Focal Point – Genesis 28:18-22

focalpoint“Early in the morning Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker. He poured oil on top of it and named the place Bethel…Then Jacob made a vow: ‘If God will be with me and watch over me on this journey, if He provides me with food to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a marker will be God’s house, and I will give to You a tenth of all that You give me'” (Genesis 28:18-22, HCSB).

Jacob was on a journey to Haran and at the end of one of the days during his journey he stopped and camped outdoors.

That night God appeared to Jacob in a dream of a stairway that started from where he was and reached to heaven. Angels were ascending and descending the stairway. In the dream God transferred to Jacob all the essential elements of the covenant He had established with his grandfather and father, Abraham and Isaac.

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Pay It Forward – Malachi 3:10

pay-it-forward2“Bring the full tenth into the storehouse  so that there may be food in my house. ‘Test Me in this way,’ says the Lord of Hosts. See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out a blessing for you without measure” (Malachi 3:10, HCSB).

The prophet Malachi accuses the people of Israel of robbing God (vs. 8) because they did not pay their tithes. The tithes were used to support the priests and Levites, whose ministry was essential if Israel was to be faithful to God in its calling as His chosen people. Because their land was cursed by drought and pestilence (vs. 9,11), they felt justified not giving their tithes.

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A Cheerful Giver – 1 Chronicles 29:5-6,9

CheefulGiver“Now who will volunteer to consecrate himself to the Lord today? Then the leaders of the households, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly…Then the people rejoiced because of their leaders’ willingness to give, for they had given to the Lord with a whole heart. King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chronicles 29:5-6,9, HCSB).

In preparation for building the temple, King David accumulated precious metals and stones and wood for its construction. In addition to all the materials he accumulated as King, he gave a substantial amount of gold and silver from his personal wealth.

Then he asked the leaders of Israel what they would give! And what’s interesting is the way King David asked them to give.

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A Tenth of Everything? – Genesis 14:19

“And Abram gave him a tenth of everything” (Genesis 14:19, HCSB).

When an alliance of kings from the north captured Lot and took him prisoner in a war with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot lived, Abram (Abraham) and his 300 fighting men mounted a surprise attack and rescued Lot and his family and recovered all of Lot’s possessions.

The king of Sodom and Melchizedek, the king of Jerusalem and a priest of God, celebrated Abram’s triumph.

Although Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything he owned, he refused to take anything from the king of Sodom. Abram did not want the king of Sodom to take any credit for his prosperity because Abram knew it was God that blessed him.

Abram recognized God was the enabler of his victory and the provider of his prosperity. Abram recognized that his blessedness was by the power and sovereign will of God.

If you want to be totally and completely in God’s will, then you can’t just give Jesus your heart. You also have to give him your money!

You can’t separate one from the other and Jesus made that perfectly clear: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21, HCSB).

Some people may not tithe because they don’t really understand how God provides and meets our needs.

God does not provide for us by giving us more and more of what we already have or think we need.

If we are experiencing financial difficulties, we think that more money is the solution to our problem.
     If our home is too small, we pray for a bigger one.
          If our car is too old, we pray for a newer one.
               If we are sick, we pray for good health.

But the biblical pattern for receiving God’s provision and blessing is for Him to extend the resources we already have to meet our needs as they are offered totally and willingly to God.

Tithing is a way of doing that with our financial resources. Tithing demonstrates that we, like Abram, recognize God’s sovereignty over our lives, especially our finances.

When you tithe, you offer the basic needs of your life totally and willingly to God and by having less resources you actually give God more space to enact His supernatural care over your life.

Then God extends the 90% to cover 100% of your needs!

I know it seems contrary to good sense and everything we understand about economics, but in the economy of God’s Kingdom, less is really more!

By having less of our own resources, we make room for more of God’s provision!

It’s a faith thing!.

When you give a tenth of everything you have to God, He makes available all of everything He has to you!

“Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure” (Malachi 3:10, HCSB).

Pay It Forward – Malachi 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.” The prophet Malachi accuses the people of Israel of robbing God (vs. 8) because they did not pay their tithes. The tithes were used to support the priests and Levites, whose ministry was essential if Israel was to be faithful to God in its calling. Their land was cursed by drought and pestilence (vs. 9,11) and so they were not giving the tithe. Thus, their negligence to give their tithes may have seemed justified, but the Lord reveals, quite dramatically, that these natural disasters were not the cause of their disobedience but the result of their disobedience. So God dared them to pay it forward. You see, the tithe is the first 10% of your income, not the last 10% or whatever portion is left (if any) after you pay everything else. So God dared them to pay the tithe no matter what the economic circumstances or conditions and then He would bless them and cause all their needs to be met. In other words, God promised that if they pay it forward, then He would meet 100% of their needs with 90% of their resources. Some argue that tithing is an Old Testament command and doesn’t apply to New Testament believers. However, the promise of the blessing of tithing applies to both Old and New Testament believers! Pay it forward–pay your tithes before you pay the bills and God will meet your financial needs. God dares you to try it!