Hello Lovely Family. Sorry for posting this late but yipee we are up and we are excited to share this with you all. Today’s post is on the laws of Tithing
The Captivity of Oath Breakers
Allow me introduce you to another brief history of Israel. Being the people of God, the one thing this mighty nation spent many long years doing was wrestling with God. After all, that’s exactly how their father got that name. They went into repeated Covenants with God and God blessed them abundantly for it but generations later they break this Covenants and the curses of the covenant follows. If you read the Torah (Genesis – Deuteronomy) you would see in details most of the Covenant blessings, and curses that would follow if broken. Most curses led to loss of their homeland and captivity by their enemies. This they experienced greatly after the loss of the Davidic dynasty and the Medo-Persian Empire captured them. While in Persia, Babylon, God started to raise up those loyal to Him who would teach the people to remember His Holy Name. People like Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah were very instrumental in taking the people back to the promised lands to help rebuild the temple, and revive true worship of the Covenant God [YHWH]. None of the chosen reformers found this task easy. As a matter of fact, they were so unsuccessful that prophets after prophets came after them with warnings and promises of the Messiah to come. The Chosen One himself wen go finish work.
This briefly summarized situation is what we see in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Understanding this story made it possible to see Malachi in its contextual light and that was when I had my first light bulb moment. That was when I found the storehouse.
Back from Captivity: the tithe of the returning sons
Ezra and some Jews in exile, by the permission of the Persian king, Artaxerxes, had come back to their strong city of peace (Jeru-Salem) to rebuild it and cause the people to purify their Israeli race. He discovered a lot of them had intermarried with non-Israelis and this was indeed a sin according to the law (Deut. 23:1-4). He and the elders gave decrees to divorce these foreign women and their foreign babies and send them away insisting they had polluted the people of God and made them slaves of idolatry. This was hurtful. Most importantly the Levites had to follow this decree so that they can uphold the law and begin to serve in the temple again. They were made to observe this divorce en masse and this became a very common practice.
Treasures and Supplies
After Ezra, Nehemiah had come to rebuild the walls and the people started to observe the laws faithfully again. That was when I first observed in scriptures that the Israelites tithed exactly as the law had instructed in Numbers 18. In Nehemiah’s days, the children of Israel took their tithe and paid to the sons of Levi, as was their entitlement for taking care of God’s house, then these Levites paid a tithe of the tithe they received to the priests in the store house. They also brought all the offerings into the store house so they will not neglect the house (Neh. 10: 38-39). These offerings and tithes were used for the maintenance of the house of God, the salaries to the Levites, since they had no inheritance in the land, and, very easily neglected, provisions for the poor. At the end of Nehemiah’s book, he observed that they had stopped observing the tithe laws and he corrects it, brings back the Levites to the House of God but is still unable to make them obedient to God. He kind of tells God that he has done his best but this him people no dey hear word (cf. Neh. 13) and he ends with asking God to at least remember him for his good attempts (Neh. 13:31).
The ease at which Israel found it to disobey the strict laws of Moses in a sense shows just how revolting Humans can be. However, when they were in their right state of mind, they knew just how important it was to ensure that all the storehouse was filled again with treasures and food supplies as in the glorious days of the kings of Israel. Every time they strayed from God, they neglected to fill up this treasury room and God would send prophets to rebuke their actions and remind them of just how important it was to do these things. Soon we would come to understand why Malachi said a few things to complain about as we contemplate the significance of the storehouse in ancient Israel.
Stay tuned and see you on Friday. God bless you all abundantly.