Nehemiah 13:10-11a NKJV says, “I also realized that the portions for the Levites had not been given them; for each of the Levites and the singers who did the work had gone back to the field. So I contended with the rulers, and said why is the house of God forsaken?”
Nehemiah had discovered that the house of God had been forsaken. The Levites had to go back to working in the fields to provide for themselves. Provision for the house of God was contingent upon the Levites doing the work. They had quit because the tithe wasn’t being given to the house of the Lord. Nehemiah rebuked the rulers for their negligence, the tithe was restored, the Levites left the fields and went back to work in the house of God as God had ordained.
It is never God’s intention that men and women of God should have to work secular jobs and the ministry (bi-vocational). They are to be provided for by means of the tithe (Numbers 18:21). The house of God is inevitably neglected when the ones He has called cannot devote all their time to the ministry. If the truth was known, we do not use the tithe today as God originally intended. We give our tithes to pay for all the expenses of the church when in actuality the tithe was to be given to support the ministry or ministers. Their tithe and additional offerings was what was used for general expenses. Can you imagine all that could be done for God if His tithe was set apart for those called to minister full time? How many more could dedicate themselves to the work of the Lord. Here are a few facts about tithing:
Tithing is a Principle Set Forth by God
The tithe was instituted by God through Abraham before the Law ever existed. Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek while the law was still in his loins (Genesis 14:20 and Hebrews 7:5-10). If the principle of tithing existed prior to the giving of the law it stands to reason that it would continue after the law is abolished. The law merely picked up the principle that God had already setup before the law existed.
The Tithe Belongs to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30)
It is God’s not ours. That is why Malachi said we were robbing God when we withhold the tithe (Malachi 3:8). Actually, if the truth be known, all we have belongs to God. We are merely stewards of what is His or over what He has entrusted us with. The fact that He allows us to keep ninety percent is so overwhelmingly gracious of Him.
Tithes Are the Firstfruits of What Is to Come (Proverbs 3:9)
Israel was to bring God the firstfruits (tithe) of the harvest. They did this in anticipation of a full and plentiful harvest. When we give God the first of what we make we do so, in faith, expecting a full harvest from our labors. Therefore, tithing is a principle of faith and not law. Notice, it is the firstfruits and not what we may have left after we have paid everything else.
The Tithe Should Go to the Storehouse (Malachi 3:10)
We are to bring the tithe to the storehouse that there may be food (provision) in God’s house. We give our tithe so that the priest (pastor/minister) is able to adequately prepare food (spiritual food) for your dinning pleasure. The tithe goes to the priest enabling him to have time to prepare properly for your spiritual diet. That is why the tithe is to go to your local church or the place you get fed spiritually. If for some reason you do not have a local church at this time, your tithe should go where you are getting your spiritual nourishment. I know there are some pastors who are getting fed spiritually by some ministry enabling and giving them the strength they need to properly minister to their people. There are some who do not have a home church at this time and the majority of their spiritual sustenance is coming from some other ministry. If that is so they should give their tithe to the ministry that is feeding them.
Tithing Releases God’s Blessing (Malachi 3:10)
There is something about His children stepping out in faith and trusting God by their commitment to tithing that releases God’s favor and blessing. It is not law or a works thing but faith. We are expressing faith in God to bless and bring to us the full harvest of our labors by trusting Him with our finances. God promises, as we do this, in faith and obedience, to open the windows of heaven and bless us until there’s no longer room to receive it. It is interesting that this is the only place in God’s Word where we are encouraged to test Him.
Tithing Releases Spiritual Revelation
Jesus said, “If you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon (money), who will commit to your trust true riches” (Luke 16:11). When we are faithful to God with our tithes and offerings (Finances) He begins to open the heavens with spiritual revelation into our hearts, spirits and minds. When we withhold the tithe the heavens become brass and the revelation of God scarce. It is interesting that when Malachi proclaimed this to Israel concerning the tithe, they failed to obey, and the voice of God was silent for 400 years until John the baptist came on the scene.