In God's covenant with His people in ancient times, directions were given for the faithful recognition of the gracious and marvelous works which He had done for them. God delivered His people Israel from bondage in Egypt. He brought them into their own land, and gave them goodly heritage and sure dwelling places. And He asked of them a recognition of His marvelous works. The first fruits of the earth were to be consecrated to God, and given back to Him as an offering of gratitude, an acknowledgment of His goodness to them. . . .
These directions, which the Lord has given to His people, express the principles of the law of the kingdom of God, and they are made specific, so that the minds of the people may not be left in ignorance and uncertainty. These scriptures present the never- ceasing obligation of all whom God has blessed with life and health and advantages in temporal and spiritual things. The message has not grown weak because of age. God's claims are just as binding now, just as fresh in their importance, as God's gifts are fresh and continual.
Lest any should forget these important directions, Christ has repeated them with His own voice. He calls His followers to a life of consecration and self- denial. He says: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16: 24). This means what it says. Only by self- denial and self- sacrifice can we show that we are true disciples of Christ.
Christ counted it essential to remind His people that obedience to the commandments of God is for their present and future good. Obedience brings a blessing, disobedience a curse. Besides, when the Lord in a special manner favors His people, He exhorts them publicly to acknowledge His goodness. In this way His name will be glorified; for such an acknowledgment is a testimony that His words are faithful and true. "Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee" (Deut. 26: 11).