Genesis 13: 5– 15: 21 Matthew 5: 27-48 Psalm 6: 1-10 Proverbs 1: 28-33
Today’s readings are rich in “easy-to-follow” steps. We read in Matthew 5, the Beatitudes which are full of the “how-to’s” if you will. And then we read in the Old Testament section about the wars between the kings of old. Abram meets Melchizedek, hat Jesus-like figure. Where do we start? What do we talk about?
Well, I am going to delve into the idea of the tithe. This is the first place we see the tithe in Scripture. There is much debate as to whether the tithe is mandated for Christians or whether it is only an Old Testament idea. I will let you decide for yourself, but I do think it is interesting (and no accident) that the tithe occurs pre-law. That is it occurs in the Bible before the Mosaic laws. Here is the reading Genesis 14:18-20:
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying, “ Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
After Abram honors God by giving a tithe, or a tenth, which is what tithe means, several positive things happen to him.
- The King of Sodom offers to give Abram goods
- A vision comes to Abram and God offers protection
- God promises an heir, millions of descendants he will have
- Abram will live to an old age
I am not of the belief that you give to get things, or am a proponent of the prosperity gospel. We give not to get but to become better people. Abram was setting a precedent and was faithful and thankful to God. God does indeed love a cheerful giver because when you give your heart is opened to what God wants to pour in.
Think about the times you have given to someone or something with no intention of getting back, there is a joy that comes that is hard to describe, almost a release. God wants us to give because it changes us, it allows us to see God more clearly. By giving we are unleashing our selfishness, our natural desire to make sure we have enough, that we get ours. But each time I have given, I feel less tethered to my money, instead I feel freer, even though I am lighter in the wallet.
God doesn’t need our money. Think about it: a God who needs my $100 would be impotent. He wants me to give because then I become free of the control money has on me, free to live as God desires. Now that being said, giving money is not natural in our culture, the more you have the more important you are. But think of the possibilities of radical giving. Abram was given well beyond what he could imagine not because he gave, but because he recognized where his blessings came from and that made him the perfect person for God to use.
That’s what I think, until next time, peace.
Tyndale. The One Year Bible NIV (OYB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 1108-1110). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.