TITHES AND OFFERINGS
"Even from the days of your fathers you are gone astray from My ordinances, and have not kept them. RETURN to Me, and I will RETURN to you, says the LORD of Hosts. But you said, How shall we RETURN? Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you ask, What do you mean? When did we ever robbed or cheat You? You have robbed and cheated Me of the tithes and offerings due Me. For this you are cursed with a curse of your own making: for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all of you your tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My House. Try it now and let Me prove it to you, says the LORD of Hosts, if I will not OPEN to you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it all. And I will rebuke the Devourer (Satan) for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, says the LORD of Hosts. Then all nations around you will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight, says the LORD Almighty." --Malachi 3:7-12 AGI
DEFINITION OF TITHES AND OFFERINGS: The Hebrew word for "tithe" (ma'ser) literally means "a tenth part." (1) In God's Law, His Torah (God's teaching, guidance and instruction), the Israelites were required to give one-tenth of the livestock and the land's produce, as well as of their income, as a recognition that God had blessed them (see Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21, 26; Deut 14:22); the tithe was used primarily for the expenses of worship and for the support of the priests. God held His people responsible to manage the resources He had given them in the Promised Land (Matt 25:15).
(2) At the heart of tithing was the notion that God owns everything (Ex 19:5; Ps 24:1; 50:10-12; Hag 2:8). Humans are created by Him, and they owe to Him every breath they take (Gen 1:26-27; Acts 17:28); thus, no one has anything that he or she has not first of all received from the Lord (Job 1:21; John 3:27; l Cor 4:7). In the laws about tithing, God was simply commanding them to RETURN to Him what He had first given them.
(3) In addition to tithes, the Israelites were required to bring numerous offering, to the Lord, mostly in the form of sacrifices. The book of Leviticus describes various ritual offerings: the burnt offering (Lev 1; 6:8-13), the grain offering (Lev 2; 6:14-23), the fellowship offering (Lev 3; 7:11-21), the sin offering (Lev 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30) and the guilt offering (Lev 5:14-6:7; 7:1-10).
(4) In addition to prescribed offerings, the Israelites could present freewill offerings to the Lord. Some of these were repeated (Lev 22:18-23; Num 15:3; Deut 12:6, 17), while others were one-time occasions. For example, when the Israelites undertook the building of the tabernacle at Mount Sinai, the people gave freely for this tent and its furnishings (see Ex 35:20-29); they were so excited about this project that Moses had to tell them to stop making anything else as an offering (Ex 36:3-7). In Joash's time, the high priest Jehoiada made a chest into which people could put freewill offerings to finance needed repairs on the temple, and they gave generously (2Ki 12:9-10). Similarly, in Hezekiah's time, people gave freely for the reconstruction work required on the temple (2 Ch 31:5- 19).
(5) There were also numerous times in OT history that God's people selfishly held on to their money rather than give it to the Lord in regular tithes and offerings. During the building of the second temple, the Jews seemed more interested in building up their own property, while leaving God's House in ruins. As a result, said Haggai, many of them were suffering financial reverses (Hag 1:3-6). A similar thing was happening in the prophet Malachi's time, and once again God was judging His people for refusing to bring in the tithe (Mal 3:9-12).
STEWARDSHIP OF OUR MONEY: These OT examples of tithes and offerings contain important principles about the stewardship of money that are valid for NT Believers.
(1) We must remember that everything we have belongs to the Lord, so that what we do possess is not our own but what God has entrusted to us; we have no rightful ownership of our possessions. (2) We must decide within our hearts to serve God and not Money (Matt 6:19-24, 2 Cor 8:1-5). The Bible makes it plain that any greed is a form of idolatry (Col 3:5). (3) Our giving must be to advance God's kingdom, especially the work of the local Church and the spread of the gospel throughout the world (l Cor 9:4-14; Phi 4:15-18; l Tim 5:17-18), to help those who are in need (Peter 19:17; Gal 2:10; 2 Cor 8:14), to store up treasures in heaven (Matt 6:20) and to learn to fear the Lord (Deut 14:22-23). (4) Our giving should always be in proportion to our income. In the OT the tithe amounted to one-tenth. Giving less than that was disobedience to God's Torah and was in effect robbing God (Mal 3:8-10). Similarly, the NT requires that our giving be in portion to what God has given us (l Co 16:2; 2Cc 8:3, 12). (5) Our giving should be voluntary and generous; this practice is taught in both the OT (see Ex 25:1-2; 2 Ch 24:8-11) and in the NT (see 2 Cor 8:1-5, 11-12). We should not hesitate to give sacrificially (2 Cor 8:3), for that is the spirit in which the Lord Jesus gave Himself for us. Far more important to God than the monetary value of the gift is the sacrifice involved. (6) Our giving should be cheerful (2 Cor 9:7). Both the example of the Israelites in the OT (Ex 35:21-29; 2 Ch 24:10) and the Macedonian Christians in the NT (2 Cor 8:1-5) serve as models for us. (7) God has promised to reward us according to how we have given to him (see Deut 15:4; Mal 3:10-12; Matt 19:21; l Tim 6:18-19).
Principle for Planting Seed or Anything else: ASK, SEEK, KNOCK = ASK
Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to the person who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!? --Matt 7:7-8 AGI (see Luke 11:1-13)
Yeshua Messiah encourages perseverance in prayer. The tense of the Greek verbs in v. 8 designates continued action. This means we MUST keep on ASKING, we MUST keep on SEEKING and we MUST keep on KNOCKING, it's that simple. (See John 14:13-14; 1 John 5:14)
Asking implies consciousness and realization of need and the belief that God hears our prayer.
Seeking implies earnest heartfelt petitioning along with obedience to God's Will (Word).
Knocking implies perseverance in coming to God even when He does not respond quickly.
Messiah promises that those who ASK will receive what they ask for based on: (1) seeking first the kingdom of God; (2) recognizing God's fatherly goodness and love (6:8; 7:11; John 15:16; 16:23,26; Col 1:9-12); (3) praying according to God's will (Mk 11:24; John 21:22; l John 5:14); (4) maintaining fellowship with Messiah (John 15:7); & (5) obeying Messiah (l John 3:22).
Much of this article come right out from my "The Full Life Study Bible," notes by the late Rev. Donald S. Stamps.
Shalom, Rev. Barbara A. Di Gilio M.D. B.T. M.T. Th.D.
A Mayim Hayim Ministries Teaching Tool #1394