At seventy years of age Abram and 318 of his best men went out to rescue his nephew Lot who had been kidnapped and taken as plunder. After defeating several nation’s armies with relatively few men, he is met in a valley by a priest name Melchizedek. We do not know much about this man other than “He was priest of God Most High.” Abram recognizes the priest’s ties to God, and presents to him a tenth of all that was gained as a result of the conflict.
Genesis 14:17-20 “After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, theÂ King’s Valley).Â 18Â AndÂ Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He wasÂ priest ofÂ God Most High.)Â 19Â And he blessed him and said,â€œBlessed be Abram by God Most High,Â PossessorÂ of heaven and earth;Â 20Â and blessed be God Most High,Â who has delivered your enemies into your hand!â€Â And Abram gave himÂ a tenth of everything.”
Why does Abram give Melchizadek a tithe of what was gained from the conflict?
1) He is affirming the priest’s words that what he had is from the hand of the Lord. It was the Lord that allowed him with 318 men to defeat vast armies from multiple countries. We tithe therefore to recognize that the words the priests of God are true — we affirm their words by giving. The gathering of the Church in regular worship and teaching should be a place where hearing and learning the truth of God is paramount. We recognize the importance of this truth in our own lives and in the life of our community by tithing. It is shameful for churches that accurately and faithfully teach and preach the Bible to not be able to pay its bills because the membership have placed other priorities in their lives. God’s truth must be proclaimed around the world, and it is the local church’s resources that God uses to mobilize this effort.
2) We tithe as a way of recognizing and affirming that God has given us what we have and not the strength of our own hand. It is just as foolish for us to claim that we have earned everything we have as it would be for Abram (the seventy-year-old) to claim he and his few men defeated the vast armies of multiple countries all by themselves. We take a sabbath to recognize this same truth — we could work seven days a week and (in our own minds) potentially have more, but God says to take a day of rest and trust in Him to make up the difference. We trust Him and follow his ways, and we give a tenth of our “winnings” to show Him that we recognize that it is Him who gave it to us (or allowed us to win the battle.)
When we do not tithe we are not affirming the truth within our churches (talk Â is cheap), and we are not recognizing that it was God who gave it to us in the first place. If you cannot support what is being taught in your church, then find another church. If you believe that all you have is because of all of your hard work, then you are blind to those truths being taught by your priests.