The next illustration is tithing with judgment or justice. The story is from Genesis, chapter 14.
A group of kings joined forces and trapped the king of Sodom to exploit him, his goods and the goods of all of his subjects. Among the people who were taken captive was Abram’s nephew.
When Abram heard the news, he armed 318 trained servants and pursued the kings’ armies to the death. They slaughtered them and took the spoils. The first thing Abram did was tithe the spoils. Melchizedek, the priest, blessed Abram and said; “Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”
The king whose goods had been stolen greedily watched Abram, thinking that he was going to keep all of the spoil. He wanted some of it back. After all, it belonged to him before those armies came in and stole it.
He went to Abram and said; “Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up mind hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth. That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.”
What was Abram saying? Permit me to paraphrase it to make it easier to understand. I believe he was saying, “I’ve lifted my hand to God; I have made a covenant with Him. I promised when I tithed the spoils that I wouldn’t even take one of your shoestrings, lest you say that you are the one that made me rich.” Abram judged himself according to his covenant with God. He made sure he did “the right thing”–not just the easy or convenient thing.
The next time you approach the tithing altar, realize that Jesus your High Priest is standing there. Judge yourself according to the Word of God. Test your heart and your motives. Don’t just tithe and neglect the weightier matter of justice. Abram did what was right and just. He tithed righteously, not selfishly. Abram is our example.