Saturday, February 4, 2017

February 5, 2017

“In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons." Exodus 13:14-15

Learning to give God the first of all your increase is a practice that will bless your life in every conceivable way!

Giving the tithe of your first increase will redeem the remaining amount!

But perhaps the greatest benefit of tithing is mentioned in the verses above and that is the positive influence your faithful tithing will have on your children.

In this closing section of God's giving instructions to His people through Moses, He assures them there will come a time when their children will ask them why they sacrifice the firstborn from their flocks. Imagine it happening like this:

A son says to his dad, "Dad, I have to ask you. Why is it that you slaughter our firstborn from our flocks? You do know we are in the ranching business, right? And this habit of yours is costing us money every time you offer one of them as a sacrifice. You do know that, right Dad?"

At that moment, the father is to say, "Son, please have a seat. There is something I have never told you and now is the time. You see, Son, there was a time when we were slaves in Egypt and we had nothing. In fact, we had less than nothing because we worked dawn to dusk in the blistering heat without pay under the cruel hand of the Egyptian taskmasters.  

And then, after we had cried out to God He sent His servant Moses to deliver us from Pharaoh. By His mighty hand He killed all the firstborn in Egypt and Pharaoh sent us away and Moses led us into a good place. By His blessing we enjoy all that we have today!

So, you see Son, I gladly give of our firstborn to honor a God like that!

Likewise, as you are faithful in giving God the first tenth of your increase, there will come a time when your son will see you writing a check and ask you, "Dad, why do you give such a large amount of money to the church? Couldn't we use that money for other things?"

At that moment you can set your son down and say, "Son, there is something I have never told you. You see, your dad hasn't always been a Christian. There was a time when I was lost and hopeless and in bondage. But God with a mighty hand saved me and set me free! He led me to a good place in life! He has blessed me and filled me with joy and purpose and given me a glorious hope! So, you see, Son, I gladly bring God the tithe He desires!"

Imagine what a profound impact that will have on your son! And imagine the horizons of blessings that will begin to open up in his life as he discovers the joy of bringing God's tithe to Him!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

February 4, 2017

"Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LordAnd Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast." Genesis 4:2-5

Has it ever bothered you that God accepted Abel's sacrifice but rejected Cain's offering?

Does it seem unfair?

If it seems unfair to you it's because the story is unclear to you.

Cain was Adam and Eve's firstborn son and Abel was his little brother.

Because of the rebellious sin of their father and mother it became necessary for these sons to struggle to make a living off the land.

Cain became a tiller of the ground while Abel raised livestock. So, Cain was a farmer while Abel was a rancher.

When the season came for birthing Abel took his first born male animal and offered it as a sacrifice to God. God received Abel's sacrifice!

As Cain's crops ripened, he harvested the grain and brought an offering to the Lord. But God did not receive Cain's offering and Cain brooded over Gods rejection and rebuke. The more he sulked the angrier he became until he became enraged and murdered his little brother.

Understanding why God received Abel's offering but rejected Cain's offering is to understand the significance of the tithe.

A key word in this story is "firstborn". Abel brought the firstborn from his flock. He understood that the firstborn belonged to the Lord and he worshiped God by sacrificing the firstborn from his flock.

Because Abel offered the Lord an acceptable sacrifice God had no choice but to accept his offering.

When it comes to Cain, the key phrase is "in the course of time" and also, "some of the fruits of his soil".

While Abel brought the firstborn of his flocks as soon as it was born, Cain waited and brought an offering from the end of his harvest. Essentially, Cain gave God his leftovers.

God, because of His nature, was unable to receive Cain's leftovers. He deserves and demands our first and our best. That was not what Cain brought.

From this very first recorded instance of the tithe, we learn all that we need to know about the tithe. We are to bring God our first and our best because it belongs to Him in the first place, but also until we are willing to offer God our best He isn't really your God. And we give God our best because it turns our hearts toward Him. As Jesus said, "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also."

When it comes to giving are you a Cain or an Abel?

Do you give to God when it is convenient or when you can afford it?

Or, like Abel, do you bring your first portion on the first day as an act of worship and gratitude?

Tithing is giving of your firstborn on the first day. Tithing is a recognition that the tithe belongs to God and you gladly offer it to Him.