The Joy in Giving

A wide array of offerings were brought to the Lord at the chosen place of worship. The following shows the heart of the people to give. Each person did not just give the tithe or the offering, they brought in the tithe with different kinds of offerings. It shows a collective act of generosity.


  • The “burnt offerings” were fully burnt and offered to God.
  • The term “sacrifices” when used alongside burnt offerings, usually refers to offerings that were not totally burned. The fat was “burned as the Lord’s portion and the remaining parts [went] to the priests and the offerer” (Craigie).
  • Several other offerings are to be brought into the place of worship. “Tithes” consist of a tenth of produce of the land or livestock (see the discussion

on 14:22–29).

  • The “contribution” mentioned next seems to refer to “holy gifts given to priests.”
  • Then there were “vow offerings,” which are gifts given in fulfillment of vows made earlier.
  • Just as God freely showed his love toward the people, they in turn respond with “freewill offerings”—offerings given voluntarily.
  • Finally, they are to bring “the firstborn of your herd and of your flock” (see the discussion on 15:19–23)
  • An allowance was made to pay a ransom (usually a little higher than the cost) and redeem these animals (Exodus 13:11–16)


The Jewish culture was accustomed to bringing the offering to the altar. The priests mostly had something in their hand to waive or to heave, because the people brought in the offering. As a result of these acts of worship, a sweet aroma was sent up to the Lord. The offering was waved or heaved so that the Lord “noticed” them. It required an offering for God to show up. In our present day culture, it will require money for God’s presence to show up. Before you find that materialistic, let me explain. It is when the people sacrificed their money that they were able to chip away greed and the idolatry of money from their lives. It is when worshipers show that they can part with the little god of material wealth that God can show up in their midst to display His glory. Otherwise, it is all lip service. They say they worship God, but really, they are clinging to manna.

Giving can be done willingly and cheerfully, because they are aware in their hearts of who their Master is — and it is not money. The people’s security and future does not depend on manna. The verse said that there would be joy. The importance of joy is emphasized by the fact that it is referred twice more in this chapter, in connection with sacrifice and offerings (Deut. 12:12, 18).



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Joy in Offering

If you read the passage below, you will see a command, a reminder to give, instructions, then promises of God’s presence and blessing-induced joy.

6 Take your burnt offerings and sacrifices to that place. Bring your special gifts and a tenth of everything you produce. Take with you what you have promised to give. Bring any other offerings you choose to give. And bring the male animals among your livestock that were born first to their mothers. 7 You and your families will eat at the place the Lord your God will choose. He will be with you there. You will find joy in everything you have done. That’s because he has blessed you. (Deuteronomy 12:6-7)

The people were commanded to bring offerings and a sacrifice to the place of worship. They were to bring special gifts on top of the tithe. They were also reminded to bring what they promised to give, any other offerings they chose to give. They were to eat at a designated place for the purpose of fellowship. It was going to be a celebration. Moses also declared that God will be with them there as they gather together with their family.


The people would find joy in everything they have done — which was to bring the tithe and the offerings. Imagine experiencing joy — not just happiness — from bringing an offering. The reason why there is joy is because the blessing came beforehand. How can the Israelites even give without receiving a blessing from the Lord prior? They have joy in giving, because they have already been recipients of blessings. If the people were able to give tremendously, then it is because they received abundantly. After all, the Israelites were not bringing in 100% of their produce. Hence, they were only giving a portion of what they received, and the amount of the offering is only a glimpse of the actual provision.



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The Lord is the Priest’s Inheritance

If the Lord is the priest’s inheritance, when the priest is provided for, you certainly experience the Lord in your house. If the priest quits because he cannot support himself and his family as he serves in the ministry, then where does he take his inheritance, which is the Lord Himself, he takes the Lord elsewhere. The Lord makes another community His dwelling place. He will make the community that feels the need to support the His work His dwelling place.

The pattern has already been laid down in the book of Numbers. Material support for the priest should be generous. Sometimes congregations seem to think that the best way to keep their minister holy is to keep him poor! However, it does a disservice to God. God is the ultimate Boss of the minister. Does this mean God does not intend to compensate His workers handsomely? Is the CEO of the multinational company a better boss than God? If the CEOs of these multimillion dollar companies are able to bless their front- liners with a competitive salary, why do we frown upon pastors with nice cars and nice houses? Do you think God intends for them to be poor and miserable? By nature, God is good and abundant. What kind of boss do you think He’ll make to His ministers when they are working fulltime to carry out His work?



If the people did not faithfully tithe, the priests would certainly have found their means of support very limited. That was not God’s design for them, however. God wanted his servants to be more than adequately sustained, and as long as his people were faithfully honoring the Lord, they would also honor His servants and provide abundantly for their financial needs.

The abundance of the minister reflects the glory of God. If the pastors are poor, what does that say about God? If I were a new member of a church and I see my pastor struggling to make ends meet, would I believe him when he says, “God is good, give your tithe, and you will be blessed!” Of course not! I would think, if he who does the work of God directly is not even blessed, how would this God bless me, who is in the secular industry? God’s blessings on the elders and church leaders are a glimpse of the blessings that God would pour out on the people they are leading.


How can the senior pastor mentor others to be generous when he himself does not have the means to be generous? God is the priest’s portion, and because of that, they experience abundance and they are capable of extreme generosity.



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Have you ever felt that it is unfair for the offering to go the pastor’s livelihood? Why do you think you feel this way?

Priesthood and Ministry

There are important indications that can be drawn from the instructions of God to this Old Testament people. First, under the New Covenant, just as under the Old, God desires to have individuals set apart to serve Him in full-time ministry. He calls men to teach His people His Word, and to shepherd His flock (1 Pt. 5:2). It has been this way since the beginning. It has always been normal practice for ministers of the gospel to be supported by those whom they minister to.



Jesus was very specific about how judgment would come to the house of those who do not welcome and provide for the needs of the worker of God.

9 “Do not get any gold, silver or copper to take with you in your belts. 10 Do not take a bag for the journey. Do not take extra clothes or sandals or walking sticks. A worker should be given what he needs. 11 When you enter a town or village, look for someone who is willing to welcome you. Stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, greet those who live there. 13 If that home welcomes you, give it your blessing of peace. If it does not, don’t bless it. 14 Some people may not welcome you or listen to your words. If they don’t, leave that home or town, and shake the dust off your feet. 15 What I’m about to tell you is true. On judgment day it will be easier for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town. (Matthew 10:9-15, emphasis added).

Paul assumed the right of those who labor for the spiritual good of a community to receive material support in return (1 Cor. 9:4-12). The goal is that these ministers should have no material concerns, and to single-mindedly focus on the heavenly things for the sake of the congregation as a whole, instead of having to split their attention between earth and heaven.

The Lord appointed a blessing for the priest. You should make sure you gift what the priest deserves. A lot of people think being a pastor is not a “real” job, but if you look at what it entails in both the spiritual and natural realm, it is more than a full time job — it is a lifetime job.

14 Don’t take advantage of any hired worker who is poor and needy. That applies to your own people. It also applies to outsiders living in one of your towns. 15 Give them their pay every day. They are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t pay them, they might cry out to the Lord against you. Then you will be guilty of committing a sin. (Deuteronomy 24:14-15)

Make it your business to take care of the priest. Make sure he is happy with his calling. As people bless him willingly, and not forced, you are making sure the priest is happy with what God called him to do. Out of your heart, you can support the ministry of the Lord. When God blesses you a hundredfold for supporting His work, then you can give to the poor, to the needy, you can support your family, and you can experience the joy of the Lord’s abundance. But first things first. Take care of the House of the Lord first, so that He can dwell with you, and you can remain blessed.



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Rewards for Priestly Service

The rewards for priestly service is income for their ministry. This income comes in different forms in ancient Israel, but it usually comes in cash in the present day. When pastors are blessed with cars, houses or other gifts, they are not income from the Lord, but simply gifts from the spiritual family.

In Ancient Israel, the first means of support came through the sacrificial system. The priests receives a portion of the meat from the various animals that were sacrificed as sin offerings, guilt offerings, or fellowship offerings (Num. 18:9). Part of the animal was offered as a sacrifice on the altar to the Lord, and another part was given to the priest. The same was true for the grain offerings and the wave offerings — dedication offerings — part was offered to the Lord on the altar and part given to the priest (Num. 18: 9–11).

The priests were also to receive all of the firstfruits of the land and the firstborn of the animals (Num. 18: 12–19). If the animals were holy (that is, ceremonially clean animals that were unblemished), their blood and fat would be offered as sacrifices, while the meat would belong to the priests. If the animals did not belong to a class that could be offered as sacrifices, such as donkeys or camels, the owner redeems paying the market rate for the animal plus 20% to the priest.


12 He will decide whether it is good or bad. Its value will be what he decides it will be. 13 Suppose the owner wants to buy the animal back. Then a fifth must be added to its cost. (Leviticus 27:12-13)


The same requirement of redemption was true of firstborn male babies. They were to be redeemed at the set rate of five shekels of silver, and the money in either case was paid to the priests. Different kinds of offerings and ministries became the source of income for the priests, as appointed by the Lord. It is what a part of what it means to have the Lord as their inheritance.



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I want you to think about it. Do you think it is the current silence of the African-American community — keeping one’s heads down — throughout different hate crimes and racially-segregated police violence and injustices that are keeping the abuse alive? Dr. King was on to something when he said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

Once members of our community begin to take a stand against our oppressors, then the oppression would cease. Leaders of the African-American Church must not keep their heads down and let this pass. They must take a stand for the dignity and value of the African-American preachers who were the object of ridicule of The Word Network’s CEO.

Together, we can make a difference for the country today, not only for our generation but for generations to come. On the other hand, the silence of the community signs on to the oppression of the people for our children’s children, and beyond.

A  Call  for Unity is a Call for Brotherhood in the faith 

Charles Marsh wrote in his book, The Beloved Community, “Although a boycott was necessary for Montgomery to bring an end to discriminatory laws, King urged the church people in the movement to keep in mind that a boycott and its achievements do not in themselves represent the goal.” In the last days of the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dr. King said the goal was reconciliation, redemption, and the creation of a beloved community. For him, the pursuit of civil rights for African-Americans was significantly a spiritual journey. He also saw this as an opportunity to unite the nation after years of division from oppression and hatred.

We are in a season where we must take a stand for African-Americans as a people of the United States. In order to be truly united as a nation, we are calling for the boycott of The Word Network because it promotes a culture that tolerates bigotry and racism. The toleration of such discriminatory mindsets and behavior only separates Blacks from Whites. Unless people — Black AND White — take a stand and say, “No, this is not right. The CEO and president did an offensive and discriminatory thing,” how can there be true unity in the country? When people “get over” a mass media mogul calling himself a pimp with Black preachers as his “hoes” and look the other way, what does it say for us as a nation?

Today, you can download the eBook ” America’s Original Sin “. Read more about the silence of different communities that do not take a stand for the injustice that happens in America.

Download America’s Original Sin

Reward for Faithful Service

Many pastors around America and the world live on meager salaries from their church, yet they persist in ministry because they have a calling from God. Pastoral ministry involves long hours of sermon preparation, counseling different people, visiting the sick and elderly, sharing the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus, bible and discipleship instruction, leadership succession trainings, and so on. It would also include church administration and church planting work. Only someone who feels the Lord called him to full time ministry would want to take up such heavy responsibility with less than adequate pay.

In the context of ancient Israel, being a priest was not a glamorous job. First off, they did not have land for them to work and to leave as an inheritance to their children. It was literally a dirty and smelly job, considering the slaughter and burning of different animals. It was also dangerous, because they bore the responsibility of safeguarding the sanctuary (Num. 18:1).

The failure to carry out the ministry faithfully could result in one’s death (Num. 18:3). As children, did Levite boys dream they’d one day grow up to be priests? It’s hard to imagine. However, it is why the Lord called and designated a particular tribe and family to be his priests, instead of leaving the job to whoever felt they would do this job.


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The Required Amount of the TÂRUMAH

When a person steals, restitution must be in full. The loss must be made good. The criminal must give back what was taken, or its equivalent. In today’s world, people go to jail as a means “paying one’s debt to society.” However, it is the exact opposite or the avoidance of proper biblical restitution. The principle of restitution is essential to the just resolution of the responsibility of criminals for their victims’ injuries. Return of victims by the guilty is the basic biblical principle, which dates back to ancient times.

Restitution is paid in full plus one fifth (Num. 5:7). A fifth is given as târumah to the priest if the party is not alive. Târumah is legally a fifth; this is why the fair man (in the three kinds of givers) pay 2%. This is what is just. Someone who is generous pays more (2.5%), while someone who is stingy pays less.

They must pay in full for what they did wrong. And they must add a fifth of the value to it. (Numbers 5:7b, emphasis added)

The 20% penalty is disciplinary, but it is neither excessive, greedy, nor destructive. Justice must be proportional and keep the emphasis on responsibility for restoration and, ultimately, reconciliation. In this way, the righteousness of God is served.


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Based on your giving, are you a fair, generous, or stingy person?

The Legal Right to Receive Restitution

Priests had a legal right to receive restitution.38 When it comes to this restitution payment in the Numbers 5 passage, it is an additional payment on top of their ram of atonement offering. The ram offering is given to the injured party or his relatives. However, if the injured party dies and has no near relative, the restitution is given to the priest. The restitution is in addition to the sacrificial ram that the priest performs a purification ritual for.


In the modern day, the blood of Jesus Christ is enough restitution for our sins. However, as in Number 5, the penalty to be paid is in addition to the sacrificial lamb of Christ. It’s not to add to what Jesus did on the cross. However, additional restitution is to make amends for something one has done to contribute to the liveliness of the priests.


Numbers 5:9-10 underscores that the priests play a vital role in reestablishing the ceremonial purity of the people. In this way, the livelihood of the priests is also upheld. In the verse, special offerings to the Lord belong to the priest. Târumah or offering is translated as gift or donation that goes to the priest. Holy things are holy in the sense that they are offered to the Lord. When they are offered to the Lord, they go to the priest for their provision and portion.


The Hebrew practice is this: “When someone makes an offering to the Lord, he hands it over to the priest. Whatever someone gives to a priest belongs to the priest.”

Experience the Power of Prophecy as a gift to open your mind to receive the Mind of Christ.

The Offering Becomes the Priest’s Property

Every contribution means “to lift off,” and signifies that which is elevated or set apart for holy purposes. It can be from the produce of the earth (Num. 15:19–21) or of plunder from war (Num. 31:29, 41, 52). It can be used of tithes (Num. 18:24, 26–29) or of material for the Tabernacle (Exod. 35:5, 21, 24), and even of the half shekel (Exod. 30:13–16).

In sacrifices, it is the shoulder of the peace offering (Exod. 29:27; Lev. 7:34; Num. 6:20). These diverse items are all in some sense dedicated to Yahweh. The târumah is never offered “before” Yahweh, but always “to Yahweh.” It was a dedication without ritual outside the sanctuary, achieved by oral declaration (Jdg. 17:3) or physical act (Lev. 27:32).36 In general, Numbers 5:9-10 stressed that each gift becomes the personal property of the priest to whom it is given, and does not therefore belong to the priestly community as a whole.


The context of the passage is about the righting of wrongs within the community, the kind of wrong in which damage has been done and loss is persistent. Confession, full restitution, and additional payment of 20% is required of the guilty party, in addition to the ram of atonement. If the man is dead and there is no next of kin to whom payment can be made then the money, along with the ram and other offerings, then it automatically goes to the priest.

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah exposed how the neglect of the priesthood support caused a harmful effect on priestly practice and morale. There is still great relevance of such law in the post-exilic context. The degree to which the 20% norm could be enforced was immaterial; the principle mattered.

In verses 9–10, there is a concern to protect the rights of individual priests, and to prevent favoritism. The author uses the compensation question to affirm the principle of proper priestly support by the community, through the system of sacrifices and offerings. For the moment the principle is sufficient.


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Have you ever felt that it is unfair for the offering to go the pastor’s livelihood? Why do you think you feel this way?

Confession and Restitution – A Context for the Tarumah

Numbers 5:5-10 is a report of the proclamation of the Law. Yahweh pronounced a Law through the intermediary, Moses. A law has to be spoken to Israel, which is what the purpose of the text is for. It functions as a legal instruction, in which the pronouncement of the law and the reference to its author is combined.

5 The Lord said to Moses, 6 “Speak to the Israelites. Say to them, ‘Suppose a man or woman does something wrong to someone else. Then that person is not being faithful to the Lord. People like that are guilty. 7 They must admit they have committed a sin. They must pay in full for what they did wrong. And they must add a fifth of the value to it. Then they must give all of it to the person they have sinned against. 8 But suppose that person has died. And suppose that person does not have a close relative who can be paid for the sin that was committed. Then what is paid belongs to the Lord. It must be given to the priest. A ram must be given along with it. The ram must be sacrificed to the Lord to pay for the sin. 9 All the sacred gifts the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him. 10 Sacred gifts belong to their owners. But what they give to the priest will belong to the priest.’” (Numbers 5:5-10)


The setting of this text is an instructional setting of the priestly writers, during the post-exilic time. In verse 8, the situation is the temptation of keeping property when the original owner or his next of kin was unavailable. For this situation, the text institutes the law, and not just an ethical obligation, that restitution must be made nevertheless, now to Yahweh and hence to the priest, because the misuse of human property is also a violation of trust against Yahweh. The priestly body becomes under this condition the legal receiver of liable compensation. In verse 9-10, there are specific situations about how priests are becoming deprived of the târumah given to them.


The intention of this text was not to replace the Law. Instead, it reaffirmed the specific formulations in a summary. By adding what was not specifically mentioned in the former law, it wants to clarify any loopholes that may exist. By designating the priests as receivers of the restitution, it also secures the livelihood of priests. Again, this specificity is from the Lord, and not from human authority.35 The one who committed the crime has the opportunity to make things right for himself and for his family.



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Why do you think the Lord wants the priest to be provided for?

Evidence of God’s Protection

King Hezekiah began his independent reign when he broke the treaty which his father Ahaz made with the Assyrians (2 Kings16:7), probably during the reign of Sargon II (722-705 B.C.). Sargon’s successor, Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) decided to bring Judah into line, and he led a campaign against Hezekiah in the king’s 14th year (2 Kings18:13). Hoping to prevent Jerusalem’s capture, Hezekiah hid the city by concealing the outside water supplies (2 Chron. 32:3- 4). He also repaired any weak spots in the wall and built towers around it (2 Chron. 32:5), and added to the weapon supply. He also mobilized the people under army officers. He encouraged them not to fear, but to trust the Lord — a power far superior than a nation like Assyria. Hezekiah assured the people that the Lord was with them to help them.

What was Hezekiah doing in the previous chapter? He was securing the tithes of the people. He was making sure the priests are provided for. He was encouraging people to be consistent about their giving. He took care of the priests — God’s workers. As a result, God protected Hezekiah’s reign and gave him victory.

In 2 Chronicles 32:9-15, Sennacherib boasted that no other god had been able to protect his people from the Assyrians. He was mocking the God of the Israelites, saying He was just another God. After his taunting through letters and addresses through his messengers, he would send delegates to speak in Hebrew on the wall to demoralize the people about their God.

Hezekiah turned to the Lord with the Prophet Isaiah. With the help of the prophet, they prayed for divine deliverance. God gave the king an assurance through the prophet (2 Kings19:20-34). God sent an angel to destroy the Assyrian host, forcing Sennacherib to retreat in humility (2 Chron. 32:20-21a).33 Hezekiah took care of the provision for the priest. In return, the Lord protected him and his kingdom. He upheld Hezekiah’s throne against the Assyrian army. This protection only comes from God.

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What is your part to play in the big picture?