A Worshipful Tithe
Text: Deuteronomy 14:22-29
This week we continue in our sermon series with a two part sermon on gifts. Traditionally when preaching on gifts or tithes, the goal of the sermon seems to be to shame the congregation into giving more to meet the needs of the church. I am going to try to avoid that.
In this passage from Deuteronomy we read about the tithe in Israel. If you are not familiar with the passage, it is shocking, because it seems to indicate that there are 2 tithes. One that is celebrated 2 of 3 years, and one that is celebrated every 3rd year. It also looks like that first tithe is eaten by the person who worked for it so "that you may learn the fear of the Lord."
That is not something that you hear often in the church. Bring your tithe to the church and eat and drink before the Lord so that you may learn to fear the Lord. God does not require the saint to surrender this tithe to the church. The only requirement is to remember the Levite who lives in your town. Absolutely shocking.
So what is going on here? The tithe is more that one family could eat, so it becomes a shared meal with friends and family. Last week we saw the people leave from reading the Law in Nehemiah 8 and go home to eat what looks like one of these tithe meals. Eating, drinking, and fellowship have always been central in the worship of the Lord's Chruch.
Next week we will look at the 2nd tithe because it is ultimately the one that led to the establishment of the deacons in the early church.