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Tithe, The Part 2

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Malachi 3:8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; 12 And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.

Last week we covered the following:

The principal of tithing from Scripture is first and foremost an acknowledgement that we see, believe and confess, God, to be the Owner of ALL things.

The purpose of the tithe also incorporates the following understanding or instruction from Scripture:   Tithing honors God. It is giving to God not man - tithing is more of our returning to God what is already His. It is an act of worship, requires discipline, and diligence. Instills an understanding of proper financial management and planning, teaches us the value of generosity, is a sign of spiritual growth, obedience and servant-hood, destroys the spirit of greed and god of mammon and releases the blessings of God on the individual, their family and community.

 

Some people may be surprised to find that God is interested in their money! He is interested in how you secure it, spend it, save it, share it, survive with it and handle it spiritually.  Jesus Himself spoke about money far more often than He did about heaven and hell.  We are told that there are some 2300 verses in the Bible dealing with the subject of money and possessions, comparatively; there are approximately 500 verses which deal with the subject of prayer and another 500 on faith.  Jesus told 36 parables, 16 of them dealt with money and our attitude toward it!  Did you know that one (1) out of every ten (10) verses in the NT deals in some way with the subject of money!

It commenced with Abraham Genesis 14:18-20; continued in Jacob Genesis. 28:20-22;  was commanded by Moses Le. 27:30;  confirmed in Malachi Mal. 3:10; commended by Jesus Mt. 23:23; Commissioned by God 1 Co. 9:14; Conformed to by the Church 1 Co. 16:2; and completed in Jesus Heb 7:8

Sir Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Comments from member of congregation: “To hear about tithing is sensitive to the ears.  I kind of squirmed  in the seat myself, but, thankfully, since I committed to tithing I have been faithful, although I am tempted not to do it sometimes.  I believe though, that when I'm tempted not to, then, that's really when I should, since God might be getting ready to bless me right about then!  Cant' take the chance and ruin a good blessing. :-)  It's so easy to rob God and like you say, it takes discipline, after all it's not as if someone is going to accuse us of stealing outright when we don't tithe.  Guess that's what makes it so easy  not to tithe since we can't go to jail or have our reputations ruined, at least not on this earth!  If we were held accountable right here, right now, you can bet that most everyone would eagerly give on Sunday of their tenth.

So lets begin to peak a little closer at what the scriptures say on this important subject.  First of all, Tithes and Offerings are 2 different subjects dealing with the same thing - our money - actually and more appropriately all of our material possessions: real estate, houses, fields, investments, etc.

It was once said that the wallet is the "last frontier." It is the final area to be conquered -- the last thing that comes to God in surrender.

A pastor once told his congregation, “I have good news and bad news! The good news is that the church has all the money it needs…The bad news is that is still in your wallets.”

Tithe: comes from the Hebrew word ‘Maasrah’ (mah-as-raw), and it means ‘a tenth.’  The Greek word is ‘Dekatoo’ (Dek-at-oo) and also means ‘to give a tenth or take a tenth, to pay or receive tithes.’  So when we are talking about tithes, we are really talking about a very specific figure, that is, 10% of our money or material possessions.

Offering: is from the Greek word ’Truwmah’ (ter-oo-maw) which means ‘a present as offered up in tribute or sacrifice; a gift.’

Therefore we must see Tithes and Offerings as 2 different and distinct things that God speaks to us of out of His word.

We first find mention of Tithes or 10% in Genesis 14:18  Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.  Here Abram paid 10% of the spoils or goods he had taken in war to Melchizedek.  According to Dakes Annotated Bible, it was customary amongst the ancient nations to give a tenth (10%) of the spoils of war to the objects they worshipped.

Melchizedek is a type of Christ.  Hebrews 7:3 tells us that he was a great man, his name means king of righteousness and also king of peace, he had no beginning of days or end of life but like the Son of God remains a priest continually, therefore, Abram gave him the tithe and as a direct result of this, the Levites who were commanded to receive Tithes from the people according to the Law paid Tithes in Abram when he offered his tithes to Melchizedek.

The second mention of Tithes is found in Genesis 28:22, which speaks of Jacob.  Who has a Dream/vision of a ladder leading up to heaven. After which, God appears to Jacob and promises to bless him, and he in turn says to God, “of all that you give me I will surely give a tenth (tithe) to You.”

So we see that Tithing was practiced at least 430 years before the Law was given to Israel, it was also practiced under the Law, both Abram and Jacob gave a 10% as Tithe – and neither of these gentlemen were very poor, their tithes and offerings were therefore very substantial.

Now while we do not find a direct command in the New Testament to pay Tithes, I believe that we can draw the conclusion that it was a common practice among the people of Jesus’ day, and Jesus Himself alluded to the fact that there is nothing wrong with paying the tithe or 10% even though we are not under the Law but under grace.  Hence my reason for speaking of tithe as a principal not a law. Luke 11:42, “But woe to you Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God.  These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”  Remember also the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:12, the Pharisee says, “...I give tithes of all that I possess.”

There is also another fact that we must take into consideration, and that is that Jesus received gifts or offerings of the people, and that quite possibly means that He received their tithe.  Luke 8:3 tells us of certain women who ministered to Him of their substance – the Hebrew word means ‘of their property or possessions.’  Judas took care of the money bag, he was the treasurer, so we can reasonably conclude that the principle of Tithing and Offerings was a standard New Testament practice, however if we chose to argue against the merits of tithing we need to consider the very high standard set for us in the New testament church: Acts 2:44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

Maybe those who argue against tithing prefer to revert to this method of living and giving instead?

 

Regarding the Offering, we find it first mentioned in Genesis 4:3 where Cain and Abel both made an offering to the Lord of their substance.  Then we find Noah in Genesis 8:20 after the flood, building an altar and making an offering unto the Lord.

There are many interesting things that are dealt with in Malachi 3 which I will be making a continued reference to throughout this teaching, but for our purposes today let us begin to examine these:

Vs. 6 - God’s first complaint is that the people had turned away from His teachings or ordinances, and that they needed to repent and return to Him.  Vs. 7 - they asked, “In what way shall we return?” Or in other words, “Why should we repent and what wrong have we done?”  God says, “You have robbed Me in both tithes and offerings.” 

Consider again Malachi 3:8 again. Will Adam (man) rob God (Elohim)? Would Adam (the one created) rob his infinitely powerful Creator? Would a man who in creation has just received the gift of life and the privilege of living in God’s world turn around and rob the one who had given Him life and the privilege of living on planet earth?  Remember also it was at the point of Adam’s sin that God taught him the need and value of labour or work and the reward thereof.  Adam who was always provided for from the abundance of God storehouse had taken these wonderful gifts for granted much as a child living at home enjoys the sweat and labour of their parents without proper thought of cost.  Adam now must work for his provision, because the ground is now cursed and toil would be required if he would enjoy its fruit, “by the sweat of your brow you will eat” God says to Adam in Genesis 3.  That sweat or labour should remind us all of how far we have fallen and how much we still need the blessings of God and in response to this truth we should give back a portion of our increase to God in acknowledgment of our sin as well as our continued need for his favor to bless and prosper us all. 

The results of robbing God is that you are cursed with a curse, a curse of lack and of poverty, not only the individual and their family, but the ground and land, indeed the whole nation was cursed.  The remedy?  “Bring all the tithes (not offering) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house.”  Or we could say, “provision in My house”, not lack but abundance!!  “And prove Me in this”: In what? Tithes and Offerings.  This is the only place that I am aware of in the entire Bible that God issues His people with such a challenge.  The Hebrew word here is ‘Bachan’ (Baw-khan) which means ‘to test (eg. metals), to investigate, examine, to try.’   What a challenge to us, God says to prove, investigate, examine and test Him in bringing your Tithes into the storehouse.  He says, “I will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be enough room to receive it!”  Wow! Ain’t that good.  Then He goes on to say, “I also will rebuke the devourer for your sake, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground.”

Why is it that most Christians don’t pay their tithes and offerings?  (a) Because of ignorance to the Word, (b) because they never seem to have enough, (c) because of personal greed!  You cannot afford not to tithe, I believe that this is God’s foundational formula for your success to bring you into the place of prosperity, moving you from the land of not enough to the land of more than enough, from the place of lack to the place of abundance, from the place of cursed ground to blessed ground, and to enjoy the fruit of your labour.  If the devourer is destroying our fruit, it could be because we are not operating in obedience and faith, believing the word of God:

·         Obedience in bringing the tithe into His storehouse;

·         Faith to believe when we bring the tithe in, that He, Jehovah Jireh our Provider, the Omnipotent Lord, will rebuke the devourer for us, and we will receive blessings not just to meet our present needs, but blessings that there is not room enough to receive.

It is interesting to note the complaint God had against His people in the first part of this chapter, “you have not kept My ordinance (teaching).”  In Haggai God has a similar complaint, the people had forsaken the command to bring the meat or provisions for the house of God.  Yet instead of abundance in their own lives, they lacked.  They sowed seed but it yielded little harvest, they ate and drank but were not filled, they made lots of money also but it disappeared.  However, once they set the principle of giving to work in their own lives, God says, “From this day forward I will bless you.” Haggai 2:19, “Or I will rebuke the devourer for your sake.”

We can’t afford to not tithe and give the offerings due unto the Lord.

Where should the tithe go?  Where should the Offering go?

1849 The Colgate Story

A lad of 16 years named William left home to seek his fortune, all his possessions tied in a bundle carried in his hand. He met an old canal-boat captain. William told him his father was too poor to keep him and the only trade he knew was soap and candle making. The old man then kneeled and prayed earnestly for the boy and advised: “Someone will soon be the leading soap-maker in New York. It can be you as well as someone else. Be a good man, give your heart to Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to Him, make an honest soap; give a full pound, and I’m certain you’ll be a prosperous and rich man.”

Into the city, he remembered the captain’s words, and though poor and lonesome, he united with a church. The first dollar earned, he gave 1/10 to God. Ten cents of every dollar were sacred to the Lord. Having regular employment, he soon became a partner and later sole owner of the business. He made an honest soap, gave a full pound and instructed his bookkeeper to open an account with the Lord of 1/10 of all income. The business grew, so he gave 2/10, 3/10, 4/10, 5/10 and finally he gave all his income.

This is the story of William Colgate, who has given millions to the Lord’s cause. [1]

1858 To Hyde, First Creditor Is God

A. A. Hyde, a millionaire manufacturer, said he began tithing when he was one hundred thousand dollars in debt. Many men have said they considered it dishonest to give God a tenth of their incomes while they were in debt. Mr. Hyde said he agreed with the thought until one day it flashed upon him that God was his first creditor. Then he began paying God first, and all the other creditors were eventually paid in full. If a man owes you money, it would be wise business policy on your part to encourage him to pay his debt to God first. Sunday School Times [2]


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[1]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

[2]Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

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