Tithe, God, Moses and the Law
Let us now deal with tithes and offerings in the same order it is presented to the nation of Israel by God through His servant Moses. The children of Israel ad spent the last 400 years in Egypt and this entire generation Moses has now delivered and is called to lead into the land of promise has only ever known the life of slavery. Any stories of freedom, would have been those passed on from their forefathers as they retold the story of Joseph and God’s guidance, protection, blessings and exaltation of Joseph from prisoner and slave to exalted leader next to Pharoah himself. Not one of these Israelites were born into freedom. Therefore their mindset was on of slavery. We must therefore not miss the context in which the scriptures we are about to read unfold. Only three months have elapsed since leaving, they are very much still in the desert having arrived at Mount Sinai and here God begins to teach them about giving. I find this quite incredible, especially considering the Bible’s description of hardship and suffering they experienced under the oppressive Egypt hands. We must also consider they have not reached the land of milk and honey or promise, they have not had paying jobs for a long, long time, they have had to leave their lands and homes behind, they cannot plant corps because they are on the move, they do not have sufficient food in the camp to feed everyone, thus the manna from heaven daily and on and on we could go. It is in this difficult context that God teaches them about giving.
This scene in scripture places Moses now up on the mountain (Sinai) talking with God, and God Himself begins to instruct Moses about the people giving.
Exodus 22:29, “You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me.” Do not delay to offer the first - not the second or third.
Exodus 23:19, “The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.”
Exodus 25:1-2, “The Lord said to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take my offering.” Vs. 8, “And let them make me an offering that I may dwell among them.”
Exodus 34:26, “The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.”
Exodus 32: is the story of Israel’s idolatry in making the golden calf to worship as their supposed God. Moses now comes down from the mountain sorely disappointed and angry and breaks the tablets containing the Ten Commandments, and calls the people back to God. In Exodus 34:19 Moses prepares to carry out the instructions of the Lord and is ready to build the TABERNACLE Of Lord as instructed by the Lord. In chapter 35:4-5, Moses commands the people to take an offering - that is, whoever was willing-hearted (you know some people, no matter what God says, will not offer to the Lord willingly). Vs. 21 - some were stirred, challenged in their hearts and they offered willingly. Vs. 22-29 lists the things they offered.
The response from the people was so great and overwhelming that the people were restrained from bringing more offerings and the job was complete. Exodus 36:3-7 says they were prohibited or held back from bringing their offering. WOW!! Think about this!! These were people three months out of slavery, with a mindset and circumstances to match that would suggest they had nothing to give or could not afford to. Yet it is in this context that God challenges them. Remember how prior to leaving Egypt they had been instructed by God to ask for articles of gold, silver and clothing, and how Exodus 12:35-36 says that God gave them FAVOR, so the Egyptians gave them whatever they requested and so Israel PLUNDERED the Egyptians. Israel got paid for their many years of slavery before leaving Egypt, and God saw to that. Image wanting to say no to and Israelite after the mighty signs and wonders of their God who was bringing judgment on Egypt at the WORD of a man, no Egyptian would dear say no for fear of their own lives. Thus when asked to give notice what Israel brought to the Lord, gold, onyx, linen, scarlet and purple, was this a set up by God or what? The people could give because God had blessed.
Leviticus 27:30-33 - All the tithes is the Lord’s, if any of it was held back (redeemed), they were to add 1/5 or 20% to it. So in all, for holding back and using the tithe for another purpose, they paid 20% in addition to the 10%.
Sounds like a good idea to me, to be a good steward and keep on top of my tithe, to pay it out of my first fruit.
Numbers 7:84-88 is interesting. This is an offering of the 12 leaders of Israel at the dedication of the altar after the tabernacle had been set up (vs. 84). Each of these leaders made a specific and identical offering - and may I add a substantial one in 12 days - well over $780,000.
Numbers 18:1-32 - Remuneration of the Priesthood.
Vs. 2 - The children of Levi given in support of Aaron to serve him and attend to his needs (vs. 3).
Vs. 6 - “The Levites are my gifts to you.”
Vs. 9-19 - Lists some of those specific items God had given to Aaron.
Vs. 21 - The Levites received the tithe in return for the work they were doing.
Vs. 25-32 - The Levites, after receiving tithes of the people, were to offer up 10% of the tithe they received to the Lord. This 10% went to Aaron and his family (the High Priest).
Deuteronomy 12:5 “But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. 6 There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. 8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today— every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes— 9 for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you. 10 But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, 11 then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord. 12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you. 13 Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;
Again in Deuteronomy 14:22, “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.”
Vs. 2 - Bring of the first fruit of all produce.
Vs. 3 - Go to the Priest and make a declaration or profession.
Vs. 5 - About to perish, few in number, were mistreated and in bondage, but (vs. 9) God had brought us to this land of milk and honey - a place of abundance, of blessings.
Vs. 10-11 - Brought offering of the first fruit and shall worship and rejoice before the Lord.
Vs. 12 - When you finish paying your tithe of increase then you shall say, “I have paid my tithe, I have not forgotten your command nor transgressed.”
Vs. 14-15, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God and have done according to all that You have commanded. Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel and the land which you have given us, just as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.” - A place of an abundance of blessings.
This is a great thing for us to do, not only to obey and bring the tithe, not only to have faith to believe that He rebukes the devourer for our sakes and pours His blessings upon us, but along with obedience and faith we make a declaration or profession of our present state - out of bondage, no longer mistreated, not about to perish - because God has brought me into the milk and honey experience. We declare God’s blessings on our lives according to His word which we confess. Don’t see yourself as the world sees you or tries to define you or even as your circumstances suggest, but see yourself as God says you are, when you obey Him.