Even if you have been in church for over a decade, chances are you have never heard a sermon on Deuteronomy 14. In context, this scripture IS about tithing. But what it says may shock you and doesn’t bode well for tithe-dependent churches and ministries.
EAT THE TITHE! Just one of the shocking instructions you’ll find as you rush over there to ensure that I’m not making this up.
Turns out that when instruction for tithing was given to the Jews, they were really instructions for having an all-out party or feast to celebrate the covenant! That would be the old covenant, as we know it. The point was for them to remember the day that God gave them the covenant. To ensure that neither they, nor their children, would forget, they were to have an annual shindig, an all-out bash, an unforgettable party to remember the covenant, and thereby teach their children to revere God.
The language for this is stunning! It involves beer or strong drink and trading the tithe for money, which in turn, was to be used to buy whatever you or your family wanted. Again, all of this celebrating was to the point of remembering the covenant and teaching it to their children and their children’s children. Deut 4: 10 – 14
When you know this, when you see this for yourself, it puts Malachi 3 into proper context. In spite of the fact that God had given them this wonderful way of remembering Him and the covenant, they had long forgotten.
God also told them to remember to take care of the Levites and those who were without or the poor. (More about this in “Tithe – Support for the Poor.”)
Let me point out a couple of things here. We, too, have a way of celebrating our covenant with God. It’s not the tithe. We don’t put as much into making it celebratory, relevant, or unforgettable anymore, but maybe we should. Maybe we should put as much emphasis into celebrating the new covenant as we put on the celebration of the old covenant.
What do you do to celebrate your covenant with God that is memorable to your children and your family? Do you have any ideas for a celebration fit for our covenant?
Share your thoughts here.