What does it mean to tithe according to the Word? Let me refresh your thinking concerning the statement Jesus made on this subject. He said;”Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment (righteousness), mercy (love), and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone (Matt. 23:23).”
Addressing the religious people of the day, Jesus said that they tithed their money but they neglected the important matters of the heart. With this thought in mind, we can expand our definition and say that tithing is bringing the first tenth to Jesus, according to His Word, by faith, in love, through righteousness.
Righteousness, love and faith are directly related to one another. Faith works by love (Gal. 5:6), and righteousness is by faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22). Therefore, these three cannot be separated. When we tithe, we need to be mindful of all these areas.
Tithing by Faith
Let’s look at tithing from the level of “faith first” by studying Genesis 4:1-8; “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
“And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.” (vs. 3)
“And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
This incident in Genesis, chapter four occurred at the time of harvest which also coincided with the birth of the lambs. For years, I heard that God would not receive Cain’s offering because he didn’t bring a lamb. But, that isn’t so. Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground unto the Lord. It wasn’t the offering that was the problem. It is impossible to please God without faith. Notice verse three, God had no respect for Cain. When God rebuked him, instead of changing, he got mad and his countenance fell. Cain was out of line with the Word. A man and his offering are one. The offering is nothing without the man.
Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice by faith. Faith is a product of the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Obviously, both Cain and Abel had heard the Word. Their own father received it personally from the Creator Himself. I’m satisfied that the revelation which they received was the knowledge that the whole earth belonged to God and they (who were given the use of the earth) were to tithe a tenth of it back to God (Lev. 27:30; Ps. 24:1; Hag. 2:8). Abel was eager to see that God received His. Cain was not. That’s why God couldn’t accept Cain and his offering.
The New King James Version says it much more plainly;“But (God) did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
How could he do well? By staying with the Word. Satan was at the door, lying in wait to steal the Word from his heart. Cain only needed to resist the devil so that his faith would not fail.
Do you remember what Jesus told Peter? He said, “Satan has tried to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith fail not.” Sin was at Cain’s door. The King James Version calls sin “him.” Sin and Satan are the same.
The scripture tells us to give Satan “no place.” Cain would have done well not to have given the devil place through his disobedience and anger. But he did and the result was the death of his brother. No wonder the church has fought over the tithe–the first murder was committed over it.
As the New Testament church, we cannot afford disobedience either. But sin and the hundredfold blessing of God lie at the door. We are the only ones with the authority to let one or the other in. This is one of the reasons that we have been robbed financially.