The way the Israelites treated the land of Canaan — the promised land — was a central feature in their responsibilities under God’s covenant. Ownership of land meant participation in the covenant community to whom God had given the land. The ownership of land is legitimized by an attitude of faith and gratitude for God. Covenant terms included keeping the Sabbath, and participation in the festivals of joy with gifts to God. A significant portion of this responsibility is bringing in the tithe and the offering through which the landless priests and Levites are provided for. The land the priests and Levites received were not farming lands, but residential areas. Therefore, they cannot work for their provision.
The condition of the covenant was given so that they cannot pridefully think, “My own power and strength produced this wealth for me.” Through tithes and offering, the people remember that it is God who gives them the ability to produce wealth, in order to confirm His covenant with them (Dt. 8:17-18). Their obedience to this requirement shows their acknowledgement of His Lordship over them, as well as their dependence and gratitude toward them.
Moreover, this practice also shows the people how faithful God has been to His promises.
Tithe is maʾăśēr, meaning “tenth part.”83 If tithes is maʾăśēr, and offering is târumah, then the Hebrew translation already distinguishes that the tithe is not the offering. Moses instructed Israel to bring in “A tenth of everything the land produces belongs to the Lord. That includes grain from the soil and fruit from the trees. It is holy. It is set apart for him” (Lev. 27:30). When Israel settled into the land, they were already required to bring in the tithe. Every third year, however, the tithe was specifically distributed to the offeror’s hometown, to its local landless inhabitants, such as the foreign residents, the Levites, the fatherless, and the widows (Dt. 14:28-29; 26:12).
Experience the Power of Prophecy as a gift to open your mind to receive the Mind of Christ.
Do you faithfully give your tithes and offering?