In Leviticus 19:23-25, it states, “When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the LORD you God.”
God was teaching the Israelites how to depend upon Him for all things. Tithing was a critical part of the life of an Israelite. They were to consider everything as a gift from God and, therefore, since everything belonged to Him, they had to give a portion back to Him to acknowledge from whom they received the blessing. In this case fruit. It was also practical as it allowed the tree to mature and firmly establish itself. Then when it was mature, they were to honor God for this blessing. Marking this date on their calendar was a way to ensure they had waited the correct time before partaking of the tree’s fruit. Then, after their acknowledgement, they could eat the fruit from the tree. Notice that God stated that this would ensure they would have a great harvest. Simply put: honor God, great harvest. Have we missed out on something?
Granted, we are not under the same promises as was Israel. However, it is a principle that is still pretty applicable. We are not commanded to tithe today but most Christians apply this principle to honor the intent of this Old Testament practice. However, we have boiled everything down to a monetary equivalent and thereby tithe only our money. However, the Israelites did not make it so simplistic. They literally tithed of basically all of their earthly goods to show their honor to God and to be thankful for all that God provided for their existence. Therefore, this principle was ever before them. Again, this had a practical significance as all of these tithes of individual goods were given to the priests for their livelihood.
I am not advocating that we now give one egg to our pastor out of every dozen we buy, but I think we need to heighten our senses on how we should honor God for our existence. Next time we put our tithe into our church’s offering, let us be reminded of everything that God has given us and give Him the honor He deserves for all of the good things He has allowed us to possess, utilize, and enjoy. All praise to our Lord and Savior!
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 1: Rosh Hashanah
When is Christmas?