We have begun a Tithe Challenge. (A three month test of giving 10% to God to see what happens!) I am praying for those of you who are signed up and I am excited about what God will do in our lives. This is the first post during our next 12 weeks in this challenge together.
I think the first question some may have is, Why a challenge? Why use the word tithe and challenge together? It’s because the Bible does. I find it interesting that it says, “Do not test the LORD your God…” Deuteronomy 6:16 (NIV) in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, Jesus even quoted this verse when tempted by Satan. We are told not to tempt the Lord in any area, but one.
Test Me In Tithing
The one area where God says, “TEST ME” is in the area of giving 10%. It’s the place where our finances and our faith intersect. “Test Me”, God says. Since He gives us permission to challenge or test Him, I have no problem calling this the “Tithe Challenge.” It’s biblical.
Let’s look at this particular passage in Malachi 3:10.
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty. Malachi 3:10-11 (NIV)
What Is A Tithe?
The word “tithe” comes from a Hebrew word that means “ten.” A tithe is 10 percent of one’s income, whether it’s grain, fruit, animals, or money (Lev. 27:30-34; Neh. 13:5). There were special storage rooms in the temple for keeping the grain, produce, and money that the people brought to the Lord in obedience to His Law. If people didn’t want to carry heavy produce all the way to the temple, they could convert it into cash, but they had to add 20 percent to it just to make sure they weren’t making a profit and robbing God (Lev. 27:31).
Isn’t Tithing Old Testament Law?
Actually tithing predates the law. Tithing, as an act of worship, is as old as Abraham, who gave tithes to Melchizedek, acknowledging that Melchizedek was the representative of the Most High God (Gen. 14:20; Heb. 7). Jacob vowed to God that he would tithe (Gen. 28:22), so tithing pre-dates the Law of Moses. Later tithing was included in the Law of Moses as a part of Israel’s worship. In bringing the tithes and offerings, the people were not only supporting the ministry of their public worship system, but they were also giving thanks to God for His abundant provision for their own needs.
What About Tithing In The New Testament?
The word “tenth” or tithe is used 10 times in the New Testament. Interesting number! It’s found in Matthew 23:23-24 and Luke 11:42. In these two passages, Jesus told the Pharisees they should tithe as they had been without neglecting justice, mercy, and faithfulness. The other 8 times are found in Hebrews 7 v. 4-10 where it describes Abraham’s relationship to Christ by drawing a parallel between Abraham’s tithe and his acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2 suggests proportionate giving and “grace giving” in 2 Corinthians 8-9, which is certainly beyond 10 percent. Most biblical commentators suggest that if believers under the Old Covenant brought their tithes, how could Christians under the New Covenant begin with anything less?
Thanks again for taking the time to grow and be challenged by God’s word and to be challenged to give. Next time we will explore more of these concepts that relate to giving, God’s blessing, and how God blesses when we take this step of faith.
P.S. Please share as God works in your life. I would love to hear your stories of how God is working in your life.
Not signed up? Just post a comment that says, “Sign me up” or “I’m in” and I will email you.
Bible Exposition Commentary Old Testament
Giving and Tithing, Larry Burkett
Life Application Bible Notes
Matthew Poole’s Commentary
Try Giving on Line at www.ridgefellowship.com