February 5, 2024

Theology of tithe

Theology of tithe

Theology of Tithe

Historical context:

  1. We first see the idea of an offering or a tithe in Gen 4:3-7
  • Cain brought fruit from his crops and Able brought fat portions from his flocks.
  • First born and first fruits.
  • Acknowledging that it was God who gave them the crops and animals.
  • We first see the tithe being 10% in Gen 14:20 after Abram has a great victory in battle.

Gen 14:18 where it says “God Most High” that is the name of God El-Elyon, which typically means God Most high, of the Hebrew God. This not referring to some foreign God.

  • We see a similar thing in Gen 28:22 with Jacob. Where he pledges God 10%
  • The idea of the tithe being 10% is also laid out in the OT books Lev, Deuteronomy and Numbers.
  • Here are just a few of those scriptures. These are all also commands from the Lord
    • Lev 27:30; Lev 27:32; Deut 14:22

Malachi 3:6 This statement about God being unchanging is really a statement about his unwavering faithfulness to his covenant with Israel and us.  This is why we can tithe with confidence, because God is unchanging.

Verse 7   This verse tells us that with so many of Israel’s sins this is a long running unfaithfulness to God.

  • But God in His unchanging faithfulness is calling them back to Him, a call to repentance.
  • The people respond with how are we to return to you? Playing dumb?
    • In other words, they didn’t think they had turned from

Verse 8 God says they are robbing him. Pretty strong statement.

  • Again, the people play dumb and say, “how have we been robbing you?”
  • God is not bringing up something new here or surprising them with an obscure law.
  • The call to bring in the tithes was a call to the people to renew their commitment to God first and foremost.
  • The call to bring in the offering was a call to the people to renew their commitment to the worship practice and to God’s Temple.

Verse 9 God now makes this extremely strong statement. “You are under a curse.”

  • The NIV reads “you are under a curse” whereas most other English translations say something like “you are cursed with a curse.” It could also be seen as “you are greatly cursed.”
  • What is that curse? It probably has something to do with the pests and pestilence we see later in verse 11.

Verse 10 This verse has two commands in it. “Bring the full tithes” and “test me in this”

  • Followed by a promise of blessing.
    • In the Hebrew it is a very strong command to “bring in the full tithes”
  • But what is going on here went beyond just the hard economic times. They were flat out cheating.
  • Now we see another albeit odd command “put me to the test in this.”
    • Doesn’t Deut 6:16 tell us not to test the Lord your God?
  • This command to test ties back to verse 3:6 on God’s unchanging quality.
  • This is an invitation by God to see the covenant is still in effect.”
  • So God is saying that I will hold up my end of the deal if you hold up your end of the deal.
    • Test me and you will find that my covenant is still in place. Bing your full tithe.
  • Then God goes into the promise of blessings.
  • God says that he will throw open the flood gates of heaven.
  • Part of the curse they are under may have been a drought and so they would have seen this as literal rain.
  • The fact remains God is calling them to bring in the full tithes now, before the blessings.

Verse 11 This verse appears to be a reversing of the curse from verse 9.

  • We also see the sovereignty of God and the control He has over the circumstances of our lives.