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In the Gates

The Starting-point for Giving

The First Commandment

No other gods

Leviticus 27.30-33

Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD’s; it is holy to the LORD. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. 32And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the LORD. One shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.”

Leviticus 22.1-3; 1 Corinthians 9.16-21

God commanded Israel to bring the tithe to Him, to honor Him by their giving and to supply the needs of those who labored in the ministry of Word and sacrifice. This tithe was holy unto the Lord, even before it came to fruition on the stalks and trees. Thus to deny the Lord His tithe was tantamount to robbing Him of that which belonged to Him by right (cf. Mal. 3.8).

The discipline of tithing remains important in these days when the Kingdom of God has come (Matt. 23.23). At all times, however, we must remember that the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (Ps. 24.1). Whenever needs arise within the household of faith, or among our suffering neighbors, we must not be bound merely by the tithe in what we offer for the needs of others (Acts 2.44, 45; 4.32-35). The tithe is the starting-point of our giving to the Lord, not the end.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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