FIRST THINGS, part 3

From The Blessed Life Series

What exactly is a tithe?
The word Tithe comes form the Hebrew language and means “a tenth”.

When we look at Malachi 3:8-11, we see this principle stated again.

Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, How have we robbed you? In your tithes and contributions.
3:8
You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.
3:10
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Once again, we see the principle of the tithe, of blessing and of a curse, if we withhold our gifts from God.

In other words, God blesses when we give, because we are putting him first in everything. God’s hand of blessing is not upon our finances when we withhold our gifts to Him.

Let me illustrate these principles. Lets say I have 10 crisp $1.00 bills. If I lay them out on a table in front of you, how much would be my tithe? The answer is: 10% or one dollar! Here’s another question: Which dollar would be my tithe according to the principles we’ve been reviewing? Answer: This first one that goes out!

You see God expects our best and our first. Not the leftovers. We don’t pay everything else first and then give to God what is left! We give to Him first!

Now I know you may ask, “Does God expect me to tithe to Him if I might not able to pay my bills?” At first glance, this would seem reasonable, but this is not God’s response. He insists that if we don’t give, we are robbing Him – and we will end up in worse financial shape than before.

We should always keep in mind that God gives us this 10th in the first place. It never was ours. God didn’t make you run up your credit cards or buy that too expensive house. That’s why God’s principles for our finances are so extraordinary!

Not to mention that God’s Word says that when we open our hearts to give to Him, that it opens the door for Him to give us even more!

So we have the FIRSTBORN, the FIRSTFRUITS and the TITHE, eternal principles to giving. God expects and deserves the first of our income and the first of our lives.

You know I have consistently over the past 15 years heard some incredible testimonies of blessing by those who have made tithing a principle in their lives. On the flip side, I have consistently heard testimonies of difficulty and financial heartache from those who have stated that they can’t afford to tithe.

And in the words of the great theologian Forrest Gump, “I’m not a smart man” but this principle seems to make sense.

You see, God doesn’t need your money. It is actually already belongs to Him. God wants your heart. He doesn’t need for you to give; He’s not going broke. He wants to bless you!

And for those of you ready to jump on the “tithing was under the law and I’m under grace” bandwagon, pray about what we discussed this week and join us tomorrow morning at Two Rivers. 9:45 or 11:10am.

See You There!
Matt

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