ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: KINGDOM ECONOMICS XXI
Mar 5, '08 12:09 AM
It's another best day of your life, don't you know? Yup. Yesterday's gone, and tomorrow's not here yet; and God has great things in store for this day.
So get ready.
Gotcher coffee, yet? So, whaddaya waitin' fer?
Della and I are in the midst of a cleanse, so we're doing just hot water and lemon for awhile. By the way, if you need to cycle off coffee in preparation for, or during, a fast or a cleanse of your digestive tract, your colon, etc., one of the best ways to do it with a minimum of side effects (headaches, a feeling of being spacey, nausea, etc.) is to drink hot water (lots of it). You can add a slice of lemon (cut into four pieces, preferably) with each cup of hot water, and it will help the process.
We've been amazed at how effective this is at minimizing the side effects. If you are inclined to drink pre-ground, store-bought coffee instead of grinding your own dark roasted beans, you will likely have a high caffeine intake; and your body will really scream at you if you suddenly cut it off. The hot water and lemon (at least a gallon, and even a couple of gallons of it during each day) will flush the caffeine out of your system quickly and quite effectively with a minimum of side effects.
After some responses to the last couple of Coffee Breaks, it dawned on me that perhaps I might be coming across a bit legalistically in the way I was emphasizing the Levitical law or the prophecy from Malachi, so let me clarify my position.
Tithing is NOT a commandment for those who walk in Christ Jesus! Love is the commandment -- the ONLY commandment. Though tithing was emphasized in the Law of Moses, it was designed to establish a pattern and picture that Abraham initiated long before the Law. Abraham tithed out of worship to the Lord. He tithed out of honor and reverence for the Lord God who had so blessed him and empowered him and given him such might and authority in the land. Abraham's tithing was an act of love. It was an act of faith.
The Law of Moses -- which included the commandments concerning tithing -- was designed to instill a practice into the people of God as a pattern of God's covenant with Abraham, and them as the seed of Abraham. The Law was the forerunner of a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Tithing is part of our covenant with the Lord. It is a principle. That principle includes blessing or curses, (and I'll expand on this momentarily). There was no law that demanded that Abraham tithe. It was a totally voluntary act on his part.
Let's go back to Genesis 14:18-20: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High, and he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.”
See the picture? Abraham was blessed by God. The blessing (and we've talked about this in previous Coffee Breaks) was that same blessing that began in the Garden. Adam lost it because he ate of God's portion in the Garden. The blessing doesn't return until Noah finds grace in the eyes of the Lord. Following the Flood, Noah conveys that same blessing to his son, Shem. Shem -- now functioning as Malchiy - Tsedeq (Melchizedek), the King of Righteousness and "priest of God Most High" -- now conveys that same blessing to Abraham.
Abraham now reverses what Adam did in the Garden. This is a really important principle to understand. Adam lost the blessing and imposed a curse upon mankind by partaking of the holy portion in the Garden. Abraham regained the blessing and followed by giving back to the Lord that which God regarded as holy.
After receiving the blessing, he recognizes and honors God as the source of all that he is and all that he has. Abraham thereupon designates a tenth of all that he has as a portion holy unto the Lord, and gives to Melchizedek (as the representative of God) that holy portion. From this moment forward in his life, despite his personal failings, the blessing of the Lord is always upon him.
Tithing transcends the Law. It has nothing, really, to do with the Law per se. What God established through Moses as a pattern of tithing as a command to the children of Israel was designed to perpetuate as a memorial that picture of Abraham's act of love and faith. It was also established to show the picture of blessing and cursing. God commanded Moses to instruct Israel that "All the tithe ...... is holy unto the LORD." (Leviticus 27:30)
Israel was not given the commandment to tithe because it was a legalistic thing, but because it was directly connected to the Blessing of Abraham. It was directly tied to the presence of the Lord. It was directly connected with the constant and total provision of the Lord as seen in the Garden prior to Adam and Eve's sin. When Adam ate of that fruit which God had forbidden -- the holy portion in the Garden -- the curse came upon mankind.
Abraham never saw the curse. But he tithed. Isaac experienced the blessing that came from his father's faithfulness. Jacob likewise experienced that blessing and covenanted with the Lord.
"And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my fatherâs house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be Godâs house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." (Genesis 28:20-22)
Again we see the picture. Jacob determined that if God was going to be God in his life, he was going to follow the pattern established by his grandfather, Abraham. He would also give the tenth of all that he had to the Lord.
How did he do this? We don't know specifically from Scripture, but we do know that Shem/Melchizedek was very much alive and still functioning as the priest of the Most High God. It seems likely, therefore, that Jacob would have followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and given that tithe to Melchizedek as the representative of the Lord.
If that seems a bit strange to you, all you have to do is follow the chronology and genealogical record in Genesis to find out that Shem died in the year that Joseph was 17 years of age and sold into slavery in Egypt.
That God established this covenantal picture of tithing in the Law was intrinsic to the blessing of Abraham. Israel was the seed of Abraham. They were the called and chosen of God in the earth to show to the world the blessing of Abraham and to demonstrate that a return to the Garden relationship was possible. Despite his personal failings, Abraham enjoyed about as near to a Garden relationship with God as anyone had in the earth following the Fall.
Abraham was blessed like no other person in history up to his time. Scripture describes him as being ãàÊîÀ meh-ode: very (with vehemence), very, ultra -rich. (Genesis 13:2) You could say, therefore, that -- in the same way that Adam and Eve lacked for nothing in the Garden -- Abraham lacked for nothing. Everything he put his hand to was blessed, and everything he did prospered.
Even when he screwed up, he prospered. Remember the situation when he was in Egypt and told Sarah to lie and tell Pharaoh that she was his sister? Remember when he was with the Philistine king, Abimelech, and he told Sarah again to lie and tell him that she was Abraham's sister? And guess what? She was pregnant at the time with Isaac!
In both instances Abraham came away from Pharaoh and Abimelech with far more wealth than he had to begin with. Seems strange, doesn't it? But then, the blessing of the Lord is not subject to our failings. The blessing of the Lord comes with our obedience and faithfulness to Him.
As already noted, Abraham never saw the curse.
Neither did Isaac or Jacob. In fact, Genesis 28:22 records of
Jacob, "And this stone, which I have
set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee."
Thus, Jacob continues the practice of his grandfather and winds up being even more wealthy than either his father, Isaac, or grandfather, Abraham.
Throughout all of Israel's history the Lord referred to Himself as the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Why? Well, partly because as a family they honored the Lord in faith, worshiping God with the tithe.
Abraham was the first man in the earth following Adam's fall to understand the significance of returning to the Lord a designated portion of all that he had and all that he received. He became the pattern for his children, grandchildren, and descendants thereafter.
Abraham was the first person to designate a tenth of all that he had as the holy portion, and that act was incorporated into God's commandments to Israel when they came out of Egypt.
As I have mentioned before, the subject of tithing is one where I was really screwed up for a number of years. For whatever reason, I'd never seen the picture of the "holy portion" before in the Garden. I'd never seen or understood that Abraham was the forerunner of the tithe -- not Moses and the Law.
It wasn't that I didn't want to give. Della and I have always enjoyed giving. But we didn't understand the principles associated with tithing, and our giving was not targeted. We never prayed over the tithe. We never presented it to the Lord, nor did we understand the significance of specifically presenting our tithe to the Lord as an act of worship like Abraham did. We just wrote out our check without a second thought and stuck it in the offering basket or gave it wherever. You get the idea.
When people get caught in the concept that tithing is simply a legalistic thing associated with the Law of Moses, and then try to equate our freedom from the curse of the Law with also being delivered from the need to tithe, they lose sight of the greater principle. Just because tithing was incorporated into the Law of Moses does not invalidate it for believers today. Tithing both pre-dates and post-dates the Law. It is a covenant principle with immense blessing attached.
If believers in Christ want to enjoy the blessings associated with tithing, it cannot be hit or miss. Tithing is an integral part of Kingdom Economics; and the blessing associated with tithing supplants and supersedes the concept of "working for a living." Tithing -- taking a minimum of a tenth part of our gross income before we do anything else with it -- and giving it to the Lord before we do anything else with our money demonstrates our faith and trust in Him and His promise that "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
It is similar to the concept of keeping the Sabbath. When folks get caught up in the legalistic aspect of the Sabbath without understanding the prophetic picture God has given us in keeping it, they completely miss the blessing of the Lord incorporated into the Sabbath. (Consider these comments a kind of teaser for an upcoming Coffee Break series titled THE SABBATH REVELATION.)
God's people really need to get a grasp of the significance of taking their tithe, taking time and praying over it, and then offering it as an act of worship to the Lord. I cannot even begin to tell you how it will change your life, your finances, and your overall understanding of Kingdom Economics.
And we haven't even gotten to the picture of sowing seed,
or the giving of firstfruits. That's another
whole dimension with a dynamic that far exceeds the principle of tithing.
Giving, seed sowing, firstfruits offerings -- they
are all a part of Kingdom Economics. The believer who understands these
fundamentals and walks them out on a daily basis will literally undergo a
transformation in their thought processes. They will be transformed from
a poverty mindset to the picture of prosperity -- in every area of life.
I never got to the negative aspects associated with not tithing in today's Coffee Break, and that's a separate topic all by itself, but I think I'll leave that for another, separate (and maybe lengthy) discussion. Meanwhile, see you again shortly.
Citizens of the Kingdom of God are designed, trained and prepared to live a glorious, supernatural life in a natural world so that the world can see what Satan has cheated them out of. We are supposed to be the manifestation of the Glory of God -- not leftover has-beens, used up and discarded by Satan.
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and adds no painful toil and sorrow! Be blessed!
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