Monday, December 13, 2010

The old covenant purpose for tithes

The old covenant purpose for tithes
S -
22 "You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year.23 "You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.24 Deut 14:22-24 (NASB)

O -
A second portion from the produce of their land was required. The whole appointment evidently was against the covetousness, distrust, and selfishness of the human heart. It promoted friendliness, liberality, and cheerfulness, and raised a fund for the relief of the poor. They were taught that their worldly portion was most comfortably enjoyed, when shared with their brethren who were in want. If we thus serve God, and do good with what we have, it is promised that the Lord our God will bless us in all the works of our land
   —Matthew Henry Concise

The purpose of this section is not so much to give a comprehensive statement of the tithe law as to guard tithing procedure from being prostituted to idolatrous ends; that is, to prevent Israel from honoring the Canaanite fertility deities for their harvests
  —Wycliffe Bible Commentary, The

So much of the old testament laws appeared confusing to me before because of their arbitrariness, but after a new approach and perspective, one that comes from recognizing the who the Israelites were as they were about to enter the promised land.  They were a people freed from slavery, who had wandered the desert for 40 years, and were prone to taking on the culture of the people amongst which they lived.   They were also God's people, children of the covenant with Abraham, and in order for them to remain in close relationship with the Lord as they entered the promised land, he needed them to stay close.  These laws and the level of detail specificity were God designed to keep them focused on Him and not become distracted by the rituals of the Canaanites who culture was opposite to that of God's people.
 -  my commentary

A -  The application for me is to recognize, while I am not under the old covenant anymore, the principles remain.  I am saved by Grace, and mercy of Christ sacrifice.  I no longer need to offer sacrifices for my sin.   I am filled with the Holy Spirit, so He is strong enough in me to help me resist the rituals of the nations/culture around me.   I honor God with more than a tithe of what I produce, I honor Him with giving all I am to Him for His purposes.    The Israelite nature inside of me is fading each day I walk with God in my life, but it is still very possible for me to get lost in the culture of this world, and to forget to honor and give Glory to God for all that I have and all that I am.  

P -  So my prayer is this, Lord refresh and remind me of the new covenant promise you have made with me because of the work of your son on the cross.  Remind me of the chains that have broken, the freedom from the ways of the world, and the transformation of my nature from the old to the new.   Lord keep me ever mindful of the impact of the culture surround me, and the nature of my flesh, and keep my heart ever thankful and in remembrance of were my strength and provision come from.  I pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment