you come [into]) THE THIRD YEAR TITHE & CARE FOR OUR POOR – September 9th



Deuteronomy 26:12-19

The reconciliation of the Torah and the Gospel to each other in relation to this passage from KI TAVO is readily seen in the charge of the Jerusalem Apostles to Paul and Barnabas (Galatians 2: 9-10): “And when James, Cephas*, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen [The Gentile Nations], and they unto the circumcision [The Jewish Nation]. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.” (KJV)

[*Cephas is the Hebrew name of Peter]

The reconciliation is further manifested in the life of the Originating Church in Jerusalem which was devoted to the equitable distribution of voluntary donations for the needy as recorded in Acts 4:34-35, “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” (KJV)

Forced redistribution of wealth of the kind imposed by Marxist communism is not a biblical doctrine. It is godless, the sterile product of the idolatry of State. By contrast, God ordained the acquisition of wealth by his people according to a system of just reward for the assumption of entrepreneurial risk and the wise handling of assets so that there would be a surplus that could be redistributed to the poor according to Divine mandate: the mandate established in the KI TAVO text and elsewhere throughout the Bible. In KI TAVO the focus of redistribution is on the Levite (the ministerial tribe that served ADONAI as mediator of the covenant for the whole Nation in the place of the Firstborn Priesthood [as noted in an earlier devotion]). After the Levite, the focus was equally upon the stranger (the proselyte from among the Nations who bound himself to the LORD in the Holy Land). After the proselyte were the widow and the orphan (those who were cast upon the LORD after the death of the Husband-Father of the family).

The key text for the godly system of wealth-building and redistribution is Deuteronomy 8:18:

“But you shall remember the LORD your God: for it is He that gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” The antiphon of this theme in the New Testament is to be found in Ephesians 4:28, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that has need.”

The godly system of societal care is profitable labor among those who are skilled, some of the profits of which is then given freely to the needy, motivated by love and obedience to the command of our LORD. This produces an intense local quality of ministry to the poor that is not driven by a governmental mandate that is cold, remote and class-driven but instead is generated from a warm and immediate care of neighbors one for the other.

The KI TAVO text is very deep in spiritual content. I will lift from it just one quote for the sake of this brief devotion. It is verse 13 (KJV, updated):

“Then you shall say before the LORD your God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of my house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the [proselyte], to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all your commandments which you have commanded me: I have not transgressed your commandments, NEITHER HAVE I FORGOTTEN THEM.”

That is the key: it is a remembrance. We must not forget the weak and the dependent who are among us lest we sin against the LORD our God. We must keep the poor who are near to us ever in our thoughts and we must love them from our hearts in practical ways.

May the LORD grant to each of us the grace of proportionate love that flows from His tender heart through us all, each of us to all of us. Amen.

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