A more updated study on Tithe has been posted to my other Bible study blog: http://empoweredtooprosper.blogspot.com/2013/01/tithe-study.html
n order to start on the right foot we must now talk about the tithe. Simply put tithe is 10%. The key verse to look at when discussing the tithe is Malachi 3:8-12. God says here that not tithing is equal to robbing God. It is interesting to note that this is the only place in the bible God offers man a test or trial of his goodness. Go ahead, God says, test me… try me out… see if I’m faithful to my Word. God knows that money is tied to core matters of the heart. Jesus said that where your treasure is, your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21 and Luke 12:34)
~Gross VS Net~
What about this 10%? Is that gross or net? Malachi also answers this for us. Bring in the WHOLE tithe. Deut. 14:22 tells us to tithe on all your increase. All means All and that’s All All means. For a moment consider what you are really asking in this question. Should I give God 10% of the money I made before or after the government took their cut, and I sent some to my 401K, and I paid for medical deductions, etc etc… Does the government come first or does God? If God is first, that means first. Before anything is removed, God is first.
But that is old covenant law, we are not under the Law? Right? Yes we are not under the law. No tithing is not limited to the law. Actually the tithe predates the law. Genesis 14:20 shows us that Abraham paid tithe to Melchizedek after being blessed by God through Him. The law didn’t come until Moses who is a distant descendant of Abraham. Moses did not come for well over 400 years later.
In fact Hebrews tells us that Jesus himself receives our tithes. (Hebrews 7:8) The only thing Jesus ever commended the Pharisees on was paying the tithe. (Matthew 23:23)
In case you still felt there was room for doubt let us take a look at the very first sin. Genesis Chapters 1-3. God places Adam and Eve in the midst of a vast and fruitful planet. He plants a Garden in the east with instructions to then take the seed and reproduce the Garden on the rest of the planet. He blesses them with Dominion and Authority. All they put their hand to will prosper. He asks one thing in return. He reserves one tree and its fruit. He asks for this to remain His and His alone. This is Adams tithe. He is to take its fruit to God and God alone. He is not instructed not to touch it; that is Eve’s twisting of God’s words. He is instructed not to eat it.
Essentially, one could determine through looking at the commands given later in scripture, God’s plan was for Adam to bring him the fruits of this tree as tithe, offering, and love. God would fellowship and commune with Adam over this and take time to instruct him in matters of life. Truly God didn’t mind Adam knowing the difference between good an evil. He created and wanted Adam in HIS own image. God wanted Adam to learn from HIM and not through his own experience of good and evil.
Had Adam left the serpent, stopped Eve from talking to him (since he was there with her), and gone to God… Adam could have asked God about good and evil and He would have told him. Not tithing is always a matter of not trusting God to meet EVERY need, want, and desire. Not tithing is saying: “I’ll do this on my own… for myself... I’ll be my own provider.”
Jesus makes this interesting comparison regarding mans lease over the things of God. God the Father, in this story, is likened to a vineyard owner. He sent servants to the vine dressers who turned to beat and kill them. Then He sent his own Son, who was also killed. Jesus tells us that they will be thrown out, and God will lease the vineyard to others. (Matthew 21:40-42)
Adam’s first sin is touching that which belonged to God. God created this planet for mankind. He didn’t need a planet. In fact, He has many of them. He created this earth for man. The tithe is man’s mortgage or lease on the planet. This gives man the rightful use of this property. God is the landowner or Leaser. Man is the renter or leasee. When a man or woman fails to bring God His fruit first he is in danger of breaking lease. God serves notice that only curse and death will follow this course of action. Why?
This lease agreement is an agreement of blessing. To remove yourself from the blessing is to enter the curse by choice. The entire planet is under the curse due to Adam’s disobedience. It is the flow of the world’s system. It is the blessing, through contact and contract with God, that shields and protects you from the curse. Jesus redeemed us from the curse (Galatians 3:13). It is His blood that keeps us redeemed. He permanently reestablished a covenant between God and Man. This covenant is between God and Jesus so it cannot be broken. It is entered through believing in and on Jesus. Once entered, however, there are terms and conditions.
Obedience, will bring greater degrees of the protection of the blessing. Failing to love your brother may not keep you from heaven when you die, although it could progress to that. However failing to love is a failure to obey and it will cause the curse to operate in your life. So it is with the tithe. It is a connector to God’s ways of doing things. It connects you to His blessing. It is a heart matter. The tithe connects you to trusting God for ALL your provision. Failure to tithe is failure to trust. God’s not asking you to give so he can take 10% from you. He is asking you to give so he can bless the 90% and bring more to you by increasing the 90%!
~Promise of Blessing~
What is God’s promise if we obey him in bringing in the tithe? God says that he will open up the windows of heaven and pour out blessing we cannot contain. This is the same blessing he gave Adam in Genesis 1:28. It is the same blessing then given to Abraham in Genesis 14:18-20. It is the same blessing listed in detail for us in Deut. 28. The curse is listed there also, but only as a result of disobedience. God’s heart and passion is to bless us. Only when we disobey are we forcing ourselves to enter and live under a curse.
What happens to a person who fails to pay the rent? I can tell you. I once chose to pay my car note over my rent. I thought the car was more important. I ended up living in that car for about 6 months. Did God want me to live in a car? No He didn’t. Was it His will? Was He trying to teach me something? Was He trying to humble me? Why was I tight on funds at that time? I was living in disobedience over some other instructions He had given me. God isn’t out to cause bad things to happen to teach you a lesson. He laid it out plain and simple.
God gives us a clear choice in life. He tells us that there are blessing and cursing, life and death. Then He gives a hint, which is His choice; “Choose Life” (Deut. 30:19). Sounds like a no brainer, but this choice often means obeying God when it doesn’t feel like it’s good. Tithe is a major area for many, but it brings the Blessing.
The blessing of God is the power to get wealth, among other things. It is the power to prosper: spirit, soul, body, mind, financially, socially, etc… In all areas of life, the Blessing invades and creates fruitful environments. The blessing on Joseph saved two nations from starvation. (Genesis 41) The Blessing on Issaac caused him to sow during famine and reap a 100 fold return. (Genesis 26) The Blessing was on Jesus who multiplied fish and loaves for over 5,000 men plus women and children, on two occasions. (John 6 and Matthew 15). Over and over God used blessed people to provide for others. Hebrews 11 lists a hall of fame full of people that obeyed God and operated under the blessing.
The tithe connects you to the blessing. The tithe is only the beginning. God also promises special blessings for those who gives to the poor (Proverbs 19:17), and He has a special place in His heart for those in need. (Deut 10:17-19) We say that those who give to these classes of people are sowers. S.O.W. = Strangers, Orphans and Widows. In Philippians 4 we learn that giving to an anointed ministry doing the Work of God in the earth connects us to their anointing and increases our account with God.
This brings up another interesting point to consider when tithing and giving. We have an account with God. Jesus referred to it when He talked about storing treasure in heaven. Paul referred to it in Philippians 4.
In banking; a checking or savings account is known as a “Demand Deposit Account”. This means you have placed money in deposit there but expect to be able to place a demand on that money at any time. This is how it is with God.
We add to that account through every act of obedience and giving to God. We place a demand on that account by asking and believing. We place our treasure there through giving and sowing of our time, talent, and treasure. Jesus told a rich young ruler in Matthew 19 that he should give to the poor… the young man didn’t stick around to hear that there was a 100 fold return on that investment. There is no way to ever drain the heavenly account you have because it is increasing beyond the earth’s capacity to use it. This is why God said he could open up the windows of heaven and pour out the blessing which you cannot contain. It is however, available for use at a moments notice and with the demand slip called Faith.
Tithing may be hard at first. I had given off and on throughout my life. When I had rededicated my life to Jesus as Lord and Savior, I decided that I was going to take Him seriously for the first time in a long time. I found in the Word that tithing was not optional. I started by giving ten percent of what I had. I noted that within the first month I went from constantly negative in my accounts to having a little left over. I thought that this was quite remarkable.
I noticed that on months I did not tithe, the devourer came and what I thought I kept I lost. Those months I did tithe, things just went smoother. I later went on to learn about tithing on my gross income and not my net. This required more thought, because I actually had to look at each paycheck to determine what I had made before taxes and deductions. This had the side benefit of knowing what was really happening on my checks and taking control of it. I found out that I could put money in my 401K and less would go to taxes. Essentially I could pay myself instead of the government.
I also started to increase in income. I got better raises. I found money in the oddest places. I also found it easier to stay at one job longer. In one instance I really needed money to register a car and God brought more than enough just a week before it was due.
Tithing will not always be easy. But it doesn’t belong to you. It is God’s. Make up in your mind right now that tithe comes first no matter what.
~Challenges to Obedience~
For some people that may not be possible. Suppose you are a woman who has just learned about the tithe and you want to obey God. Your Husband (Or wife if you are a man) is not in agreement with this. Find something to give. If you get an allowance, or certain amount to spend for groceries, tithe on that. If you have $5 in your pocket, give some of it to God. Start where you are. You could even challenge the spouse. “We do this for three months. And if we are not better off than we stop.” Many have given this challenge to faithless spouses to have the spouse then say at the end of three months: “Whatever it is… keep it up!!”
Whatever your situation, God knows your heart. Start with what you have. Show yourself faithful and God will do the same. This is a heart matter more than a letter of the law matter.
There is actually more to tithing than dropping money in a bucket. God actually lays out a method to the tithe. You could say it comes with an instruction manual. This is found at length in Deut. 26:1-15, Specifically in 13-15.
13 then you shall say before the LORD your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. 14 I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the LORD my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me. 15Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”’
This was written to the physical people of Israel. What application does this have for those in the new covenant who are the spiritual Israel?
~Remove the Tithe~
First of all we must remove the tithe! This means don’t wait until last minute, after the bills are paid and hope there is some left over to tithe with. The tithe comes first before anything else is paid for or paid on. One great way of doing this, and something I have been doing for a while now, is actually set up a separate account for the tithe and offering. If your payroll department will allow split direct deposit you can have 10% or more automatically sent to this special purpose account. You won’t even have to think about separating for yourself. You can write a check, take out cash, or use your card, however you normally give from this account knowing the money has already been separated unto God for the work of God in the earth. You may want to try doing 12% or 14% as the direct deposit will only use after tax money for the percentage. If you are tithing on your gross you will need a higher percentage to come out right. A little too much is good too because tithing is the starting place of giving not the max. You may want to allow this account to build up so that you can use the excess as an offering amount. Maybe the church has a building project, or maybe you will meet someone God wants you to reach out and bless. You have already set yourself up to participate by letting this account build up on the side.
We also see that the tithe must also be accompanied by obedience to other areas of God’s Word. Walking in strife, unforgiveness, or any other area of sin will cancel out the benefits of the tithe. Again looking to Jesus’ words to the Pharisees (Matthew 23:23); He said you ought to have done these (tithe of the first fruits of all their increase) without neglecting the other more weightier matters (Justice, Mercy, and Faith).
~Don’t Eat It~
Do not eat your tithe. This will come as a hard saying, but yes the tithe comes before groceries too. This means you cannot allow a tight month to dictate to you whether or not you will tithe by saying: “Oh well, things are really tight this month… we cannot afford to give this month… God knows our hearts… He understands… we’ll just start again next month.”
This sounds logical but it is certain death to next months finances. Saying this is exactly the same as saying: “God, we don’t really trust you to meet our needs, which includes feeding us. We believe you religiously, but not in practical matters where it counts.” Acting in fear, which is what not tithing is caused by, always connects you to the curse and you will find that next month will be tighter than this month. I know from personal experience that when you feel like you cannot afford to tithe, the truth is you cannot afford not to tithe.
~Confess the Tithe~
This passage also shows us the most important and most overlooked matter in the tithe: Confession. God is not just asking for us to put money in a bucket. That alone doesn’t connect you to the blessing. In fact you can put 10% of your income in a bucket and still not see any blessing. Tithing is a covenant matter. It connects you to the covenant blessing. You didn’t get married without using your words to connect you to marriage. You said some things. If you open a checking account you will sign a document saying that you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions. Confessing your tithe to God is a way of connecting you to His blessing through tithing. Say some things about it. You may even want to take communion with your family, which is another covenant rite. Take a few minutes together either before church or on pay day and talk about the tithe. You could say something like the following modern version:
“Jesus; thank you for your sacrifice! Thank you for the cross. Your blood and broken body redeemed us from the curse. Thanks to you we are free from the bondage of sickness, disease, poverty, lack, sin, and death. We were once under a curse which rules the world’s system. Thanks to you, Jesus, we are free! We accept everything you redeemed us from and redeemed us to. We plead your blood over our household. We say we are blessed going in and blessed going out. We are blessed in our bodies and in our bank accounts. We thank you for using us to be a blessing to countless others. We declare divine encounters this month. The windows of heaven are open to us and we are free from the devourer. Thank you. Glory to God!” Then pray some. Praise God. Sing some songs or worship. Adore Him. Do this every payday, if not more often.
This time of confession, prayer, and praise will open up your mind and thought life to meditate on his word and promises. When disaster strikes and the enemy attacks you will have spent time building in yourself a fortress of trust in God. You will be able to say like Paul: None of these things move me (Acts 20:24)! His promise is a land flowing with Milk and Honey. He tells us that land will require faith and fight. It will not be given to us without a fight. There will be enemies to our progress and increase. We will move on in faith. From time to time people will come along trying to move us off of our land and rightful place. We must stand strong in faith. Temptations, trials, and other distractions will not move a true tither, connected to the covenant of blessing. The money could drain and houses fall down and the tither knows, as God did with Job, that double is coming!
You may also want to consider in addition to your tithe a set offering amount every month. Many long time tithers have gone on to make a 20% or more their minimum. 10% to the church and 10% to ministries and work of God elsewhere. God blesses giving. If you aren’t there yet you could start with $5. Choose, through prayer, a place you want to begin sowing/giving to. Maybe there is a minister that you learn from that isn’t at your church, sow the $5 into that ministry. Maybe there is an orphanage or elderly home that you feel a strong attachment to. Find a place to start, let God lead you.
Suppose you feel that having too much is a bad thing. It isn’t, God wants to overflow your cup according to psalms 23. But suppose you do. You see the world hurting and feel bad for wanting too much. Go ahead and believe god for a $1,000,000 a year. Then live on $50,000. That leaves you $950,000 a year to meet the needs of other people. Who told you that you had to keep it? That way you are GIVING 95% of your income and living on 5%! How’s that for Godly math? According to the pattern God shows in the bible, you would not be able to do that long without seeing a significant increase in your income. Go ahead, believe God for TOO MUCH. That is the only way you can participate in meeting the needs of others. That is the principle of 2 Corinthians 9:8. Have too much so that you can have to give.
Now don’t take this to mean that you should go give your entire paycheck away today… God may require obedience but He also requires wisdom. Faith comes in the form of seed. You start with the faith you have and work it. Like a muscle or plant, time and patience will cause it to grow. Start where you are, give what you have to give, and watch it multiply over time. Challenge yourself to give more over time, according to your faith. Romans 12:2 says to take time to renew your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve God’s will. This includes His will in the area of Giving. Verse 3 tells us to not think that we are beyond where we are. We should not think we are higher or lower than we are, but judge ourselves soberly. This way we can operate at the level of faith we have, practice it, push through it like working weights in a gym. This causes us to know where we are in our faith walk with God and it allows us to know where the next level is too.
If you work 10 pound weights and they are hard at first, work them awhile. In time you find the weights become easier to lift. Soon you can work 20 pounds, then 50. So it is with God. You may find that committing to tithe takes all the faith you can muster. Soon it becomes easier, then routine. Eventually you don’t question it or even think about it, it’s just natural. At first you may find that sowing an extra $5 is hard, but as you pray God begins to show you that you spend $20 a month on random things you don’t need and maybe even didn’t want that much. Maybe the whole $20 is spent on one thing or several things.
Over time God will ask you to push yourself in this area of giving. Over time he will ask you to set goals for your giving. Just like working weights in a gym; the goals will seem tough at first and become easier over time. I know one man who committed to giving in every church service he attended, even if it was just $1 he gave every service. Soon he was giving Sunday and Wed and special events. He progressed to a set amount, say $5 each service. Last I heard he was sowing $100 each service and was looking to increase that. His life and business has increased exponentially over time and there is a direct correlation between his increase in giving and his increase in life at every turn. The increase in giving always came before the increase to his financial life.
Decide for yourself where you are in life. Pray it out. Remember that there is no condemnation in God (Romans 8:1). So if you feel bad for not being able to give what you want to, you are on the wrong track. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says:
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
So pray it out, find what you have peace about in your heart, not your head! Give cheerfully. Every time the offering basket comes by your hand, even if you are not giving in that service, you may even want to practice saying: “I LOVE to give!” It will help build inside of you the heart of a giver.
So remember, tithe is not optional, giving is a connection to the blessings of God. Giving causes increase in your life. Tithe on your gross income, put God first, secure your lease and connection to the blessings of God. Fill your heavenly account. Remove the tithe immediately and separate it from your other money. Walk in obedience in other areas of life. Don’t eat the tithe. Confess the Word of God over your giving. Finally pray about what God would have you to do in order to participate in giving over and above your tithe.