Tag Archives: tithe

Leviticus 27 – Belonging to God

I was not expecting the last chapter of Leviticus (the book of the law) to be what it is.  I don’t quite know what i was expecting.  For some reason i figured it would be about some parting words the LORD had for Moses before leaving Mount Sinai, or that Moses and the sons of Israel packed up what they had and began to head out to Canaan.

Instead this last chapter is about value, ownership, dedication to the LORD, and tithe.  It starts out placing a monetary value on people of different ages.  Each has a different value depending on their age, sex, and the amount of time until the year of jubilee.  What i think is interesting about this is that it pushes this concept that ownership of people, animals, homes, and land only truly belongs to the LORD / YHWH.

When most things of true value are sold or redeemed, they are done so with reference to the year of Jubilee.  If a field is dedicated to the LORD, the priest places the value of that field at a certain price, related to how many years until the year of jubilee.  After which the LORD reverts that land back to the family that He initially gave it to.

Thus it is not slavery, but servanthood.  When a person is “sold”, they are done so in reference to the amount of labor that person would do between then and the year of jubilee.  It is understood that the “Master” is not “buying” a person.  They are simply paying for service from a person for a certain time period.  This would be similar to a person signing a contract to work for a company for a certain number of years.

The other major theme is that of tithe.  Of all of the animals that the people of Israel own, one out of every 10 must be returned to God.  As they go through the gate, every 10th, whether male or female, the pick of the flock or a little sickly one, the 10th gets dedicated to Him.  Also, the first that opens the womb is holy to YHWH.  Thus the first lamb, the first goat, the first bull, etc. that are born; they must be dedicated to YHWH and returned to Him.

The emphasis here is ownership.  Everything; the land, the people, the flocks, the fruit of the harvest, they all belong to YHWH.  We are simply caretakers receiving back a part of the profits from our hard work.  Do we view life and our work  that way?  Do we recognize that all that we “own” belongs not to us but to YHWH?  Do we treat people and our things as if this is the case?  Should we?

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Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Leviticus, Old Testament, Person, Project, Purpose, Torah

Exodus 35 – Our Offering

In Exodus 32 (Sheep and Calf) we brought up this concept of the people’s desire to worship and offer sacrifice to God.  They wanted it so much that when it wasn’t given to them how and as fast as they were looking for it, they created their own god so that they would have something… some sort of god to worship.  They had been instructed by Aaron to give the earrings from their ears and he created a god for  them from the gold.  Here however, God, YHWH, has a better way.  He doesn’t just want gold, He wants silver, and bronze, and fine fabrics, and goats hair, and acacia wood, and oil, and spices, and setting stones, and so much more.  There should not have been a single person of the sons of Israel that could not give / offer something.  They have all had a desire to give to the God that gave to them.  Now they finally have a chance to do that.  They can finally give back  to YHWH to their heart’s content.  They finally have a healthy outlet for their appreciation.

We have that need too.  We have the need to honor and serve something / someone: to express our honor and our praise.  It is something that is deep inside of every one of us.  It is as much a part of us as our very need to breathe.  We are a people of thanksgiving and blessing.  If we are not worshiping YHWH, the God of the universe and everything, then we are worshiping money, or family, or education, or entertainment, or ourselves, or something else entirely.  We have to find an outlet for our praise and worship or it tears us up inside.  We are a people of offering.

It is such a fascinating concept to consider; that WE are beings with a need and primal desire to worship.  To give and be an offering.  It makes sense when we understand that YHWH created us for relationship with Him.  Whether it is purposeful or simply a side effect of that purpose, we NEED to praise, worship, give an offering, and BE an offering.

This chapter also parallels back to Exodus 31 (Work & Rest) in a couple of different ways.  Right away the LORD emphasizes the need for a Sabbath rest.  In fact, in verse 1 the people are told, “These are the things that the LORD (YHWH) has commanded you to do:”  Then the very first thing listed is observing a sabbath rest.  In our busy schedules, how often do we ignore this so important command?  The other parallel from chapter 31 is that our offering is our giving of our skills and abilities.  So often we get into this rut of thinking that our tithe and offering to God is the first 10% of our money, but God doesn’t just ask for our money.  He seeks our hearts and our lives.  He accepts /expects / demands from us our very lives.  Our tithes and offerings are not just our money, they are our skills, abilities, and work / play.

We ARE our offering, and we need to live that way.

 

John J. Camiolo Jr.

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Filed under Application, Bible, Content, Exodus, Old Testament, Person, Project, Purpose, Torah