TITHING THE TENTH – PART 3
TITHING THE TENTH – PART 3
Attitude is Everything
Now, let’s look even further back into the history of tithes, offerings, and giving. We learn in the story of Cain and Abel, that offerings to Yahweh were done very early in human history. Genesis 4:1-7 HRB, “And the man knew his wife Eve. And she conceived and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man, [from] Yahweh. 2And she continued to bear his brother, Abel. And Abel became a shepherd of flocks. And Cain became a tiller of the ground. 3And it was in the end of days, it happened that Cain brought an offering to Yahweh from the fruit of the ground. 4And Abel brought, he also, from the firstlings of his flocks, even from their fat. And Yahweh looked to Abel and to his offering. 5And He did not look to Cain and to his offering. And Cain glowed greatly with anger, and his face fell. 6And Yahweh said to Cain, Why have you angrily glowed, and why has your face fallen? 7If you do well, is there not exaltation? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is toward you; but you should rule over it.”
The Hebrew word for offering in verse 3 is minchah, meaning an apportioned donation, gift, tribute, or present. Volumes have been written about why Yahweh accepted Abel’s and not Cain’s offering, but it’s pretty obvious that Cain had an attitude problem. Cain may not have brought his best produce, or maybe not his firstfruits. Whatever the reason, he became so angry over Yahweh’s rejection of his gift, that he murdered his brother Abel. Rough day at the altar. A word to the wise, give Yahweh your best and your firstfruits, firstlings, or from your gross paycheck.
Leviticus 27:25-34 HRB, “And all your valuation shall be by the shekel of the sanctuary: twenty gerahs shall be the shekel. 26However, no man shall dedicate a firstling, which is first-born to Yahweh among animals, whether ox or sheep; it belongs to Yahweh. 27And if it is among the unclean animals, then he shall ransom it at your valuation, and he shall add its fifth to it. And if it is not redeemed, then it shall be sold at your evaluation. 28But any devoted thing which a man devotes to Yahweh from all which belongs to him, of man or of animal, or of the field of his possession, it shall not be sold nor redeemed. Every devoted thing to Yahweh is most holy. 29No devoted thing which is dedicated by man shall be ransomed, dying it shall die. 30And all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land, of the fruit of the tree, shall belong to Yahweh; it is holy to Yahweh.
31And if a man really redeems any of his tithes, he shall add its fifth to it. 32And all the tithe of the herd and of the flock, all that passes under the rod, a tenth shall be holy to Yahweh; 33he shall not search whether it is good or bad, nor shall he change it. And if he at all changes it, then it shall be that it and its substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. 34These are the commands which Yahweh has commanded Moses for the sons of Israel, on Mount Sinai.”
It is also possible that Cain did not give Yahweh a tenth of his increase. Or, he may not have regarded his offering as holy to Yahweh. Maybe Cain was so selfish that he really didn’t want to give anything to Yahweh, he gave grudgingly instead. Cain just didn’t recognize Yahweh as the owner of all things, he thought he owned his harvest. We can’t see into Cain’s heart, but Yahweh certainly did. There could have been many reasons why Yahweh disregarded Cain’s offering. What we do know is that Cain allowed himself to be enticed to sin against his brother Abel. How would you like to be recorded in history as the first murderer? But you know what? Yahweh also knows who will be the last murderer on planet earth!
What was the difference between Cain and Abel’s offering? Abel recognized that the firstlings, or firstfruits, belong to Yahweh, Leviticus 27:26 HRB, “However, no man shall dedicate a firstling, which is first-born to Yahweh among animals, whether ox or sheep; it belongs to Yahweh.” Apparently, Abel’s offering was made according to Torah, Cain’s was not. From stories like this, we learn that we must diligently study Torah to learn what Yahweh requires, what pleases Him. We are not in this walk with Yahweh to please ourselves, it’s all for His glory and honor. We must maintain an attitude that pleases, honors, and serves Yahweh and His purposes. When the Scriptures say all the tithe, the whole tenth, of our increase belongs to Yahweh, that’s what it means, not one shekel or gerah less.
But Messiah Yeshua also taught us not to sit around weighing every gram of herb and spice for tithing, to the neglect of the weightier matters of the Torah. Matthew 23:23-24 HRB, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and you have left aside the weightier matters of the Torah judgment, and mercy, and faith. And these things were necessary for you to have done, and these things you should not have forgotten. 24Blind guides, straining out the gnat, but swallowing the camel!” Tithing every gram is important, but not more important than right judgment of character and behavior, mercy toward those who’ve wronged us, and faith in Yahweh to see us through every situation. We need to know Yahweh as best we can and to understand Torah to the best of our ability, so we can walk in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We learn Torah to equip ourselves for every good work of Yahweh. What good does it do you or the nation if you are able to tithe every gram of fruit or every firstling, but you then murder your brother or your Messiah? And don’t forget, Yeshua taught that we can murder with our thoughts and words, not just in deed.
Yahweh doesn’t want you coming to His Feast barbeques with exactly 10% of your increase, but with malice or strife in your life. Matthew 5:23-24 HRB, “Then if you offer your gift on the altar, and remember there that your brother has a grudge against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar, and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then coming, offer your gift.” Our heavenly Father is much more interested in the condition of our hearts, than in the condition or exactness of our tithes and offerings. Give and receive forgiveness first, then offer your tithes to Yahweh. Proper holy tithing and offering is the result of right relationship, not the condition for obtaining right relationship. Learn Torah, get your heart right, then bring your tithes and offerings to the altar of Yahweh.
Gene Benjamin II
August 8, 2013 CE