Thought for Thursday

And this oblation of the land that is offered shall be unto them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites. Ezekiel 48:12

When the soviets ruled Russia, it was an embarrassment to the communist government that tiny garden plots tended by individuals and families – amounting to four percent of the agricultural land of Russia – generated one-third of the country’s food. Workers had no incentive to produce much on the large state and communal farms. But because they were allowed to sell what they produced in their gardens (free enterprise in the midst of communism), they had an incentive to work hard and make them productive. And they were very productive, while the big state farms were ridiculously wasteful and ineffective. Those tiny plots of land had a special significance for the Russian people, and they were a perpetual reminder of the failure of communism. In Israel, there was a small portion of land that also held special significance.

As Ezekiel rehearses the allotment of the land of Israel to its people, he describes this oblation that was not assigned to any tribe or group, but was the Lord’s portion. What the Israelite kept forgetting was that this little piece of land was to produce far more than all of the rest of the land. As long as God received His portion, the farms of Israel were productive. But when the Lord’s portion was siphoned off, failure resulted. Oh, how often that happened in that nation’s history!

Does God have His little plots of land, His oblation, on the earth today? Of course He does. Those little groups of saints who seek to learn and follow the Word of God, in particular who follow the pattern of New Testament gathering, are His. Our Assemblies are the oblation that He claims. He calls them holy. Are they productive?

Just like those Russian gardens that were productive because the folks poured their best efforts into them, so too our Assemblies will be productive for God if we pour our best efforts into them. We need to work hard in the presenting and spreading of the Gospel. We need to study well the Scriptures and live the truth of them ever day. We need to learn well the principles of the Word on which our Assemblies are based and commit ourselves to preserve and protect them against the enemy’s attacks. We need to love and care for one another as our Lord loves and cares for us His children. We need to draw closer to our Saviour and strive to be more like Him.

Giving God the best portion is our best hope for prosperity. -Jim MacIntosh

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