“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” ~Proverbs 3:9-10
The above verse spells out in no uncertain terms the principles of plenty. We must first understand that everything is God’s—that we are stewards and are simply caring for what is His. Accepting that the whole world, and everything in it, truly belongs to God allows this principle to make a lot more sense. Throughout the Bible, God promises His reward for the act of generosity with everything we could ever need or want.
There is such an incredible supernatural principle at work in the act of tithing. God is telling us that this is a clear provincial promise, an act of cause and effect. If we do something, He then will do something. I don’t know about you, but I definitely want my barn to be full and my vats to be overflowing!
“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.” ~Malachi 3:10
This is the only place in the entire Bible where God is literally telling us to try or test Him. He’s saying, just do this thing and then see what happens. It’s a clear case of obeying the word of God and then receiving the promised blessing that ensues.
When I first heard this verse, I was a bit skeptical, to say the least. But the more I adhered to this principle, the more I was blessed. It wasn’t like God mailed me a check every week after I gave at church. It was more like suddenly there was always enough. If I got a big bill for filing my heating fuel tank one day, the next day I’d get a bonus at work or a refund of some sort.
Sometimes it was more of an unexpected windfall like a reduction on my real estate taxes due to a homestead exemption I didn’t even know existed. And one time I got a settlement check for a class action suit I didn’t even realize I was involved in.
God is amazing. He always keeps His word, and He always leaves me in awe. Understanding that everything we have is from God really helps us become more than willing to return such a small portion. After all, it is all His!
The very first tithe was from Abraham. Abraham gave a tenth of his possessions, not to try to invoke God’s blessings; but because he had already received God’s blessings.
“And he blessed him and said: blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him a tithe of all.” ~Genesis 14:19-20
Then in Genesis Jacob responds to a dream he received from God by building an altar and vowing that, for God’s care and provision, he would return a tenth of his belongings back to the most High God!
“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” ~Genesis 28:20-22
Next, found in Leviticus 27:30-34, is the giving of tithes as a law when Moses explained that the first ten percent is called holy and is set apart as belonging to God. He told the Israelites they were just returning to God what is already His! And that by doing this, they were accepting that all is from the God of all provisions.
Then God goes on to explain the rest of this principle when He tells us He will give to us as we give to others. In addition to tithing, as the Holy Spirit touches on your heart—as He puts in your path situations that need your generosity—do so, and you will be blessed, just as you bless others. In the very act of giving to those in need is a built-in reward!
“The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.” ~Proverbs 11:25
We all need to trust the word of God. We need to take Him at His word and step out in faith—reach out and do good when it is our power to do so. We need to trust His perfect principles of generosity as well as returning the tithe He asks for. Do it and see what happens. Take a giant faith step and just see how He responds.
“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord.” ~Leviticus 27:30-32
However, we must not be like Israel so often was, honoring God in tithes and offerings but then deliberately going against His law. We need to do it all—honor Him in both word and deed—in obeying His law, keeping His commands and giving back as He tells us.
The following verses tell of how angry God is at Israel. Amos had come to proclaim God’s judgment against them—that it didn’t matter if they were giving all the tithes and offerings if their behavior negated God’s laws.
“Come to Bethel and transgress, at Gilgal multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days. Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, proclaim and announce the freewill offerings; for this you love, you children of Israel! Says the Lord God.” ~Amos 4:4-5
God makes it clear that stringent attention to the law in one area isn’t an excuse for totally negating others. God wants it all; He wants us to obey in everything. Jesus harshly reiterates this again in Matthew—regarding the obedience to one but neglecting the others—openly calling those who do this, hypocrites!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." ~Matthew 23:23
Q: Why is obedience so important?
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