Every valuation shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall make a shekel. - Leviticus 27: 25 (ESV)
Besides shekels and gerahs they also traded in silver, gold and livestock. Tithing, which was established in the same book as this verse, had nothing to do with money. The church however, needed to make it about money so that they could generate income, and stay open. But the verses above from 2Corinthians shows that God created a offering system for the church. It is not mandatory however. It has two parts bound by a universal principle. The two parts are simply this. First we must individually seek God and decide in our hearts how much we are going to give to the work of the church. When the church first started in the Book of Acts, they gave everything they had to the work of God. The second part is that we then have to cheerfully give it! Are we cheerful because we think we are buying something from God? No! We are cheerful because our lives are supposed to be about God now and the kingdom. We are cheerful because we trust that our church is about the Lord's business of bringing as many people to the cross with the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ as possible. If you do not feel sure about those statements regarding the church you are in then you need to run out of there as fast as possible. The time is short. Find a church that is busy saving people. The universal principle that binds these two simple concepts together is known as the law of sowing and reaping. He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. This is true for more than just money beloved. If we find ourselves loving the things of this earth too much, such as money, we will not see God moving in our lives. It is not about the money - it is about loving the money. Yet if you give freely, you will find things returned unto you. This concept is also verified and confirmed in other portions of the Bible:
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. - Proverbs 11: 24 (ESV)
Here is another profound truth - the insistence by leadership to rely on the church tithing system shows a drastic lack of faith in God. Let me explain why. Look at these verses! God cannot be clearer - we should not be giving out of compulsion yet tithing is a compulsory system! I honestly feel that the church has short changed God and themselves for centuries now by insisting on this 10% mark! I honestly believe that if you leave giving up to the individual person and the Holy Spirit within them that you will get more than 10% at the end of the day. I read a study recently that said only 3% of church goers actually tithe the full 10%! What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. I know people who were prompted by the Holy Spirit to give everything they had on them to someone. Quite frankly, we let people off easy by demanding tithes and it shows a tremendous lack of faith that God will work on the people to cheerfully give what the church needs. This point to two problems, which result from the devolution of the church into this purpose driven muck. The first problem is that we have congregations filled with goats who we try to teach to act like sheep. It is hard then for someone to cheerfully give to God when they do not have the Spirit of God inside of them. Secondly, because pastors think they are responsible for horizontal church growth and not God, we often see a vision not matched with the incoming resources. That would be a good indication that the vision is not from God but instead the leader will say that the people are not tithing correctly! Sorry it doesn't work that way.
But wait a minute preacher - what about Malachi Chapter Three? What about it? As we have seen in the previous three devotionals on Malachi - this book was written to the priests of that day - not the congregants! It was the Levites themselves that were corrupting the system. But the key verse today does say - "the whole nation of you." Here are the notes from John Gill's Exposition of the Bible on this portion:
" the sin was become general, and therefore a general judgment was inflicted on them: Grotius thinks, that the people seeing the priests withhold the tithes from the Levites, they refused to pay them to them, and so the sin became universal. Kimchi observes, that in other sins charged upon the nation, the people were not all alike guilty, but in this which respected the tithes and offerings they were. "
The people saw how leadership was not complying - so they followed suit. We see this today in the modern church as well. Leaders preach holiness but then fall from grace and what lessons are learned in the congregation? Or they preach kindness and then treat people with disdain. But again - what were the people here guilty of? They were guilty of not tithing correctly, agricultural proceeds, during a period of time when tithing was the system for ensuring the Levites had food. One of the most fundamental rules of hermeneutics is that the Bible confirms itself. Where else in the Bible do we see anything remotely indicating that the few sentences found in the middle of a book written to the Levitical priests should somehow be New Testament theology? Nowhere. The key verse also states that the people are now under a curse because of their lack of compliance. We know that Jesus broke all of the curses for those who have faith in Him. In order to believe that these portions of Malachi now are applicable to Christians today means we must apply the entire context. You cannot cherry pick Scriptures here and there and create doctrine where none exists. That is what cults do. We cannot be found in our position in Christ and His imputed righteousness and at the same time be cursed for not tithing correctly. Nor can we claim blessings as a result of our tithing. We are blessed because of our position in Christ not because of our adherence to one of the 613 Mosaic laws. By the way - what about the other 612 laws? It is not sound Biblical interpretation to say that Malachi Chapter Three discards 612 laws for the sake of tithing! The Bible simply does not support New Testament tithing. But preacher - what about Abram? What about him?
Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, C reator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you." Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered. - Genesis 14: 19-20 (NLT)