Sam Houston’s Baptism – Deuteronomy 15-16

Read Deuteronomy 15-16

Giving to God is a common issue that believers struggle with regularly. Moses gives us instructions on what and how we should give to God. Giving is an important component in our growth as believers in Christ.

In the previous chapter, God tells the people to give a tithe. “You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year 23 And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.” (14:22-23). Tithe means tenth and where we can give to God through money, ancient Israel was an agricultural economy. They gave a tenth of their crops.

In today’s reading, we learn something else about our gifts to God: “But if it has any blemish, if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God” (15:21). Both in giving God a tenth and in giving Him our best, Moses is teaching us the importance of regular giving to God as a vital part of our growth in Christ (see also 26:1-19).

Sam Houston (1793–1863) was an American statesman and military commander who led the fight for Texas independence from Mexico and later its admission into the United States. The city of Houston is named in his honor. He was led to Christ by George W. Baines, the great-grandfather of President Lyndon Johnson. After his conversion, Houston “was a changed man, no longer coarse and belligerent, but peaceful and content.” Those who knew him were very surprised when he was baptized. After his baptism, he offered to pay half of the local minister’s salary.

“When someone asked him why, he said, ‘My pocketbook was baptized too.’” Yes, giving is a good sign that a person has truly been converted.[i]

[i] Randy Alcorn, Money, Posessions, and Eternity (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2003), 173

Michael Slater