The last chapter of Leviticus – chapter 27 – deals with money and valuations and giving. Been a pretty consistent topic during this book. God sets the price and valuation on the “value of a person” who is being vowed for service. It also sets the value of land and animals and sets the rules for how business was to be transacted. It addresses the motives of people – how they might try to “exchange or substitute a good one for a bad one, or a bad one for a good one”. Can’t imagine people trying to beat the system – can you? But God is clear that we need to deal fairly and ethically in how we transact business. If people didn’t follow the rules, they lost all to the “Sanctuary” and had to pay a 20% fee in addition to get it back – penalty for not following the rules. The last portion of the chapter gets down to the nitty gritty of giving or tithing.
“No one is allowed to dedicate the firstborn of an animal; the firstborn, as firstborn, already belongs to GOD. No matter if it’s cattle or sheep, it already belongs to GOD”. This really defines what God’s thinking was on the tithe. It comes first – it is not the leftovers or the excess. It is what we first have and it already God’s. No real question here – no need to pray for guidance – it is God’s. He goes on further to say “A tenth of the land’s produce, whether grain from the ground or fruit from the trees, is GOD’s. It is holy to GOD”. Again, no real question here – clear direction on what He expected. 10% was to be given as a tithe – the first 10%. How do you deal with giving in your life today? I am not going to get into a debate about whether 10% is the right number, but I do think the motive and heart of the matter is how we give. Do you give God out of your abundance – that which is left over or in excess? Or do you give God the “first fruits” of your life – the first that you give before you spend on yourself? That is how we need to live in this area of giving. God gets what He deserves first. If we short anyone it needs to be ourselves – not think we can take it from God. He owns it all. We are merely stewards. How are you doing in the area of giving and tithing? How you treat your wallet is a really good test of where you heart is? Do you have your hand over your wallet? Or is it wide open to God to do with what He desires? Time for a wallet check!