I hope you have been enjoying our “Back to the Basics” series the past four months. If you are new or missed a week, I’m going to do a quick recap of our series: We started our journey off by learning about the importance of a devotion time. In November we learned about faith. Last month we tackled servanthood. Our topic this month is tithing. I ask that you please don’t get nervous, uncomfortable, or skip over this article. My job as Pastor is to teach the entire Bible, not just the parts you or I like the most.
First point, what is the meaning of the word “tithe?” Dictionary.com says, “The tenth part of agricultural produce or personal income set apart as an offering to God or for works of mercy or the same amount regarded as an obligation or tax for the support of the church, priesthood, or the like.”
Let’s look at the 1st instance in the Word of God where we see a tithe was given. Genesis 14:20, “And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.”
Point two, and let’s talk about this for a moment. If you read chapter 14 in its entirety, you will learn that there was a great battle going on. Abram’s nephew, Lot, was captured in the midst of this battle. Now, we’ve all heard the saying “blood is thicker than water.” Well, this was even true way back in Bible days. Abram went to rescue his nephew as well as wreak havoc on those who captured His family. As a result of this great victory, Abram was so grateful to God for blessing his endeavors that he gave the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High one tenth of all His earnings. This was the first instance of tithing, in the Bible.
Let’s now look at some other scriptures concerning tithing. If you highlight in Your Bible, I would consider highlighting them and maybe go a step further by memorizing them. Leviticus 27:30-32: “One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus twenty percent. Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy.” It is important to remember that at the time the Old Testament was written, they didn’t have currency like we have today. Their form of currency was livestock, grain, or the product that they made for a living. Deuteronomy 14:22, this goes along the same lines as the previous passage we had just read, “You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one tenth of all the crops you harvest each year.” Your crops represent your paycheck each week (or however often you receive income). Deuteronomy 14:23, “Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence”.