Are We Robbing God?

Wendy Blight

Day: 39 | Plan: Leviticus-Hebrews

Today's Reading: Leviticus 27

Leviticus 27:30 (NIV) “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.”

Leviticus 27 sets forth guidelines for financial giving, specifically giving “the tithe” in Leviticus 27:30. The tithe derives from the Hebrew word maser, which means tenth part. Under the Old Testament law, the Israelites were required to give one tenth of everything they produced from the land to God. We see this date as far back as Abraham because in Genesis 14:20, Abraham gave Melchizedek, king of Salem and a priest of the Most High God, one tenth of the spoils of war.

When God established the Levitical law, the tithe became a legal obligation. It was a practical and necessary means to support the Levites (the priests). When God divided up the Promised Land, the Israelites’ promised inheritance, He allowed each of the tribes, except the Levites, a parcel of land. Without land, the Levites had no means to support themselves. So instead of land, God gave to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes brought by the other tribes. (Numbers 18:23-24)

So why should we give to God today? Levites no longer live among us. One answer is to support our local church. But it’s more than that.

Remember, the overarching theme of Leviticus is holiness—God calling His people to be holy as He is holy and to live God-honoring, God-centered, set-apart lives. One significant aspect of holiness is obedience and discipline. God gave rules and regulations. He set standards and expected His people to obey them. 

Their land, possessions, flocks, and vineyards were blessings from God, given by His hand. They came into the Promised Land with nothing and gained everything. The tithe served as an annual reminder of this truth and required them to give back to God a portion of what was already His.

The principle behind giving back to God carries through to us today. Oh, we may not have grain, produce, and flocks to bring before the Lord, but we have income. Income we have earned because of the gifts, talents, and skills God has built into us. Income we can invest back into God’s kingdom, first to the church and then to other ministries and organizations who reach the least and the lost. And maybe even to individuals God places across our paths.

But giving rubs up against our sin nature, the part of us naturally inclined toward selfishness, security, greed, and possessions.

Giving back to God, and those in need, is an act of obedience. We give back to the One who first gave to us. But over time, that giving becomes the training wheels of generosity. It loosens the hold money has on us. God transforms our hearts and brings us to a place of generous giving. And it’s in that surrendered place that God then blesses our obedience and our generosity.  

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a generous heart. A desire to give back a portion of what you have so graciously given to me. Open my eyes to an opportunity today to give to another in need. It might be at school, at the office, at the grocery store, or on the street corner. Help me not to judge, Lord, but to simply listen for Your voice and obey what I hear. Use me today, Lord, to give generously and bless another. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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