OK, so I cannot take credit for the content of this blog, but wanted to share it with all of you. I heard a sermon this morning by Steve Thompson…..AMAZING! So here it goes…..
The Bible reference is Genesis 12 – 21. Most everyone has heard the story of Abram, later renamed Abraham by God.
Genesis 12 –
Abraham was asked by God to do 4 things and God promised him 4 blessings. When God asks us to do somrthing, it’s not because He is testing us to see if we will be obedient. It is because he wants to use us to help change the planet so life is easier for all of us on this planet.
God told Abram to leave his family. Abram brought his nephew with him. This was partial obedience since he brought some of his family with him. God still honored him for it. God does not get angry with us when we delay in obedience, or partially obey. He still honors our obedience.
Then bad things happened to Abram. Even when he obeyed God, not everything went smooth and was great and wonderful. We live in a fallen world and bad things will happen. They have been happening since the fall of man in the garden. This does NOT mean that God did these bad things. He just makes good out of them.
So a bit later in the story, Abram has his wife Sarai lie to Pharoah and say that Sarai is his sister rather than his wife. The Bible says he did this to benefit himself financially and physically. This would today be considered similar to a Pimp (rough example I know, but truth is…). So Sarai was allowed into Pharoah’s house under these false pretenses. However, Pharoah did not take her as his own and Pharoah gets upset at Abram when he finds out he set him up in this way. God still blessed Abram and he benefitted from this situation where he had actually be the unrighteous one. Why? Because God honors us!
Genesis 13 –
This causes strife in the family between Lott and Abram. Lott decides that he and Abram should separate and go their own ways. It could be said that he was probably disappointed in Abram’s behaviors and compromises. Abram was a businessman and the job of a businessman is to do what works in order to prosper.
God asks us to give what we have naturally and he will give us the supernatural in exchange. When you read Genesis 13, you can see this in Abram’s conversations with the Lord.
Genesis 14 –
Abram has changed. He tithes, and this appears to be the first time tithing is mentioned in the Bible. Tithing is a faith operation. He is realizing that if he gives naturally, God will exchange it for supernatural. If you look back at the previous 2 chapters and this one, you will see several instances of this in Abram’s journey thus far. Abram’s motives seem to be changing as he looks out for others. He is now doing things for righteous reasons. It is through the journey of life that God helps change our hearts.
Genesis 15 –
Abram is now talking with God as his friend and is living life with God. This is true relationship with God, talking with him regularly. God has told him he will be the Father of many nations. However, at this point Abram is nearly 100 years old and has NO children. It is only through faith that he would believe God.
Genesis 16 –
Abram and Sarai ‘figure it out’ on their own and devise a plan for ensuring God’s plan comes to pass. They plan for Abram to sleep with his servant Hagar and she will bear him a child and Sarai will live on as if he is her son. They attempt to make supernatural things happen via natural means. God still blesses this son, but again Abram suffers consequences of his sin.
Genesis 17 –
God renames Abram to ‘Abraham’ which means Father of many nations.
The story continues…..for a few chapters
Genesis 20 –
Again Abraham lies about Sarai (this time to Abemilech), saying she is his sister. This time his motive seems to be fear, not self gain. It appears that God protects Abraham who is misbehaving (lying) and rebukes Abemilech who is acting righteous (he is innocent, deceived). Again, God honors us not because we deserve it.
Genesis 21 –
Sarai gives birth to Abram’s son, Isaac. God’s promise is fulfilled.
The story continues ……for a few chapters
Genesis 22 –
Abraham takes Isaac to be a burnt offering to God. God asked him to sacrifice his ONLY son with Sarai and he was willing, as difficult as it was. So, this is Abraham’s natural sacrifice to God (tithe if you will). 800+ years later, David numbers the people. God tells him not to do this. David numbers them anyway.
God gives David a choice of consequences David chooses 3 days of plague. The plague kills many. But the Lord sees it and stops it! The location of this plague was the exact same location where Abraham had offered Isaac so many years prior. It became a place where judgement and death could not enter.
Then in return, many years later, in this exact same physical location, God sacrifices His supernatural son Jesus on the cross for us. The first time the Bible talks about a tithe, is when Abraham tithes to the King in this chapter. Is it possible that Abraham was the one who figured out the concept of tithing, through the process of giving naturally to God (often with poor motives) and experiencing God’s supernatural blessings in return? And did Abraham offer the greatest tithe by giving his natural son and make a way for God to bless us all by giving his supernatural Son? God was waiting for one man to be willing to give his son so that God could give Jesus to us!
God builds a world of supernatural blessings for generations to come, through our lives and our giving to this world. The timeframe of God’s fulfillment of His plans, is inter-generational. Things will grow and go on. Take every moment in your life to do what God has called you to do.