Summary: An inductive sermon on an unfaithful attitude about giving.
“I’M CUTTING BACK MY TITHE”
I would like to spend this week and next week looking at the issue of money. All of us deal with money as an aspect of our lives. The Bible has much to say about money and how we should treat it. The Bible has much to say about the mistreatment of money and what affects that mistreatment has on our lives. Our attitudes about money affect how we spend it and how we value it. You might be a spender or perhaps you are a saver. You may waffle between the two and penny pinch for a while to afford a big purchase. The point is, we all deal with money and we all have an attitude about money.
Money brought into the church and placed in the offering plate has several names. Offering. Tithes. Alms. Gifts. Sacrifices. God speaks about tithing in His word. Leviticus 27:30 says, “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD.” Further verses in Leviticus 27 record that a tithe is a tenth given to the Lord. It is that tithe and our attitudes about tithing that I wish to talk about today. Given that I have only two weeks in which to talk about this subject… I wish to cut to the chase. Let’s be real and let’s be honest and let’s let God speak to our hearts.
READ DEUTERONOMY 12:1-14
This passage is an odd choice I think, to speak about tithes and offerings. I would like to share what I see in this passage as it relates to tithes and offerings.
The very first thing that this passage discusses is honoring God. Verse 1 speaks of a God who has given laws and commands to be followed and also a God who has given land to these people. The odd thing about this land is that it is already occupied. Other people occupied the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants. The people of Israel were coming out of slavery in Egypt and were going to take back the land promised to them.
This required them to honor God. How? Verse 1 tells us that they were to follow the laws and commands of God. Verse 2 tells us that when they conquered a particular place, they were to destroy the ‘high places’ and the places where the other people worshipped their false gods. God wanted all traces of this idolatry wiped away. Numbers 33:55 reminds us why God is telling them such things, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.” After the death of Joshua, an angel of the Lord came to Israel and spoke and says the same things in Judges 2:3, “Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.” Verse 4 of Deuteronomy 12 tells us that our God wants to be worshipped in a certain manner and they were to follow that way.
God is speaking to the people and sees that they need an anchor to hold their faith to Him. He does not want them drifting away in the tides of life. He does not want the people around Israel to entice them to do evil and to disobey Him. He wants them to be faithful. Do you want to be faithful to God? Is that a word that you want to describe your life? I hope it is. Abraham is called faithful (Nehemiah 9:8). Moses is called faithful (Numbers 12:7). Samuel is called faithful (1 Samuel 2:35). King Hezekiah was called faithful (2 Chronicles 31:20). I would hope that someday God might use that word to describe me… faithful. I hope I am. I hope I follow him with an earnest heart and a faithful attitude. Do you want to be faithful to God?
God tells the Israelites how to be faithful to Him in this passage. In verse 5, they are told to seek out the place where God would put His name and where His dwelling would be built. Would there be a place where a ‘dwelling for God’ would be built? Would there be a capital city? We know of course that Jerusalem becomes the center of all this and King Solomon in fact builds the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 5-8). God wants a central place where they will worship. Part of that worship is explained in verses 6 and 7 of Deuteronomy 12. What is to be part of their worship?