Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tithing - An Act of Faith

If you're struggling with your finances, you probably find tithing a difficult concept to deal with. After all, how can you possibly consider giving God 10 percent of your increase (what we would call our income today) when you don't even know if you can pay the mortgage and feed your family this month? I know the feeling. I've been there. But, tithing is part of the Christian walk and is, in my opinion, the cornerstone of Christian finance.

Do you know what God had to say about the children of Israel when they neglected to tithe? He called them thieves,  in Malachi 3:8-9, saying they had robbed him. They were obviously confused and asked how. His response?  "In tithes and offerings." Not only that, he said that their failure to tithe had brought a curse on the whole nation! Have you read the curses in Deuteronomy 28? Trust me, you don't want to bring the curses on you and your family.

But, God is good. He didn't stop there and say "sucks to be you!".  He gave them a challenge, a challenge that he offers to each of us today. God basically said, "put me to the test".

"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

Now that's a pretty good promise, but God didn't stop there. The next verse is even more amazing. To the tither, God promises:

"... 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; 

And all nations will call you blessed, 
For you will be a delightful land,” 
Says the LORD of hosts.
~ Malachi 3:11-12

I don't know about you, but that's exciting news. I know I have been given the power of attorney to use the name of Jesus in my life and circumstances. But God says that HE will rebuke the enemy for me so that he won't destroy my hard work and steal the fruit of my labor. God says that others will look at my life and say that I'm blessed by God. How awesome is that?

You see, God doesn't just bless us so that we can have things, he blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others. He blesses us so that others see our lives and want to know what we have going on. It's his kindness that brings us to repentance. If we allow God to bless us, then we allow him to bless others through us.

So, how do you tithe when you don't have enough money as it is? What you don't do is pay your bills and creditors, buy your groceries, and see if you can manage to have enough money left over to tithe. That's an upside down budget. Your tithe should come right off the top. Before you pay anyone else, before you buy groceries, before you pay rent, you tithe. After you tithe, you pay yourself. After you pay yourself, you take care of the necessities (mortgage, utilities, food) and with what's left over, you pay bills and creditors.

I know it seems like it can't possibly work. But, I guarantee you that if you are faithful to God, before long, a financial miracle will occur. I can't explain it. I can only tell you it does work. When I wasn't tithing, I was struggling in debt. But, when I decided that no matter what, I was going to tithe -- if I didn't eat, I was going to tithe; if I didn't have electricity, I was going to tithe; if I couldn't put gas in my car, I was going to tithe. The interesting thing is, I always ate, I paid my bills, I even paid off my debt.

Life's little emergencies were covered by gifts, extra jobs, mistakes in my checkbook, asking for and receiving favor. I never lacked for anything I needed. Did I have everything I wanted? Not necessarily. But I had everything I needed and usually more. And most of the time those things we want turn out to not be so important after all.

I can't stress enough the importance of tithing. If you aren't tithing now, start. Don't tithe out of obligation. Tithe out of love and thankfulness for all of the blessings you have received. God wants to pour out his blessings on you. Give him back his portion so that he can. Prove him now. Your act of faith will be rewarded.


  1. NO ONE, absolutely NO ONE pays the Biblical tithe today.

    Leviticus 27:30-33, Numbers 18: The First Tithe - a tenth of crops and animals and commanded to take the tithe to the Levites.

    Deuteronomy 14:22-27: The Second Tithe aka The Festival Tithe - a tenth of crops, plus add to that the firstborn animals, and take for the yearly feast.

    Deuteronomy 14:28-29: The Third Tithe aka The Three-Year Tithe aka The Poor Tithe - a tenth of crops, kept at home, and invite the Levites, widows, orphans, stranger to eat.

    Now, tell me. Which of the above three tithes commanded by God does anyone follow today?

    The ONLY people in the Old Testament that were commanded to tithe were those who INHERITED THE PROMISED LAND WITH EVERYTHING ON IT. They got the land, house, animals, crops, etc. ALL FREE AND CLEAR. No mortgage payment or rent to pay. And THEY were commanded to tithe on the crops and animals and take it to the Levites who INHERITED the tithe INSTEAD OF the promised land with everything on it. No one else tithed. Wage earners did not tithe. Jesus didn’t tithe. Paul didn’t tithe. Peter didn’t tithe.

    Let’s look at Malachi 3. First, who is God speaking to – the priests or the people?
    We need to study the entire Book of Malachi rather than take a few verses out of context.

    By the time we get to verse 6 in chapter 1, we see it is the priests that are being addressed at that point.

    In both chapters 1 and 2 of Malachi there is a conversation going on between God and the priests. Every time the word "you" is used, it is referring to the priests. Chapter 3 continues with this conversation. In verse 5 God says "And I will come near to you to judgment….." In the Old Testament, during this period of time and generally speaking, only the priests could get near to God. It is only in the New Testament that born again believers, you and I, can get close to God. So up to chapter 3 verse 5, God is speaking to the priests. The word "you" is still referring to the priests. There is nothing in the scripture to indicate this changes when you get to verse 8. But that's not all.

    Read Numbers 18:29-30 and then read Malachi 1:14. Those verses explain robbing God of the offerings. The PRIESTS, not the people, robbed God of the offering by giving to God the worst instead of the best.

    In Nehemiah 13 we are told that the priests stole the Levites portion of the tithe; therefore, they had no food to eat at the temple, and they went back to their own fields.

    Therefore, taking the Levites portion of the tithe is the robbing God of the tithe. Or to put it another way, THE LEVITES WERE ROBBED. God said He was robbed because the tithe was not taken where God directed.

    Next, in Malachi 3:10 God says to bring all the tithes to the storehouse. The people took the tithes to the Levites who lived in the Levitical cities, not to the temple. The Levites took the required tithe of the tithe to the temple. (See Nehemiah 10:37-38) Only those tithes ever made it to the temple. The priests then took those tithes to the storehouse. It only makes sense if God is speaking to the priests in this verse.

    Since in Numbers 18 God makes it perfectly clear that the tithe belongs to Him, and He gave it to the Levites, anyone who takes God’s tithe to their local church must also be robbing God since the Levites are not the ones getting it.

    I see no way around this. Either the tithe ended per Hebrews 7:18, OR those who take God’s tithe to their local church must be robbing God since God gave clear instructions where to take His tithe. There is nothing in God’s Word to show that God ever changed those instructions. Therefore, the only conclusion I can reach is that taking a tithe to your local church is NOT paying the tithe to God. It is giving it to man. Nowhere in God’s Word does He give permission for the Christian Church to receive His tithe.

    Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…”

  2. Hey, Gary,

    Sorry. I thought your comment had been deleted. Apparently, blogspot had moved it into the spam folder. I have approved your comment, but had already posted a response in a new article.

    Anyway, thanks for dropping in and sharing your viewpoint, although it looks like we will probably have to agree to disagree on this one.

  3. Funny, I have been on both sides, and I wondered about each side of the argument for or resistant/opposed to the tithe. Both sides have a point. I remember when i was a young believer in the ministry and giving the little I made to the Lord, and He always seemed to provide. I did struggle at times, especially when I took on a car loan, while I was still in the ministry. Later on, when I was making better money, I continued the tithe, faithfully for years and believe me, the Lord always provided and blessed me. Not always financially, but in many ways. I can't recount each and every blessing, but I know God is faithful. Now, the basic premise here, starts with a question. Will God curse the believer with the Old Testament curses for being disobedient to the principle of tithing. I mean,I heard it from the pulpit. And from my experience, I would have to say, that although I am saved and have the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ and His grace and mercy, I know that He will discipline me or scold me, etc. when I choose to go against His will and ways for my life as a believer. Recently, I felt many of the curses, as I read Deuteronomy just now. It had been a while since I read these verses, as they are harsh and sober realities that Israel faced when they failed to obey the Lord's laws and statutes. But I also believe that God has a lot of patience with his children. So we don't always feel the full impact of a curse or judgement, because it may be seasoned with God's mercy and grace. So, I recently decided, although I read much to the contrary about tithing, that I would go ahead and tithe again and stick with it as long as I possibly can. God's love is always there for the non-tither as well as the tither, but it all comes down to what your response is to any challenge placed before you. Choose you this day whom you will serve.

    1. Hey, Marcus. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I have also been on both sides of the tithing issue... thinking I couldn't afford to, and then realizing I couldn't afford not too!!!

      I have done some word studies on the curses in the Old Testament. There is a school of thought, which makes a lot of sense to me, that God didn't necessarily curse his children for disobedience, rather He offered them the choice of life or death, blessing or cursing. Their choice to disobey led to the curses, but the curses were not from God, but rather from God's enemy. The words that sound in our English translation as if God "allowed" or "caused" some of these things to happen, is often a Hebrew tense that doesn't exist in English... more of a "didn't intercede" or "allowed us to make our own choices"... in other words, free will.

      I don't believe God curses us. I think when we remove ourselves from His covenant of protection by willfully choosing to disobey Him, the curses come.

      He is a God of love, and He is a God of faithfulness. And yes, we have a choice set before us daily.

      Thanks for stopping by, and have a blessed day.


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