See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. Hebrews 7:4-10
In today’s verses we see the beginning of a definite order to the people the writer of Hebrews is describing. We have Abraham just coming off a battle where he vanquished enemy kings and he has encountered Melchizedek also a king. Now Abraham is not a king but he is the patriarch of his clan and as we can read in Genesis a great warrior. He has also been chosen by God be the beginning of a nation of God’s people. Abraham is not exactly a nobody.
Yet when Abraham encounters Melchizedek he gives him a tenth of all the plunder. This is not something one gives to a subordinate or even to an equal. No, this tithe is only something one would give to a superior. So from Abraham’s actions we see that he viewed Melchizedek as not only a king and a high priest but also as his superior. Melchizedek in turn blesses Abraham. Once again blessings are bestowed from top down. In the Old Testament we find sons seeking their father’s blessing before they go off on their own.
The people of Israel gave tithes to the priest but the writer of Hebrews tells us that through Abraham even the Levites and priest gave a tithe to Melchizedek, the Levites being the offspring of Abraham. While the priests received the tithes they did so in the name of God. These tithes were used to fund the temple.
Once again the writer of Hebrews that Melchizedek was not a mortal man. That he continues to live. Which falls in line with yesterday’s verses where we saw that Melchizedek was view by some as an angel.
Tithing can be a touchy subject today. While there are plenty of examples in the Old Testament we do not find much about tithing in the New Testament. So, are Christians relived from tithing? From a purely technical standpoint yes. But, when we read about what Jesus said about giving we find that rather than be concerned with a specific amount we are told to give sacrificially. In both Mark and Luke we are told the story of the widow who gave all she had, about a penny, while others gave large sums to the temple. But Jesus singles out this woman because she gave out of her poverty while the others gave out of their great wealth. Then there is the rich man who Jesus told to give away all his possessions and follow Jesus, he went away sad.
If you tithe or not we need to remember that what we have is not ours but God’s. We are only stewards for the short time we have on earth. When we give we are just returning what was never really ours.
For the longest time I was a put a ten or twenty in the collection plate. As we became more involved in both our church and faith we decided to tithe. We started out small and gradually increased our giving until we reached that goal. Funny thing, we still had money to pay the bills and give to other charities and Christian groups and missionaries. Should you tithe? That is something each person or couple needs to pray about. One sure thing is we will not take any of it with us.
Have a blessed day,