First in the Natural

In Deuteronomy Chapter 28 the Israelites are about to enter the promised land and God lists all the blessings that Israel would receive if they “fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commandments given this day”. These 14 verses of blessings are followed by 54 verses of curses that would befall Israel if they did not. If we dismiss this passage of Old Testament teaching as not relevant for today we miss one of the most important warnings found in the Bible. Christ’s death opened the door to the new covenant between God and His people but the truths behind these old commandments have never changed. It is painful to read chapter 28 and realise that Israel (and the church today) have not received many of the blessings but have experienced many of the curses instead.

Liberty Trust addresses one of those promised blessings. Verse 12 reads “the Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but borrow from none”.

A constant principle of Scripture is “first in the natural, then in the spiritual” (1 Cor 15 v 46). God sent John the Baptist in preparation for Christ. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit could not come at Pentecost until Christ first came and lived in the natural and died the death of a criminal. God always prepares in the natural and then uses this as the base on which to build the spiritual. We often want to shortcut God’s plan, and head straight for the spiritual without first dealing with the natural first. Then we wonder why the going is tough.

God promises the blessings of Deut 28 in return for obedient and careful following of the commands he gave that day (verse 1). What commandments were those? The chief financial commandment of this passage is in chapter 14—tithing to the storehouse. We must follow God’s command by giving to the storehouse in the natural before we can receive of His bountiful storehouse (see also Mal 3 v 10). What is the natural storehouse? In Deuteronomy 14 tithes were given to the civil storehouses as provision for the feast.  The Levites and other needy peoples were to share the provision.  Today our taxes principally feed the needy and the local church needs our tithes and offerings to feed our ministers. Our tithes must therefore be given to our church, as it is the natural storehouse that provides for our pastors and ministers.

You and I are called by God to build the natural foundation, then He will “open the heavens”.

Kelvin Deal

Chairman, Liberty Trust