Here is a call for the Israelites to take special action after they would enter the land of promise.
Firstfruits of the land to Jehovah – God would fulfill His promise and bring the Israelites into Canaan. After they secured the land, they were to bring “some of the first of all the produce of the ground” (26:2) to one of the priests, who was to set it before the altar of the Lord (26:3,4).
When God had seen Israel’s suffering as slaves in Egypt, He was moved with compassion to use His power to deliver them from bondage and give them the bountiful land flowing with milk and honey (26:7-9). In return, Israel was to respond to God’s kindness by being grateful for all that He had done for them. And, their kindness was to cause them to bring their offering, worship before Jehovah, and rejoice in the way that He had blessed them (26:10,11). We, too, ought to be thankful for all that the mighty God of heaven has done for us, and our gratitude should move us to rejoice in Him and worship Him.
Third-year tithe (26:13,14) – This was called “the year of tithing,” and in that year the tithing (ten per cent) was to go for the support of the Levites, strangers, fatherless, and widows of the land. In this, Israel was not to forget God’s command to show special attention to the material needs of those groups named.
There would have been opportunities for the children of Israel to try and get out of giving their third-year tithe. They could make excuses and use their stored tithes for their personal consumption or for “special occasions,” but such would have revealed their rebellious spirit and lack of compassion (26:14). This thought reminds us that nothing would justify our choice not to carry out our Lord’s instructions.
High expectations for a special people (26:16-19) – God confessed Israel as “His special people” (26:18). At the same time, Israel proclaimed that Jehovah was their God and that they would obey His voice (26:17). Time would tell whether such claims were really true.
God “set the bar” high for Israel. If the children of Israel were going to call themselves His people, then they needed to act like it. What did that entail? Even as the Lord set them high above all nations (26:19), Israel needed to be ready to obey all of God’s commands (26:18), do so with all their heart and soul (26:16), and it went without saying that He expected them to do it at all times and in all places. Yes, God wanted them to be a holy people. Being children of God comes with a high calling! If we are the children of light, we need to act like it (Ephesians 5:8).
— Roger D. Campbell