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Eat Your Tithe. Say what??

God's intent for tithes and offerings


You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year.  And before the Lord your God, in the place that He will choose, to make His name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your heard and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.  And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire - oxen or sheep or win or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves.  And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.
Deuteronomy 14:22-23

Last week, in my blog post, Giving From God's Abundance, I shared about the joy of sacrificial giving which you can read here..

This week, we will be looking at God's intent for tithes and offerings.  You may be surprised!  😉

Tithe - For Your Enjoyment


I confess, when I read through this portion of Scripture, the words "Say what??" literally came out of my mouth.  So you mean to say that I am tithing, and not only that, but right before the Lord I am to eat that tithe!?  Well now this isn't the God I have just been reading about throughout the Old Testament who requires the sacrifice of the Israelites TO Him, NOT that they eat it BEFORE Him.

And not only that, He is saying that if the way is too long for them to carry the sacrifices , "no worries, just sell it  and turn it into money and spend the money on WHATEVER you desire, even STRONG DRINK, whatever your appetite craves".  Again, SAY WHAT??   If memory serves me correctly, there were non-negotiable requirements for these sacrificial offerings that the Israelites were now being told they could sell for whatever THEY wanted. 

It almost seems like some type of reverse psychology.  Basically, you can do whatever you want with the tithe that is set aside for God.

Is it just me, or are you seeing this for the first time too!?

As I pondered Deuteronomy 14 in context, I wondered if this was an exercise for the Israelites to reinforce that which they were allowed to eat.  Because in the first few paragraphs of the book, the Lord outlines what they CAN and CANNOT eat.  So that when He allowed them to sell the tithe and spend the money on WHATEVER they desired or their appetite craved or to eat the tithe before Him, He was testing them to see if their hearts desire aligned with that which the Lord commanded and to teach them that there is much to rejoice about in what they can eat even when they are told what they CANNOT eat.  For the Lord stated to the Israelites you SHALL eat before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.   In legalese, shall means it is required.  

If we view the Lord as the harsh God of the Old Testament, we might think He is saying, "You will do this and be happy about it."  But the reality is, the Lord is encouraging and reassuring the Israelites that when they eat before the Lord, the natural byproduct for them will be rejoicing.

If we break my thoughts on this passage down further at a practical level, when we think about a diet, we seem to crave that which we cannot have.  But the Lord is showing us, that when we stick to that which is healthy we will ultimately rejoice in the results.   In the same manner, when we stick to mindsets that are Godly, focused on doing all as if before the Lord, including the giving of our tithes and offerings, we will rejoice because our overall well-being will be aligned with the Holy Spirit and we will be at peace.

Tithe - A Sacrifice of Service


EVERYTHING we do for the Lord is a sacrifice of service before Him.  Not only did the Lord make a way for us to experience joy in the tithe, but He also provides a way to use His people to bring joy to others through sacrificial giving of time, talent and treasure.

It is important that we look at any act of service that we may be called to do for the Lord through the lens of how this is impacting others in a positive way for Christ; to see the bigger picture of the Kingdom work as a whole.  What we are doing may feel insignificant, but ALL that we do in the name of the Lord has eternal significance.

When we do everything heartily unto the Lord, before Him, we will learn to fear God and honor Him.   His perfect design for sacrificial acts of service is that we will find enjoyment in all that we do before Him.  In so doing, we are eating our tithe for the Glory of God.

May we all eat our tithes for our enjoyment, to serve others and to bring Glory of God.



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Comments

  1. Amazing! I'm with you on the "say what"!
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  2. Wow! I never have caught this verse either. I do believe that their are other ways than financial that we can "give our tithes" to the Lord. Some may be even more sacrificial than financially giving the tithe.

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    1. Hi Mandy, Agreed. :-)

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it!

      Have a great week!

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  3. I think He gives us way more than we could ever give Him anyway. I'm rereading it too.

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    1. Hi Rebecca, Indeed!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  4. Wow! That was very interesting. I love the idea of finding enjoyment in everything that we do before the Lord. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. You are very welcome!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  5. I've enver paid attention to this passage before! Thank you for bringing up the discussion. I think this 'tithe' is different from the 10% he asks us to give--this is listed as an offering (which happens to be ten percent, or a 'tithe'). Maybe God is trying to say that we need to feast and enjoy time with him on a regular basis--to remember our journeys and celebrate his goodness with extra intention.

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    1. Hi Anita, Thanks so much for adding to the conversation. I appreciate it! :-)

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  6. I found this so interesting. Visiting you from the faith and friends link up. laurensparks.net

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  7. Oh, my goodness! I have been trying to get over here to read this for days, and I wanted to wait until I could really absorb it before reading it. I was so intrigued when you mentioned that you were going to write about this. I have never seen this before. I have read it because I have read the Bible through, but to really see this - this is the first time. At first when I read it today, I was like you, say what???? But, you will not believe something I am going to tell you. I have been fretting and worrying over some things in our lives and concerning our future, and for the last several days, God has been telling me to REJOICE, to be happy, to be grateful, and the other day, He took me to Ecclesiastes 9. I read it and thought, well, Lord, what are you trying to give me from this? All at once, He took me directly to verse 7, "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink they wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works." Then I am reading your post today, and oh, my, you will never know what this confirmed to me. God does not want us to worry about the future. He actually WANTS us to enjoy our lives. That is such a foreign concept to me because I grew up in such legalism and totally scared of God, never seeing Him as my loving Father, but as a very terrifying God would was waiting with bated breath to cut me off. I know without a doubt that He wants us to live in joy, and your post today has totally cemented what He has been telling me for days. I am so thankful for you, dear friend, and for your faithfulness to share the deep nuggets of truth that He pours into you. May He bless you again and again. I love and appreciate you dearly.

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    1. Hi Cheryl, Oh dear friend, I can relate to so much that you shared here. When I struggle like this, I think back to the verse, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. The Lord wants me to live abundantly in Him. That is the only place I will find my abundance.

      Oh we certainly are kindred spirits and oh how blessed I am to call you friend

      Thanks so much for sharing so transparently and for letting me know how the Holy Spirit used this post to speak more life into your heart. All Glory to God.

      Sending you much love and gratitude.


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  8. To me it seems that he is saying enjoy the journey with him. We are given, no matter what that is our first fruits, whatever we have, we are to enjoy because he is blessing us. Each Christian has a journey, some longer than others so just enjoy. But then sometimes, it is hard for me to exactly know how to discern what God has shared with those in the Old Testament, but in reading this, that were my thoughts. Great food for thought, and thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading the comments of others also. Always helpful to see the points of view of others. Have a great week.

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    1. Hi Peabea, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here and adding to the conversation. I appreciate it so much. And I appreciate very much your weekly visits. :-)

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  9. Very good explanation and thoughts about how God wanted Israel (and us?!) to tithe. Great food for thought! I've often been intrigued by how Israel brought offerings while in the desert, and God's instructions for their tithes and offerings when they reached the promised land. I love that a theme is generosity and joy. It may not have been an easy thing to be faithful and trust God by offering those firstfruits and tithes of all that they had, but God wanted them to find joy in those sacrifices. Thank you for highlighting this really important detail!

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    1. Hi Kym, Thanks so much for adding to the conversation. I appreciate it so much!

      And thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

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  10. I love this ---> What we are doing may feel insignificant, but ALL that we do in the name of the Lord has eternal significance. Yes and Amen!!

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    1. Hi Mary, Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate them so much!

      Thanks for stopping by. :-)

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