Devotional from David Niednagel, Pastor and Teacher, Evansville, IN., from his continued study in Deuteronomy. David uses the S.O.A.P method in his morning devotional time. (study, observe, apply, pray).
14:22 “You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. 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. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God. 24 “Now when the Lord your God blesses you with a good harvest, the place of worship he chooses for his name to be honored might be too far for you to bring the tithe. 25 If so, you may sell the tithe portion of your crops and herds, put the money in a pouch, and go to the place the Lord your God has chosen. 26 When you arrive, you may use the money to buy any kind of food you want—cattle, sheep, goats, wine, or other alcoholic drink. Then feast there in the presence of the Lord your God and celebrate with your household. 27 And do not neglect the Levites in your town, for they will receive no allotment of land among you. 28 “At the end of every third year, bring the entire tithe of that year’s harvest and store it in the nearest town. 29 Give it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all your work. NLT
Most American Christians aren’t concerned about tithing, and since we are no longer under the Law (of Moses) that is OK. But we should understand why God gave these commands long ago. First, a tithe is 10%. It was to be given “off the top” before anything else was spent, and it was a “faith statement”. God said in effect, “If you give Me the top 10% I will bless the rest of your income more than you could if you kept 100%.”
In :23 Yahweh said if they did this it would “teach you always to fear Me.” Tithing teaches us something. Tithing showed respect for God. It showed they believed He had the right to command them anything, and that He was good and would provide for His people who loved and trusted Him. The ongoing practice of tithing would produce ongoing growth in their love and appreciation of Yahweh because it would repeatedly show His greatness. Tithing did not leave them poorer, it demonstrated He would “bless you in all your work”. On the other hand, if they did not trust and obey they Lord, they would not experience His power and love and they would grow more cynical and distant.
:27 said “Do not neglect the Levites”. Tithing not only blessed those who gave the tithes, it provided the necessary income for the priests. And since all the people were sinners, they always needed priests to offer sacrifices and intercede for them. There was no other way a sinner could be made right with God without the shedding of blood, and only the priests could do that. Priests were indispensable.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You are our high priest and that You Yourself were the final sacrifice for our sin (Heb 9:11-12) and that You still intercede for us at the right hand of the Father. (Rom 8:34) We don’t need priests today to offer sacrifices on our behalf. Not only that, but we all have the privilege of interceding for one another. So we have more reason to give to You now than Israel did then. We have the joy of acceptance without the mess and expense of animals. And thank You that even though we are not required to give 10% of our income, when we trust You and love You, we experience Your wonderful presence and provision time and again. Thank You for the many, many times You have surprised me with Your fantastic provision as fresh demonstrations of Your love. As I reflect on that, I can see it really has taught me the beauty of “the fear of the Lord”. I don’t think I would have had the same understanding of that phrase if I had not tithed all these years, and experienced Your power and Your love. Hallelujah! Amen