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Essential 100—Read: Malachi 1:1-4:6

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit. Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty. ~Malachi 3:8-12

In God’s Word are irrefutable financial laws that transcend time, cultures and economic conditions. One of those laws is the law of the tithe, describe in Leviticus 27:30 & 32,

“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD…The entire tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd’s rod—will be holy to the LORD.”

How you embrace and obey that law reveals a great deal about you.  In fact, your response to God’s call to tithe to him your income is the acid test of your faith. It is actually a test from God… arguably the first and biggest test he gives you. The test determines the most important thing of all in life: Who will have first place. You see, that’s what money does: It reveals what we worship. Money determines godship. And the biggest and most stubborn issue in our lives, I guarantee, is godship: Who’s going to be in charge; who’s going to be worshipped; who’s going to get priority.

That’s why the Bible talks so much about money. You’ll find about 500 verses on prayer, about 500 on faith…but over 2,000 on money and material possessions. That’s why 16 out of Jesus’ 38 parables spoke of money.  That’s why he spoke more about money than even heaven and hell. He knew that he’d have to battle mammon for godship in your life. And if that one didn’t get settled, nothing else would work right. Not only is tithing the acid test of your faith, it becomes the foundation of your faithful stewardship. The practice of tithing settles the issue of godship and strengthens your obedience. Then, as you get both your attitude toward and practice of handling money aligned with God’s command, your giving will be organic. It will come from your heart. You will become a joyful, generous giver—and that is someone upon whom God can release his blessings. That is when your stewardship of God’s money will become the gateway to the blessed life.

God is calling you to test him out in this area of giving; to see if he won’t hold up his end of the deal and bless you with his abundance. That is God’s promise, by the way. Malachi 3:6, “I the LORD do not change.”  Malachi 3:10 follows, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

God has made some pretty amazing promises to you about his desire to bring you into the blessed life.  But his promises require the alignment of your thinking and behaving to his Word.  If you will ruthlessly commit to following his commands in this area, you will find that, indeed, it pays to tithe!

“One verse in every six in the first three Gospels relates either directly or indirectly to money. Sixteen of our Lord’s forty-four parables deal with the use or misuse of money. A loving, joyful, liberal giving to the Lord’s work is an acid test of a spiritual heart, pleasing to God.”  ~William Allen

Reflect and Apply: Joshua 1:8 promises, “if you’ll do everything written in this book, then you will be prosperous and successful.”  Think about that one word, “everything”, then ask God for his help to bring those things in your life which have previously been excluded into alignment with “everything”.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 mlpershing July 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

The tithe is part of the letter of the law. Giving with generosity is the spirit of the law. Both come from the heart, but only one of these gifts is free to the contemplation of conscience. It is not the tithe. That gave no freedom and no discretion. It was a command, and was, thus, never given as a free will offering. As the letter of the law passes away in favor of the spiritual law, so do all its ordinances. The tithe was chief among them. Like all the rest of them, it was a schoolmaster to lead us to a more perfect way.

If there had been gain in righteousness and wisdom from the giving of the tithe, the Pharisees would be pillars among us. They strained at the very last penny, giving a tenth of everything, even spices. God never found fault with their gifts. It was their hearts he found fault with, for they were far from him. Their legalistic giving could not change that.

All who keep the letter of the law must keep the whole law. It is all or nothing. We have not the authority to pick and choose which parts we wish to keep. If that is the path we choose, we must see it through to completion. But since none of the Jews, to whom it was given, have ever been hitherto able to do this, which would include all the sacrifices, which they were never permitted to cease, why would we think we could do better? Yet I believe this is our first tendency as new Christians. Everyone first chooses the old wine, for it seems to us better. The law is the old wine. It speaks to the carnal creatures we are. The spirit is the new wine. It speaks to the spiritual re-created creatures we are becoming. When we attempt to hold to the old, we are hindering this work. We are holding fast to the things of man, and we are struggling against the work God would do in our lives.

The absence of references to the tithe in the New Testament was no accident. In fact, it took quite a bit of purposeful and courageous efforts to do so. The resistance from legal minded Jews must have been tremendous. The only references we can find are links to the Old Testament. Corinthians is no exception. The offering referred to herein was not the tithe. I have no doubt that even then some thought it was. In response to this, he fully explained himself in II Corinthians. (That's why when I Corinthians is used to teach the tithe in Christian churches even to this day, II Corinthians is neglected.) He explained that he knew they were givers. Not wanting anyone to have occasion to think he was only coming to receive an offering, yet not willing to refuse them, he hoped it could be done in a quiet manner. Of course, that would not suit those who wished accolades for their offering. They would still make a show of it.

So let everyone propose in his own heart what he will give. That is a free will offering! But let everyone know that whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and those who sow abundantly will also reap abundantly. It was upon this stone that many sold what they possessed and gave everything. Not many actually did this, but only those to whom it was sown by God the Father in their hearts. But there have also been many who have been required by cultish laws to give all. These also receive what they have sown, yet even so, they gave only what was required of them. They gave the least. And no preacher who requires this sacrifice is of God. They are carnal. They seek only their own will or enrichment. As far as God is concerned, whether it be for well meaning ambition or personal greed, one evil is as bad as the other.

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