Richard Agee

Deuteronomy 12:8-32: Be thoughtful with your tithe, offerings

Last week, we read Moses told the people over and over that they were to destroy all the places where the people of the land worshipped their gods. He told the people that after they destroy all the places (מָקוֹם maqom, Strong’s lexicon No. H4725) the people of the land worship their gods, they were to be thoughtful about what place they use to make their offerings and kill their food animals. In the rest of chapter 12, Moses told Israel there will come a time when there will be only one place where the people will be allowed to present sacrificial animals to the Lord.

The Truth About Tithe

Tithing, or setting aside for God (i.e., giving to a church) a 10th of your income, is becoming a more common fixture in Christian denominations and congregations. However, it is largely misunderstood because a major purpose for the “Old Testament” commandment about tithe is ignored as an obsolete Old Testament teaching. Daniel Agee addresses common questions about tithe by exploring what the Bible actually says about it. [read more]

It was the second generation after the Exodus. Unlike their elders, they did not whine about returning to Egypt. At this point, they had just conquered two major kings and were eager to enter the Promised Land. 

God was repeatedly testing the children of Israel during the 40 years in the wilderness. God repeatedly tests us as well and God is a more patient teacher than we are. Every time we fail a test, God will give us the same test over and over again until we pass it. If we refuse to even try to pass the test, God will judge that wilfulness. It was that kind of wilfulness that kept the older generation from the Promised Land. 

There are a couple of different Hebrew words in the Torah for rest. The word in this text (Deut. 12:10) is נוּחַ nuach (H5117), which is the root of the name of Noach (Noah). When the Torah tells us that the ark came to rest, it uses the word nuach.

Moses told Israel that there would be a time when they would bring all their burnt offerings (עוֹלָה ʿolah, H5930a), sacrifices (זֶבַח zevach, H2077), tithes  (מַעֲשֵׂר maʿaser, H4643), contribution offerings (תְּרוּמָה teruma, H8641) and vows (נֶדֶר neder, H5088) to a specific place God would designate (Deut. 12:11). Vows are a promise specifically made to God. For example, Ya’akov (Jacob) made a vow to God at Bethel that if God brought him back to Bethel, he would give God a tithe. It took 20 years, but God did bring Jacob back to Bethel and Jacob kept the vow. 

There is a false teaching that if you can’t afford to take your family to the feast that only the males would go. That is contradicting this text here. God says that the sons, daughters, male and female servants are supposed to be given the opportunity to keep the Feasts in the place where God will place His name. 

Moses told them they cannot eat and consume their tithes in their own gates. They are to take them to the place where God will place His name. The tithe is one-10th of your increase, the last 10th, not the first 10th. Sometimes, God will withhold increase from us to test us and make us humble. No increase, no tithe. 

However, Moses was also careful to tell them they can eat and consume their non-tithe animals wherever their heart desires as long as they drain all the blood from the animal onto the ground first. 

Why doesn’t God build His own place with His own hands? God wants us to participate in His world. He wants to share His life with us by giving us something that we can give back to Him. We show our love when we give something to someone else. 

Moses warned Israel again to destroy all the places where the evil inhabitants of those lands worship their gods. He cautioned them not to allow these places and their gods to be ensnared (נָקַשׁ naqash, H5367) by them. God said He will bring you down if you lift false gods up. (Deut. 12:29–31)

God told the Israelites to give a 10th of what they had to the Levites, but the Levites had to give a 10th as well. The 10th that the Levites gave to the High Priest was not just the 10th, but the best 10th. The Levites had to give their best to the High Priest. Do you want to give your Messiah, your High Priest, the best you have? 

Reader: Dave De Fever. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.


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