Deut. 26, Psalms 117–118, Isaiah 53, Matthew 1

DateVersionReading Plan
@June 21, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Deut. 26

Deuteronomy 26:1–2 (ESV) 1 “When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, 2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there.

The Israelites were commanded to bring a tenth of their harvest—the best and fruit-fruits of the harvest—to the dwelling place of the LORD’s name, the sanctuary. This was to be an offering set down before the altar of the LORD their God every third year and given to the Levite, sojourner, fatherless and the widow. The CSB Notes point out that “these needy groups must be cared for with the tenth of the produce given every third year. In the other two years, it would be fully given to the Lord.” To give back to the LORD the best portion we have been given by Him is a gesture of gratitude and recognition that He is our provider. It is also an act of faith and trust in giving Him our best because He will continue to provide. Matthew Henry put it well when he said, “The comfort we have in our own enjoyments, should lead us to be thankful for our share in public peace and plenty; and with present mercies we should bless the Lord for the former mercies we remember, and the further mercies we expect and hope for.”

Psalms 117–118

Psalm 118:5–7 (ESV) 5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

For someone who struggles with acceptance and fear of man, these verses are a welcome comfort. Knowing that I am His child vanquishes all fear of how I may be viewed by others. It is inevitable that my love for, pursuit of and obedience to the Lord will be perceived by many as ill-conceived, but this matters not as only His opinion truly matters. This is not a license for maltreatment or antagonism of those with whom I differ, but that through my affections for Him, their gaze would be directed toward Him. Let our response to every opposition then be of recognition of our sonship with Him, of His triumph on our behalf, and to love others with the love He first showed us.

Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV) 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

As Matthew Henry once said, “No where in all the Old Testament is it so plainly and fully prophesied, that Christ ought to suffer, and then to enter into his glory, as in this chapter.” By His chastisement we have peace and by His wounds we are healed. Everything that would be considered defeat was designed from the beginning to bring victory. By the death of the One, death itself is conquered and new life in Him granted. It is the greatest gift we could ever receive; the offer to turn from ourselves, repent of our sin, take up our cross and follow Him.

Matthew 1

Matthew 1:18 (ESV) 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke both speak of Mary’s betrothal to Joseph. According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, betrothal was the second stage in a marriage procedure following the sealing of the covenant between families in the exchange of gifts. The BEB goes on to say that “The betrothal had the legal status of a marriage (Deut. 28:30; 2 Sam. 3:14), and anyone violating a betrothed virgin would be stoned according to the law of Deuteronomy for violating his neighbor’s ‘wife’ (Deut. 22:23, 24).” Joseph thus reveals himself a righteous man by quietly seeking a divorce from Mary so as not to put her to shame. The details given about Joseph are fairly spartan, but by this and his obedience to the Lord in taking Mary as his wife, we can glean that he possessed a certain level of virtue.