Deuteronomy 26, Declare Your Own Experience With God
1. You Experience God’s Fulfilled Promises (v1-3)
2. You Experience God’s Deliverance (v4-8)
3. You Experience Fruitfulness From God (v9-11)
4. You Experience Obedience To God (v12-15)
Deuteronomy 26, Declare Your Own Experience With God
Deuteronomy 26, Declare Your Own Experience With God
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well, as we look at Deuteronomy chapter 26 this morning. First of all, I just need to take a moment and set Joshua's mind at ease, josh, this isn't going to be a message all about money. Um even though we're talking about ties and first fruits and stuff and I know you told me one more time I teach about that and you're walking out, so I just want you to know in advance, I'm not going to be taking an offering or asking you for money. This instead as although the passage is talking about ties and first fruits and those kinds of concepts, as I was reading through it this week, really, the Lord stirred something different and highlighted some different elements of the passage for me and those are the things that I want to consider with you. And so I've titled the message, declare, your own experience with God, declare your own experience with God. As we've been working through Deuteronomy, we've been seeing moses address the second generation of the nation as they were brought out of Egypt and towards the promised land. The first generation died in the wilderness. But now the second generation is on the border about to venture in and receive all of the promises that God had been giving to them and moses in the book of Deuteronomy is recounting the law, recounting the things that God had declared and the promises that he had given to the nation as they were entering into the promised land. And so there's been a lot of focus on the nation, the the multitude of the Children of Israel and yet as we worked through this passage or as I read through this passage but really caught my attention was as he's addressing the nation, he calls each individual to have this specific role, this specific things to do. Once they're in the promised land here, the Lord gives each individual responsibility. Once they are settled in the promised land, each individual would have a responsibility to respond to the work that God had done in their life, which really emphasizes for us and encourage us in the reality that each individual has their own connection to God and there's the balance that we need to understand when it comes to our spiritual life. There is of course as believers, that sense of community that is, we are the body of christ, we are attached to one another and this is something I share. Often the Lord has designed us to be intertwined so that each of us is dependent upon the others and the others around us are dependent upon us and our spiritual life is connected together and our service unto the Lord is connected to service to one another. There's so many ways that God is intertwined, our lives together and so community as spiritual uh in our spiritual walker as believers is really important for our growth and really important for us at the same time, it's not to the neglect of your personal relationship with God and your personal connection to God, and that's really the emphasis of this passage that as God brings in the nation as a community as a whole, they experience the work of God, but it's not just the community as a whole that has a responsibility that, you know, people within the community should do this, but every person should have their own connection to God and should have their own response to God's work in their life, that it's not just God working on behalf of the nation collectively, but each individual will have their own testimony of God's work in their life. And so this morning, I want to encourage you to consider that and make sure that you have your own experience. It's really important that you have your own experience with God, that you have your own connection to God, that is not just attached to a group or attached to somebody else. You know, sometimes we can just try to rest in the family's relationship to God, right? There's a strong perhaps in the family, someone who's strong with the Lord, and there's a strong connection. And so we just kind of rest on their coattails and we know the Lord through this person, We walk with the Lord and all of our experiences with the Lord are in that context, or some people attend church, but church and the services that are attended is the limits of their experience with God. And and what I would encourage you in this morning is that God has so much more for you than that. The community part is important and I don't want to take away from that, but we also can't be deceived and just rely upon other people's connection to God and experiences with God as a substitute for our own your personal relationship with God is so important. And so we need to make sure we have our own experience. And then The exhortation here in Deuteronomy 26 is to declare that to take a moment to have an opportunity to say out loud, this is what God has done for me and our normal um wording the way that we would say, this is to share a testimony to share a testimony of God's work, to share testimony of something that God has done as we get started, in that I'd like to remind you of Hebrews chapter 13 verse 15 and 16 The author of Hebrews says therefore by him, that is jesus, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God. That is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name, but do not forget to do good and to share for with such sacrifices. God is well pleased here, The author of Hebrews really summarizes Deuteronomy chapter 26. For us, there's the two parts here, the giving thinks in his name saying out loud out loud. The fruit of our lips that is verbalizing out loud our thankfulness to God and are praised to him for what he has done. But then there's also that doing good and to sharing. And we'll see that in versus 12-15 that is that we give unto others around us and we are part of ministering to those needs as a response to what God has done in our life. And so declare your own experience with God. There's four points that will consider how to do that different aspects of our experience and we'll begin in versus one through three here with point number one, that is you experience God's fulfilled promises. What is this experience with God? That we are to declare that we are to give a testimony about? Well, first of all, I would encourage you that you have experience with God fulfilling his promises in your life. Would you look again at versus one through three it says, and it shall be when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance and you possess it and dwell in it. That you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make his name abide and you shall go to the one who is priest in those days and say to him, I declare today to the Lord, your God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us here. The Lord begins this instruction to the nation again, addressing the individual and what the Lord is describing here. It really is a one time event for the nation of Israel because they have not yet entered into the promised land. There was to be this special occasion on their first harvest. Now it makes reference to here in the passage, the first fruits and that was something that would happen every year. There was the feast of first fruits and they were to bring the first portion out of their harvest uh to the Lord to say thank you in advance for all that God had provided. And so they would go and offer this first fruits offering to the Lord. Then they would go back home and harvest the rest of the crop and enjoy the benefits of the blessings that God had given to them. But here it's not just the annual first fruits that God is talking about, but it's really the first fruits of the first fruits. That is their very first harvest in the promised land and sometime is going to take place. This isn't going to be immediately when they cross over the Jordan that they have their first harvest right there's going to be some time that goes on where they're conquering the territory, battling, taking cities and setting up a place for them to live and receiving the portion of land that's due to them and then working the land and producing the crop that is going to be the harvest. That will be the fulfillment of this passage. And so it would take perhaps a year or two years or a couple of years in order for this to take place, there was going to be some time that went into this. But when that first crop was finally ready, when that first harvest was finally produced, they were to take a portion of it and take it to the Tabernacle and make a special declaration unto the Lord. Now again notice here in these verses that God is addressing the individual. Yes, he's addressing the nation. He says, when you come into the land, he's talking to the nation, he's saying, I'm bringing you nation of Israel multitude, the Children of Israel into the promised land, you're going to possess it and dwell in it again, you're going to conquer the land, drive out the inhabitants and you're going to dwell there in the land, but that's the nation as a whole. Each of you individually are a piece of that. And when that first harvest comes And verse two, it says that take a portion of the ground, a portion of the produce rather and put it in a basket, put it in the basket. So every family, every individual was to take a portion of the crop. A portion of the harvest. Put it inside a basket. So now we're talking individually, we're not, you know, okay. Nation of Israel collects baskets full of the first crop. We're now zeroing in on the individual or the family and saying, all right, you get a basket, one basket, go harvest some of your crop, put it in the basket and then carry that basket to the Tabernacle. God says to the police where I'll put my name And then when you get there and verse three, go to the priest and say to him, I declare today we've seen a lot of instruction for the priest and the Levite. It's as we've been working our way thus far in the old testament, but this isn't the responsibility of the priest and the Levite on behalf of the people. This is the responsibility of each person who says I declare today and we'll go on and we'll see the rest of the declaration that they make. You can understand there was a little bit of memorization required. There's a little bit of learning and understanding what this declaration was, but it had to be this personal declaration. Not just I identify with a group of people who have received the blessings of God and declare, but I personally declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us it is the individual person making this declaration. I have received the promise of God. The promise of God has been fulfilled in my life. And I am here today to declare, to show up and say God has done what he said, he would do. It's a testimony of a promise that was received. Pastor Warren Grigsby puts it this way. Not only was this special ceremony, a confession of God's goodness to Israel and to the worshiper, but it was also a declaration that the man had now claimed his inheritance in the land. He had worked the land and received a harvest, the basket of fruit sitting by the altar was a witness to the faithfulness of the Lord to his people here, the worshipper would come and say I am a recipient of God's goodness. God has been faithful, not just to the land of Israel, not just to the people of Israel collectively, but God has been faithful to me personally. And I've experienced, I've been given a portion of land and I had to work and sweat and plow that land and plant that land and reap the harvest of that land, but but it's the the promises of God that are being fulfilled as that work is happening. And I'm just here to say God, you have been good and you have been true to your word and you have been faithful to me. I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give God promised it I received it? And he says, I declare that today and so this morning, as we consider that I would of course ask you to think about can you make that kind of declaration today? Not literally the, you know, portion of land in the uh nation of Israel that we're talking about of course, but but we talk about the promised land and understand that it is the spiritual life that God has given to us the work of God's spirit in our life and the reliance upon the Lord for victory in the battles that we face. And I would suggest to you that every true believer has the experience of God fulfilling his promises in their life. It's something to think about. Can you make a declaration today of the promises that God is fulfilled in your life? Let me give you a few examples which I'm sure you can relate to you. First of all, relationship with God. In 2nd Corinthians chapter six and 7, the Apostle Paul calls us to consider some of the promises of God, where he says in chapter six verse 18, I will be a father to you and you shall be my sons and daughters says the Lord. Therefore having these promises, he says, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthy nous of the flesh perfecting holiness in the fear of God. He quotes a promise from God God says, I will be a father to you and you shall be my sons and daughters. Can you declare today that you have that promise that you've experienced a relationship with God where he is your father, we're not just general heavenly father, not just general the father god that we worship, but but where you have this relationship with God. This experience with God, I can see at times in my life where he has been uh the father to me that he has been a father in my life and I am his child. That there is this relationship, this connection, this care, this work that he does in my life because he is my father. Have you received the promise? Can you declare that you have received this promise of relationship to God in this way? Well, another promise that God has given is the Promise of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts Chapter two where the outpouring of the Holy Spirit first comes upon the church And the crowd is a little bit confused and not sure what's happening. Peter gets up and preaches the gospel and explains in verse 33 that this is the Holy Spirit being poured out. But he refers to the Holy Spirit as the Promise of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit being poured out there on the day of Pentecost. Was the fulfillment of God's promise to send the Holy Spirit in the old testament. We see uh promises of the the coming work of the Holy Spirit. But then of course we have Jesus himself, he said, look after I depart, I'm going to send the Holy Spirit and so there was the Promise of the Holy Spirit. Peter says this is the fulfillment of that and then he ends his message saying this promise is to you to your Children and to all who are a far off as many as our Lord. The Lord, our God will call the Promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus says is for everybody, every believer and so every believer in Jesus has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and we could spend a long time talking about that of course, but I bring it up this morning to just remind us and refresh our understanding of God's work in our life and give us an opportunity to think, do I have the Holy Spirit, can I declare today? Yes, here's a basket of evidence that the Holy Spirit has been working in my life. Here is, you know, some situations, here is some ways that he has worked in my life. I have experience, I have evidence of the Holy Spirit indwelling within me. And so I'm able to declare today God has fulfilled his promise that those who believe in Jesus receive the Holy Spirit. Those who believe in Jesus have this relationship with God as a father. Those who believe in Jesus have the Holy Spirit dwelling within other promises we can consider. Of course there's many, but I'll just list a couple more Matthew, chapter six Jesus teaches us not to worry. He says the provision is promised to you, other people around you. They're going to be worrying about what are we going to eat? What are we going to drink? What are we going to wear? There's going to be a lot of stress and anxiety over how we are going to be provided for. But Jesus says that shouldn't be the case with you. Don't worry Verse 33, he says seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things that you could potentially be worrying about. They'll be added to you when you put God first and seek him first. Can you declare today that you have received this promise that you have sought the Lord that you have put God first and you've seen him provide for your necessities as you have restructured your priorities and put him first seeking first the kingdom of God. Is that a promise that you can declare today you have received? You have a basket of evidence I sought the Lord. I structured my my life around knowing him loving him and serving him and these ways God has provided for me, Paul tells us later on in 2nd Corinthians, Chapter one verse 20 All the promises of God in Jesus are yes and in him amen to the glory of God through us. And so there's many more promises that we could consider general promises throughout the scriptures and personal promises that God has given to you directly. You as a believer in jesus experience God's fulfilled promises. And so here the Lord reminds us not just to receive those promises and enjoy those promises, but to declare to be ready to be willing to be able to verbalize to out loud. Say God has done this thing in my life. There are different times and situations for us as a body in different services. Sometimes we'll have prayer requests and praise reports and those kinds of occasions, of course, of course, are great opportunity to make these kinds of declarations and say, I just want to praise the Lord. He has fulfilled this promise in my life. But of course, there's opportunity as we interact with one another, as we interact with people around us that we have an abundance of opportunities to declare our experience. God has worked in my life. He's made these promises and I've seen them fulfilled. As the author of Hebrews said, this is a way that we praise God by the fruit of our lips by saying out loud, are thanks to God for what he has done, make sure that you have your own experience with God. And if you have an experience with God. If you have a connection to God, you're going to experience his fulfilled promises and so share your testimony, declare those things that God has done. We're continuing on it versus four through 8. We get the second thing to consider our declaration of praise and thanks to God. Point #2 is you experience God's deliverance, you experience God's deliverance as a believer in Jesus, you are a recipient of the deliverance Of God. Check out verse four and 5 year, it says then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord Your God. And you shall answer and see before the Lord your God. My father was a Syrian about to perish and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there few in number and there he became a great nation, great, mighty and populists. Here the individual the worshipper is instructed to recount the life of Jacob. Now Jacob, it was the grandson of Abraham. Jacob lived much of his life in Syria. And so here the worshipper is instructed to say my father was a Syrian member. Jacob lived up there in Haran with Lebanon and worked many years for Rachel and for leah uh as to to to be their husband but then also spent a lot of time uh caring for the flocks and herds of Lebanon and it was many years in that region in Syria before he came back down to the land of Israel and so here the the worshipper is encouraged, are instructed to declare then this history going back to Jacob how the Lord had brought him out of Syria, how he moved back to Israel. And then you remember the account in the book of genesis, one of his sons, Joseph was sold into slavery, ends up in Egypt through a series of God's hand at work, Joseph becomes second in charge over all. Egypt during a time of worldwide crisis with a massive famine that's going on. And so at that time Jacob moved his family to Egypt after they discovered that joseph is there and they are provided for and taken care of in Egypt during the famine and that lasts for a good while until joseph dies. And the next generation of Egyptians rise up and I don't really remember joseph or what he had done for them. And so they become threatened by the Children of Israel and enslave them. And so they're in slavery there in Egypt for about 400 years until finally, God sends moses to lead the people out and they're delivered from Egypt. And so they're recounting this whole experience. First of all, understanding that they're part of this story, they're not just recounting a bible story, They're not just telling about something that happened to, you know, someone a long time ago. But this is the second generation Of the Children of Israel having come out of the promised land. That is these are the ones who at the border of the promised land. They were 20 years old and younger and so they were part of this. And so in verse six when it says, the Egyptians mistreated us afflicted us and laid hard bondage on us that they're part of that they're relating not just the history of a nation. but there were leading things that were taking place in their own life. They saw the mistreatment, they saw the affliction, they saw the hard bondage. They saw As they cried out to the Lord in Verse seven, it says he brought us out of Egypt University. They saw the need, they saw the difficulty and then they saw the deliverance that God brought with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. But also part of this testimony, this declaration that they're making God instructs them to essentially say, but we were nothing special. It wasn't because we were so great and we were so awesome that all of this happened. If you look at verse five, the first part of the testimony is my father was a Syrian about to perish. My father was a Syrian about to perish. We weren't some amazing nation. We weren't some awesome group. It was one guy, his family and we were on the verge of death. We were about to perish. We were lost. We we were hopeless, we were helpless. We weren't going to survive this famine until God intervened and we weren't strong. The Egyptians were able to mistreat us and afflict us and put us into hard bondage. And so we were nothing special. We were about to perish. We weren't strong, but God delivered us. It wasn't our might and our strength. But again, verse eight. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm with great terror and with signs and wonders and see the emphasis there is on God and his might and his strength. God did this work. Not. We, as a people did something great, but we were weak. We were not strong. We were about to perish and God did something great for us and brought deliverance. And as we consider that of course, the expectation for us to consider what has God delivered you from This is an important part of our experience with God and our connection to God. Because if we come to God with the idea that we don't need deliverance, we're in big trouble. If we come to God with the idea that well, I'm strong, I'm pretty good. You know, I just need a little bit of help. Then we are not coming to God in the way that he has instructed to us and our attitude in our mind, our understanding is wrong. And I would suggest to you if we don't have an experience of God's deliverance in our life. We need to think and understand have I really been connected to God do. I really have a personal experience with God, that there should be this opportunity in our life for us to be able to declare I was nothing special. I was about to perish. I am not strong. I was in bondage to let's say sin and death. And God delivered me. Every believer has a testimony of God's deliverance. Every person who has a real experience with God has a testimony, has the opportunity to make a declaration that God has delivered me in these ways. And we can of course, think about things in a general fashion and the sense of salvation. Think about what Paul says in Romans chapter seven Romans Chapter seven He kind of summarizes his argument a little bit by using himself as an example in Romans seven verse 22, he says, I delight in the love of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members a wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death. I thank God through jesus christ our Lord. So then with the mind, I myself served the law of God. But with the flesh. The law of Sin here Paul describes this battle that he's experiencing, he knows the law of God. He wants to be faithful and obedient to God in the law. He wants to do what God says, he loves God. But there's this battle because as much as he wants to obey God and be faithful to God, there is the sinful flesh that also exists within him. And so he has the sinful practices and the weaknesses of the flesh. And there's this frustration with this battle, the desire to do good and to serve God and to be faithful to God. But then the failure in engaging in sin, the failure in being unable to reach The the level of service to God that he desired. And it brings him to this point of frustration in verse 24, where he says, o wretched man, that I am uh I would encourage you to think about those occasions and those points in your life where you have been brought to this kind of frustrating declaration. Have you come to that point where you were able to say, O wretched Man that I am, where you recognize that limits of your ability to be obedient to God, your ability to serve God, your ability to love God, where you recognize that as much as you want to do good, you are unable to be good paul says a wretched man that I am, who will deliver me. And then he answers the question in verse 25, I thank God because that was my frustrating experience. That was my frustration, I couldn't escape as hard as I tried and paul describes his attempts to be righteous before God in his own efforts. In other letters, that he was a pharisee of Pharisees, he kept the law as best as he possibly could, but could not attain right standing with God through his own efforts, he had to come to this point where he recognized his own wretchedness, so that then he could declare God's deliverance in his life. I thank God through jesus christ, our Lord, Jesus delivered me. Even though there is this battle, even though there is this desire to serve God, that the failure in my life to fulfill that to follow through with that Jesus has given me right standing with God, Jesus has delivered me, Paul says, in another way, in Colossians, Chapter one, he has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the son of his love, and whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. And so every believer has the opportunity to make a declaration of God's deliverance. You have experience with God delivering you from the power of Darkness, conveying you into the kingdom of the Son of His love. You have experience with God delivering you from that frustration of your efforts in your own strength to be right with God the receiving of the grace of God, that you have right standing with God by faith in Jesus christ, You have deliverance from the wrath of God. That is to come upon the sons of disobedience, Paul makes reference to in first Thessalonians chapter one. And so you can think about salvation. You can think about those things, but I would also encourage you that you can think about some maybe recent experiences, that you've had some recent events that have happened in your life. Paul does this in 2nd Corinthians chapter one, as an example for us, he tells the Corinthians, I don't want you to be ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia. We were burdened beyond measure above strength. We despaired even of life. We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death and does deliver us in whom we trust, that he will still deliver us. God has delivered us. He does deliver us, he will deliver us, paul says, I want you to know Corinthians, we were going through a really hard time. It was insanely difficult, but we trust in God who delivers us and he has delivered us and he will deliver us. That is a testimony that every believer has. We have the deliverance of salvation. The deliverance from the bondage to sin, but we also have deliverance in just practical ways in our lives where God works and brings us out of bad habits. God works and brings us out of difficult situations. God works and delivers us from the attacks of the enemy, Paul tells Timothy and 2nd Timothy 4 18, the Lord will deliver me from every evil work he had this confidence. God is always going to deliver me from every evil work, every craftiness of the enemy, every trap set for me by by the enemy and the forces of darkness, the Lord will deliver me. And so you as a believer in jesus, have experience of God's deliverance. You have experience of God working in your life to set you free from things that bound you from the judgment that is to come force in from hardships and troubles and difficulties in your life. You have testimony of God's deliverance. Again, make sure that you have your own experience with God, that you have your own experience of God's deliverance, not just that Well, God brought our family out of a situation or God, you know, did this kind of deliverance for us collectively, but you have your own testimony. Again, the Children of Israel were brought into the land. They were brought out of Egypt, They had this corporate experience of deliverance. But here God calls the individual to say, I've been delivered, I was brought out of that, declare your experience with God. You've experienced his deliverance. Moving on to verses nine through 13. We get the third experience to consider that we can declare and that is you experience fruitfulness from God you experience the fruitfulness of God working in your life Verse nine through 11 says this. He has brought us to this place and has given us this land a land flowing with milk and honey. And now behold, I have brought the first fruits of the land which you, oh Lord have given me, then you shall set it before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you here, the Children of Israel individually were to come before the Lord and say, God has brought me into this promised land and has produced fruit. He's done a good work. He has provided these first fruits because he's brought me into the land that's flowing with milk and honey. Now that frees the land flowing with milk and honey, it was a weed that God would often refer to the promised land. And there's lots of discussion about why it's referred in that way, I would perhaps summarize it this way, that it was an abundance of produce, but also abundance of health for the livestock. And so the milk being a reference of the animals being nourished by the land and producing milk and having offspring and you know that happening, but also the honey that is being produced. And so it was the vegetation of the land, the produce of the land as well as the livestock and the inhabitants of the land. It was just abundant in life that overflowing with life and provision of life for the inhabitants. And so the Children of Israel were to come in and say God has given us this land, it's abundant, It's a great blessing. And here is the first fruits, the first part of the crop, the first part of the first harvest that I have received from the Lord in the inheritance. Notice again, the individual aspect of this in verse 10, the first fruits of the land which you Oh Lord have given me. It's personal, it's not just the Children of Israel received the land and they grew crops and you know, collectively we received this fruitfulness from the Lord. But each individual, each person was to have their own experience of claiming a portion of land as their inheritance, working the land, sowing the seed, watering, cultivating, caring, watching it grow and seeing the fruit that is produced, the results that would come from there working the field which was God's provision for them the first roots of the land which you Oh Lord have given me. It's not just all Israel inheriting the land generally, it's each individual inheriting their specific plot of land and as they see the fruitfulness they were to come and worship God as a result Again in verse 10, it says, you shall set it before the Lord Your God and worship before the Lord, your God. You're to come and worship God to celebrate the work that God has done in your life and the way that he has provided for you. Of course, the practical provisions that we're looking at here, it's a form of fruit that it's God has provided for us just practical needs. He's produced an abundant crop in our fields. I think that's an important reminder for us that practical provisions in our life, our reason to worship God. As you think about God blessing you God, working in your life and you know, making your bills get paid and helping you be able to make ends meet and providing financial, physical, practical blessings in your life. It's an occasion. God says, I've done something very practical, very real. Right there in your fields, you watch those things grow, that's my work, Come bring the first part of it to me and worship declare what I have done and worship me. Pastor Warren Grigsby says, in response to the goodness and grace of the Lord, the worshipper presented to God the first and the best of his labors. For there would have been no harvest. Apart from the blessing of the Lord, it's an honor. It's a recognition of God. This is your work. I've worked the land, but Lloyd without you, there would have been no fruit, there would have been no produce. Lord. What I've experienced, what I'm bringing to you is a evidence of your faithfulness, your fruitfulness? Well verse 11 is really great because he says, you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord Your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levi and the stranger who is among you. God says I want you to rejoice. This is to be a celebration where you celebrate the way that God works in your life so many times. We have different pictures of God that are inaccurate. You know, thinking about God being angry with us or God being upset with us and just so frustrated with us. But God says, look, I want to bless you, I want to work in your life and provide for you and I don't want you to just like sit there and ba stoic about it. I want you to celebrate my work and sometimes we can be a little bit superstitious, like, oh no, if I celebrate this too much, God might just take it away from me just because I'm celebrating too much. Like he just doesn't want me to, you know, really enjoy what it is that he's provided for me. God says no, no, I want you to rejoice. And part of your rejoicing is this declaration, Look what God has done. I've experienced God's fruitfulness in my life. God wants you to rejoice and celebrate. What kind of fruitfulness can you rejoice in you personally, you individually. What kind of fruitfulness have you seen in your life because again, a believer in jesus will experience fruitfulness from God, Jesus tells us this in John Chapter 15, that famous passage where he declares himself to be the vine and we are the branches and he says abide in me. You're the branch. So abide in the vine. The branch can't bear fruit of itself without abiding in the vine without being connected to the vine. And so he says, neither can you, you cannot bear fruit, you cannot be fruitful apart from abiding in jesus, jesus says, I am the vine, you are the branches, he abides in me and I in him bears much fruit when we are connected to the Lord, when we are abiding in jesus, there will be the result of fruitfulness. Now, I'm not suggesting that we will never experience difficulty, right? I'm not saying that we're never going to have challenging situations or anything of the sort. Again, when with this crop come in for the Children of Israel is after a lot of battles, After a lot of hard work in the field, right? And then there would be this fruit that there are seasons of fruitfulness in our life many times. We're not every moment is a celebration of fruitfulness, but there are seasons where we're just reaping in the experience of what God is doing in our life as a result of the battles and the farming that has taken place before that, as we abide in jesus, he says, you will bear much fruit. Part of the fruit that we will have is a life that has changed. It's romans Chapter six Paul says, what fruit did you have in the things of which you are now ashamed for the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit to holiness and the end everlasting life, paul says, Think about your previous life before christ. What fruit did you have? Your ashamed of the things that you were involved in before the Lord and the fruit that resulted of You're ashamed of it. But think about what you have now in christ as you have been servants of God, or sleeves of God. You have a new kind of fruit unto holiness. Righteousness being set apart to God, You have the fruit of a changed life a transformed life as you walk with God. That's part of the fruit that we have as believers in the Lord. But of course we also have the Fruit of the spirit Galatians. Chapter five. The Holy Spirit indwelling within you, we talked about that a few minutes ago. Part of that the results of that is the Fruit of the Spirit. It's love and joy and peace, long suffering kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. The Holy Spirit is producing these things in your life as you walk with God. And so you have experience with God producing these characteristics in your life. Another aspect of fruitfulness that we experience as believers Recorded for us in hebrews 12 11, chastening discipline. No chastening seems to be joyful for the President, but painful. Nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. To those have been trained by it. Have you been chastened by the Lord? Have you experienced the discipline of God? They're in hebrews chapter 12. The other hebrew says, look, if you're not disciplined by God, you're not God's child. God disciplines us. All of us, trains us so that we would be molded and shaped into the image of christ to produce the fruit of righteousness that we desperately need that glorifies and honors him. And so we have this spiritual fruit that is produced the fruit of the spirit, the Fruit of a transformed life. The fruit that comes from the discipline and the chastening of God, but also similar to the Children of Israel. Here, we have the practical fruit in our life. Think about paul's words to timothy and 1st Timothy chapter six he says, command those who are rich in the present age to not be hottie, nor to trust and uncertain riches, but but in the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come that they may lay hold on eternal life. The Lord instructed them to rejoice in verse 11 and all the good things that God has provided. And in first timothy paul says, those who are in that situation there, just able to rejoice and the practical provisions and the blessings that God has provided, remind them don't trust in those things. Those things can go away at any time, trust in the living God, but do good and rejoice. God. God gave those things to you. He provided for you in that way, he's allowed you to have that fruit or produce that fruit in you, for you to celebrate for you to enjoy, for you to rejoice in his work. And so each one of us has experienced fruitfulness from God. Make sure you have your own experience, make sure you declare that share your testimony about God's producing a fruit in your life. Well, the final point to consider founding versus 12 through 15 as you experience obedience to God. Just a few comments here on these verses, verses 12 through 15 says, when you have finished laying aside all the tide of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing and have given it to the Levite the stranger, the fatherless and the widow so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall see before the Lord Your God. I have removed the Holy tied from my house and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, The Fatherless and the Widow according to all your commandments which you have commanded me. I have not transgressed your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I have not eaten of any of it wind morning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, my God and have done according to all that you have commanded me. Look down from your holy habitation from heaven and bless your people, Israel and the land which you have given us just as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey. These last verses describe not that same encounter where they would bring the basket of first fruits. This would happen a little bit later and it would happen every third year they would give a tithe for the poor of the land. Typically their tithes would go to the Tabernacle to provide for the priest and the Levite there, but on the third year the tide would go to provide not just the leave fights, but also The foreigners, the poor, those who were in need and so this 10% of their increase their crop would go to provide for them. God says, okay, so every third year year to do this and when you do it well, you're to make this declaration, God, I have been faithful. You gave us these commands. And here is the way that I have obeyed. And it would have been a challenge to obey. Because we're talking about a physical harvest right? They would harvest the green and they would have to store up the green And then take a portion of that the 10%. And then transport it to it was probably locally like we had the cities of the leave fights that were throughout the land of Israel for this. They would probably take it to the city of the Levite that was nearby to store there. But But there was this physical food that was right there within their access. It says after you finished laying aside all the tide in verse 12. Right? And so think about that. So there's this temptation. You have the storehouse of food that's not for you. It's not time yet for you to take it to be delivered to the vertical city. But you have this access this store of food that you have access to that you have to refrain from and say, no Lord, I'm not going to partake of that. And then so then when you deliver it, you can say I haven't touched it. All I've done is transported. I haven't, you know, made up a good excuse to pull from it and you know, have an extra helping of food for myself. I haven't used it for my own personal purposes. But what I've reserved this for you have been obedient to you in the command that you've given the word even says if you're depressed, right? You're really sad your morning. And so you, you know, sometimes you eat your feelings, right? And so it's like even when you're depressed, Lord, I was depressed, I had a difficult time, but I didn't tap into these things that you asked me to set aside for you. I've brought them here and I've delivered them. I've been obedient to what you said. And so they were to have this personal experience of obedience, this personal practice of being able to exercise self control. Set some things aside for God, and make sure that those were maintained for the purposes of God. Well, in a similar way, you and I, as believers in jesus, we will have our own experiences of obedience to God, where God will give us instruction, and there's going to be challenges and difficulties with it. But but we should have this occasion, this opportunity to come and declare our own experience. God told me to do this. He laid out this instruction for me. You can think about the general instruction found in the scriptures or personal instruction given to us, and not in a boasting way, right, but just in a faithfulness way. I've been obedient to what God said. So God would you pour out your blessing? I'm seeking to honor you and be faithful to you, and I'm declaring I have fulfilled by jesus said at the end of his life, right? I I ran the course. Well, paul said, I ran the course at the end of his life, jesus said, I've fulfilled all that the father has given to me, that there is this fulfilling of faithfulness unto the Lord obedience to God. And there needs to be the opportunity for us, the ability for us to be able to declare that every believer in, jesus has their own experience with God. You've experienced God's fulfilled promises. God's deliverance, You've experienced fruitfulness in your life from God, and you've experienced obedience to God. Make sure, first of all, you have your own experience, and if you don't have these like things that come to mind that you can declare about your experience in these different areas, then you need to understand, you need to develop your relationship with God to a greater degree, because you're missing out on the personal aspects of it. But if you have those will make sure you also give occasion to declare them, not just hold onto it privately, but share your testimony. Look for the opportunities God is going to give you opportunity. He's going to call you to share your experience with him with people around you, perhaps in the church, in the neighborhood, in the community, in the workplace, in the service, look for opportunity to share and declare your experience, and then lastly, let me just encourage you in this, I'm sure you have things that you can share, but maybe you also need to give someone an opportunity to declare these things and so maybe afterwards after services, you're talking to different people, maybe just invite them to share with what is your experience with God Ben, What can you say about these things? You know, and God's promise is being fulfilled in your life. Give someone else an opportunity, declare, just as the priest would be there to receive that basket of first fruits and give that person an opportunity to declare what God has done. I would encourage you. Perhaps you need to be that kind of minister in someone's life today, but you give them an opportunity to declare God's goodness and God's work in their life. Let's pray Lord. We thank you for your goodness towards us and we do rejoice Lord and your grace and your mercy towards us and your desire to continue to work in our lives, not just corporate lee, not just in a general sense, as you are the God of all creation Lord, but Lord, you're my God, you're my father, I'm your child and you work individually personally in the very details of our lives and so Lord I pray that you would help us to walk in that relationship with you to further Lord, our understanding of who you are, to develop our relationship with you that we might know you more that we might honor you and serve you to a greater degree. And as we do, and as you work out these things and bring more deliverance and bring more fruit and accomplish more victories in our lives, I pray that you would help us to be faithful to provide you the fruit of our lips, the praise, the honor that's due to your name or that we would declare your goodness. We pray this in jesus name. Amen.