Today's devotion from Leviticus 27. In the course of this chapter, God explains through Moses the ideas of tithing and giving offerings above those tithes. We often talk of "giving it to God." That's great, but I wonder how many times we first steal from Him in order to give. In verse 26 we read, "But no one can consecrate a firstborn of the livestock, whether an animal from the herd or flock, to the Lord, because a firstborn already belongs to the Lord." (Leviticus 27:26, CSB)
The description that follows in verses 30-33 describe that a tithe is taken from the tenth. The firstborn is God's. It is His by recognition that He is the source of all good gifts. The tenth is His also in thanks for His abundant provision. When we think about it that way, it kind of makes sense.
However, sometimes we are tempted to want to double dip. We try to think of our own accumulation instead of His provision. This is when things get difficult. We try to sneakily find loopholes and ways around giving to God. This, by definition, is not generous, but disingenuous. There is no authentic thankfulness. This creates a problem. Actually, no it doesn't. It reveals an already existing problem. Where is gratitude? If there is no gratitude, then there is something that we cannot give to God no matter what gift we bring: thanks. You cannot give thanks to God when you are not thankful. You can give money. You can give time. You can give energy and talents. You can give all these things, but you cannot give thanks if you are not thankful.
You see, this is the point. It's all God's anyway. He's already made it clear in the preceding chapters that the land is His. All it produces is His that He chooses to share with the obedient Israelites. The people are His by right. The system of giving was not as much for as God as a way to provide for the Levites and the priests. What God is really wanting to receive is something that doesn't belong to Him in the first place, though He deserves. He desires our praise and adoration. He wants us to give our real, authentic, and genuine thanks.
As we conclude Leviticus, let us be thankful, and from the overflow of our thankful hearts, let us give Him thanks.