“Doing this will teach you…” Deuteronomy 14:23e
Before entering the promised land, the Lord instructed Moses on the meaning of the law given to guide the people in holy living. When it came to giving, God instructed the tithes of crops, new wine, olive oil, and the first born males of the flocks and herds be delivered to the designated place of worship. By following this practice, the people would learn to fear the Lord. Fearing God can be described as being in awe of His way, and thus embracing it as one’s own way.
The tithe was an act of worship. It might even be said it was the central act of worship during this era of Israel’s history. There are times when we may experience a dryness in our spirit and consider holding back from worshiping the Lord. One may even discontinue the practice of tithing or giving to God as an act of worship. God’s Word counsels us to reconsider this decision and allow God to work in and through our worship of Him to teach us His way.
This precept of giving is a reflection of God’s gift to us: He did not hold back His only Son (read Romans 8:32), and He supplies all our needs. When we give in worship, we recognize the sacrifice of Jesus’ own life on the cross. We can more closely see the meaning in His prayer: “…not my will but Yours be done…” (Luke 22:42), thus leading us to make a similar sacrifice when we are prone to avoid worship and the act of giving.
God even instructed Moses on ways to accomplish one’s intent to give – even when one has to make the sacrifice of a great distance to do so. (v.’s 24-26) Moses was then reminded to remember the Levites among them, for they would have no allotment of land they would occupy. Every third year, the tithe was to go directly to the Levites, foreign neighbors, orphans, and widows – that they may “…eat and be satisfied.” (v.’s 27-29) By keeping this practice, God promised to bless the work of the Israelites.
And He will do the same for us today… God will bless our work (v.29) and teach us to revere His way through our commitment to tithe and worship Him. Perhaps we might look at the efficiency with which the tithes were budgeted, and the commitment of His people to give. It may create in us a more charitable spirit, as well as yield a more accountable use of God’s blessings to us.
Give and to you will be given… (Luke 6:38)