The People's Bible by Joseph Parker
"Handfuls of Purpose"
For All Gleaners
"The Lord"s tribute."— Numbers 31:37
The association of the words is remarkable.—Who can give anything to the Lord, when the earth is his and the fulness thereof?—This again, as in the former instance, is a mystery of spiritual love.—It is indeed because all is his, that we are expected to give him part of it.—What is ours is ours, for convenience, comfort, for passing necessity of any kind, and never ours in the sense of proprietorship.—This is vividly set forth in the words, "Ye are not your own."—When the hand does not belong to the Prayer of Manasseh, it is easy to see that what the hand contains cannot be his.—Paul said, "I seek not your"s, but you;" and the Christians to whom he spoke soon discovered that, in securing themselves, he had in reality secured all they had.—The Lord has his tribute of harvest, viz, the firstfruits; his tribute of time, the Sabbath day; his tribute of land and the sanctuary: his tribute of love, worship.—"Will a man rob God? But ye say, Wherein have we wronged thee?" The answer Isaiah, "In tithes and offerings."—The withholding of the tribute thus becomes felonious.—The tribute is not spontaneous, in the sense that the character is as complete without the oblation as with it.—The Lord"s tribute and money appropriated to ordinary uses will not exist together, no more than the ark could stand peacefully side by side with Dagon.—To spend the Lord"s tribute in self-gratification, or for any purpose not included in its original dedication, is to expose all other money to the risk of defilement and loss.—No man is the poorer for paying the Lord"s tribute.—It is a mistake to suppose that the payment of the tribute must always relate to work carried on at a great distance from customary action and association.—Sometimes charity may justly both begin and end at home.—He does not please the Lord, who allows his own children to go without spiritual culture and illumination.—It will be found, however, as a rule, that they who do most for objects that are near at hand do most in response to appeals which come from afar, and also that those who are most interested in the conversion of the ends of the earth, are most deeply engaged in the evangelisation of the localities in which they reside.—A sanctifying influence seems to follow the setting aside of the Lord"s tribute.—The whole house is the sweeter for the place in it where prayer is most constantly offered.—The whole library is made select by the presence of the Bible, which will not keep unholy or unworthy company.—The whole commercial account is turned into a spiritual record, by lines here and there, which record the dedication of property to charitable uses.—Men are often left wholly at liberty to find out for themselves the best way in which to spend the Lord"s tribute; some give it to the young, others to the aged, others to Christian apostles and missionaries, others to the circulation of pure literature; every-man must discover for himself what he thinks to be the worthiest field on which to expend the tribute of the Lord.
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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 31". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25